The conventional wisdom was that the Republicans made a smart move by opposing Obama’s efforts to reach out to them over the stimulus:
Voting against the bill was good politics because it shows that the GOP can’t be persuaded by charm alone, presidential or otherwise. Sure, Republicans risk coming off as stubborn in the face of Obama’s ostentatious magnanimity. But at this stage, there’s nothing wrong with playing hard to get. There will be time for bipartisan necking later.
It was never about charm, that’s just poor reporting. It was about real concessions (and concessions that rightly upset the Democratic wing of the Democratic party). It now appears there was something wrong with playing hard to get. It has cost them one concession (via Feministing):
By removing the family-planning aid from the stimulus at Obama’s request, Democrats “were giving a nod to the Republicans, believing they would act in good faith,” the source added. And given how many GOPers voted for the stimulus bill, sounds like the family-planning aid is back on track.
Removing this never made any sense. It was taking away sound economic policy:
Obama emphasized that the family-planning aid “makes the budget look better, it’s a money saver,” the source said. In fact, removing the need for Medicaid waivers for family planning saves states an estimated $700 million over 10 years.
And purely to play to social conservatives who didn’t understand how the family-planning aid worked. There’s a very nice writeup over at the Washington Independent:
The proposal could create health care jobs and thus offer the economy a boost, perhaps even faster than infrastructure spending. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says it is a money-saver in the long-term.
Which brings us to the other big concession: tax cuts. Yes tax cuts, the center piece of the past 8 years of failed Republican economic policy. As the Daily Show observes, the Republicans are acting as though the Obama presidency has erased the past two terms of Bush (and no wonder, given how desperate they appear to be to avoid punishment for crimes committed therein).
The Republicans need to take a note from our President and get down to business, or they will continue to show their constituents just how irrelevant and powerless they have become. The economy is a disaster, and we need serious people in charge to do the hard work of fixing it.