Winning over Republican votes at the beginning of Obama's presidency should never be a priority if it forces him to compromise because Obama will be blamed for the failure.
Krugman on the stimulus package:
And that gets us to politics. This really does look like a plan that falls well short of what advocates of strong stimulus were hoping for — and it seems as if that was done in order to win Republican votes. Yet even if the plan gets the hoped-for 80 votes in the Senate, which seems doubtful, responsibility for the plan’s perceived failure, if it’s spun that way, will be placed on Democrats.
I see the following scenario: a weak stimulus plan, perhaps even weaker than what we’re talking about now, is crafted to win those extra GOP votes. The plan limits the rise in unemployment, but things are still pretty bad, with the rate peaking at something like 9 percent and coming down only slowly. And then Mitch McConnell says “See, government spending doesn’t work.”
Let’s hope I’ve got this wrong.
Obama won a mandate in November and should use it to FULLY push through his agenda. One thing that Republican obstructionists seem to forget is that Obama is an incredible communicator and if McConnell's gang block him like I think they will then when he takes to the airwaves and uses the proverbial presidential bully pulpit, he will be able to cause them some serious damage. But Obama seems to be playing the bipartisan game a little too much for my liking at this point and may end up watering down his solutions to curry favor with a party that wants him to fail. Nothing has been written in stone yet so I'm just bringing this point up. I think we all agree that Obama needs to succeed on a political level too, but also because so many Americans are in need. The type of need that conservatives will always refuse to give.
As Krugman says, if his plan isn't a success and rather quickly then Republicans will be screaming him down in 2010 like wild banshees.
I say Obama should give them his best shot now and if his policies can't help this country recover from the results of conservative waste then at least it happened on his terms.