In today's Washington Post
The resistance [to the stimulus bill] proved to be much stiffer than he anticipated. Some of it was partisan, with the GOP leadership sending a message that it would not be rolled. But much of it was the reaction to the staggering sums involved. Republicans asked themselves how we would ever pay for this. Democrats, whose doubts kept breaking out in public despite pleas for unity, questioned whether the mix of spending and tax cuts was what it should be.
In other words:
- It's understandable that there was GOP resistance to the Obama steamroller, because he didn't reach out sufficiently to Republicans.
- For the most part, Republican opposition to the bill was principled. They were acting in good faith.
- Democrats in Congress, who wrote the bill (as opposed to it being a White House diktat) weren't unified in their support of it.
Then there's this:
Republicans have seen to it that Obama has complete ownership of the economic rescue. By withholding nearly all their votes, they are betting that it will fail, just as they did in 1993 when the newly elected Bill Clinton pushed his first budget and tax package through Congress without a single Republican vote.
Back then, Newt Gingrich predicted that the Democratic plan would lead to "a job-killing recession," and Dick Armey, his lieutenant, called it "a recipe for disaster."
Even if they had been right, they took the risk of seeming to be betting against something most voters hoped would succeed. But they were wrong -- the economy soared under Clinton.
But did the Republicans pay a political price? No, because pundits like Broder didn't make the point at the time (if they do, it's a decade after the fact).