From NBC's Mike Viqueira
Some have asked what it might take to get Republicans -- in both the House and Senate -- to support the stimulus package. But this isn't about what is needed to get them on board. They could get the sun and the moon and the stars, and most of them wouldn't be on board.
They believe that voting against this thing is a net benefit; that Obama's numbers won't be this high in two years; that there is anxiety across the country with how much money Washington is throwing around; that they need to start from the beginning with their base and that this is a gift in that regard; and, finally, that they are out of power and they do not have the burden of governing, which is liberating to them.
The Dems don't need Sens. Jon Kyl (of Arizona) and Pat Roberts (of Kansas). Rather, they need the senators from Maine (Collins and Snowe), Specter, Voinovich, and maybe McCain.
The idea of bipartisanship is a trap that Republicans think they're smart enough to exploit. They don't attack Obama frontally, but they can go crazy on his surrogates here in Pelosi and Reid.
After all, Congress -- especially the House -- is not designed to be bipartisan. Pelosi can't be both effective and let Republicans into thee room, because the opposition's only interest is to blow the place up. It has been this way since the 19th Century. They can't change the standard now.
The GOP asserts that bipartisanship means that Dems should not only allow votes on their ideas, but that they should support their ideas -- regardless of the fact that they are antithetical to Dem priorities. That simply won't work.
The Dem idea of bipartisanship is that the Republicans should be allowed to fail; that they can have their votes on their amendments; and that they will lose those votes fair and square. "I didn't come here to be partisan. I didn't come here to be bipartisan. I came here, as did my colleagues, to be nonpartisan, to work for the American people, to do what is in their interest," Pelosi said today.
At the end of the day, a bill that is -- in the Republican view -- "about spending money that we don't have for things that we don't need," as Sen. Tom Coburn put it today, is going to be opposed by a significant majority of Republicans. In doing so, they believe that they will strengthen their "brand" as fiscal hawks, while at the same time do some damage to the Obama's "brand," that of post-partisanship. As a matter of both of politics and policy, we will know who comes out on top around the time of the 2010 elections.