The First Mistake?

Final passage of the nearly $820 billion package came on a 244-188 vote with no Republicans supporting the president.

This is why you don’t capitulate to poopy-pants Republicans on straightforward stimulus measures. These people don’t operate in good faith, and they shouldn’t be treated as such.

I’m reminded of something a coworker told me other day about how it’s unwise to assume that other people have the same motivations you do. In this instance, I was cautioned that you can’t take for granted that clients are simply trying to reach the best possible outcome irrespective of how that outcome is attained. In other words: some people might have a vested interest in seeing something fail, others might have an interest in seeing something succeed (but only insofar as it bolsters their position), some may not care at all, and so forth and so on. As it applies to politics, if you’re Barack Obama, you can’t assume that Republicans share your motivations. If Republicans were animated by the same principles, there’d be no reason to negotiate with them because they’d already agree with you. Republicans were never going to support the stimulus package because doing so would basically invalidate, ipso facto, Republican economic philosophy. And that’s not even getting in to the specific political contours of this bill, most of which favor staunch opposition if you’re a House Republican. Anyway, the point is that when you’re positioned to pass a bill with or without Republican support, you need to pass the bill with the greatest chance of successful outcomes. Let’s hope this bill does.

It’s probably too early to tell, but I have a feeling this will prove to be a big mistake for the Obama Administration. In all likelihood, things are going to get worse before they slowly get better, and House Republicans will be able to argue in 2010 that they knew the stimulus wouldn’t magically repair the economy, that if Democrats had only listened to their pleas for more tax cuts, we’d be much better off.

UPDATE: Hopefully this will work.

Pushing back against the unanimous House Republican vote against President Obama’s stimulus plan, the White House plans to release state-by-state job figures “so we can put a number on what folks voted for an against,” an administration aide said.

“It’s clear the Republicans who voted against the stimulus represent constituents who will be stunned to learn their member of Congress voted against [saving or] creating 4 million jobs,” the aide said.

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