How could they? Here's how.
"They" are the House Republicans, zero of whom voted for President Obama's economic stimulus package yesterday. What makes them – depending on your perspective – courageous or foolish enough to stand against a popular new president facing a vast economic crisis on which the public demands action?
In fact it's no mystery. I blogged back on Inauguration Day about the deep unlikelihood of post-partisanship, given the broad and substantive ideological and partisan differences that exist in this country; and again Monday on the way these play out particularly in terms of views of the stimulus. GOP leaders apparently got the memo.
The simple fact is that the stimulus package is far less than broadly popular among Republicans. They are deficit-shy, skeptical of large government programs and untrusting of Democrats, the president included. That is simply part of the shape of our politics.
Consider the table below. The numbers speak for themselves; these are enormous differences. What they mean is what yesterday's House vote displayed: that even in the opening days of the Obama era, partisanship is alive and well.
Dem Rep Ind D-R diffObama: Good start on economy 82% 42 60 40 pts Support $800b stimulus 84 52 69 32Support it "strongly" 58 22 44 36 More important: Stimulus spending 62 38 50 24Controlling deficit 34 58 46 -24 Confident:In Obama's economic program 92 43 74 49That it'll have adequate controls 66 27 39 39 Prefer:Larger govt, more services 62 21 41 41Smaller govt, fewer services 33 77 55 -44