Mark Halperin is still a moron.
"This is a really bad sign for Barack Obama to try to change Washington.... He needs bipartisan solutions. They went for it and they came up with zero.... [This] does not bode well for a future that is supposed to be post-partisan. [...]
"[Obama] could have gone for centrist compromises. You can say to your own party, 'Sorry, some of you liberals aren't going to like it, but I am going to change this legislation radically to get a big centrist majority rather than an all-Democratic vote.' He chose not to do that, that's the exact path that George Bush took for most of his presidency with disastrous consequences for bipartisanship and solving big problems."
I know this is a difficult concept for the Broder-wannabee-"bipartisan" fetishists, but there are good ideas, and bad ideas. And it's clear that the GOP was full of nothing but bad ideas, since they're the ones that brought us to where we are today.
So if you've got two parties that fundamentally disagree on how to solve our nation's problems (including one that created said problems), it's not better to take the good ideas, take the bad ideas, and somehow "meet in the center". That doesn't make the "good" ideas any better. In fact, it makes them worse. It's simple logic anywhere but inside the Broder/Halperin world.
Bottom line, there is nothing inherently good about "bipartisanship". The only thing that matters is whether a solution is good or not. Consider that two of Bush's biggest disasters -- his tax cuts and Iraq -- were "bipartisan" affairs. Getting votes from the opposite party doesn't make the underlying legislation any more likely to succeed. If anything, our nation would've been better served with more partisanship during those times.
Finally, as we've discussed ad infinitum, there was no margin for Republicans to support this. If the stimulus succeeds, Obama and the Dems will get all the credit. If it fails, everyone who voted for it will get tarred with it. So Republicans are better off making sure it's seen as a Democratic proposal rather than a bipartisan one. That way, they can wield it as a political weapon.
And that's not a bad thing. There's one last negative byproduct of bipartisanship -- lack of accountability. It's harder to hold people responsible for their mistakes when everyone points a finger at someone else. In this case, let the voters note which party is responsible for the stimulus. If it succeeds (and I'm not 100 percent confident that it will), let the credit go to those who deserve it, and if it fails, then Democrats will have to take their accountability lumps. And that's the way it should be.
Republicans played this properly, unlike the constantly-capitulating Dems the past decade. It's Obama's chasing of the magic "bipartisan" pony that deserves scorn, because no number of concessions was going to get him a single Republican vote in the House. The Senate is different, and he'll get crossover support there which he can use to laud his "bipartisanship". But House Republicans? Screw them. They are irrelevant, unpopular, and should henceforth be treated as such.
Update: Listen to John Kerry:
Sen. John Kerry says Democrats should ignore Republicans’ demands about the stimulus plan if they’re going to vote against it anyway.
Reacting to Wednesday night’s vote in the House -- where not a single GOP member supported the stimulus package -- Kerry told Politico that “if Republicans aren’t prepared to vote for it, I don’t think we should be giving up things, where I think the money can be spent more effectively.”
“If they’re not going to vote for it, let’s go with a plan that we think is going to work.”
The Massachusetts Democrat and 2004 president candidate suggested tossing some of the tax provisions in the stimulus that the GOP requested. “Those aren’t job creators immediately, and even in the longer term they’re not necessarily. We’ve seen that policy for the last eight years,” he said.