The Senate approved its bill most along party lines, by a vote of 61 to 37, with three Republicans joining 56 Democrats and two independents in favor. (There is one vacancy in the Senate, from Minnesota, and Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, a Republican nominated to become Mr. Obama’s Commerce Secretary, did not vote.)Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, voted with the administration.
The opposition of most Republicans underscored insurmountable disagreements, over both economic and political philosophy, in addressing the recession.
Supporters of the stimulus measure said that only a towering effort by the government to create jobs and spur economic growth would be able to stop the downward spiral in the economy, spur a recovery and avoid a prolonged deflationary period.
Look for a conservative backlash against these three led by folks like Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin (and more).
Personally, I can't imagine a Republican of any integrity or renown voting for this utterly unprincipled spending boondoggle. There's no sound economic basis for passing legislation that throws in every favored interest-group spending item under the sun. George Will noted last week that the Democrats included everything in the bill but the kitchen sink, and then they threw the sink in there too. More troubling, President Obama's catastrophic fearmongering represents a total abdication of principled leadership. He mounted an ad hoc "bumbling pulpit" to frighten Americans into supporting a program that majorities have already rejected as economically unsound (the public backs tax cuts over spending).
This is a preview of things to come, of course. We've seen three weeks of incompetence, impropriety, and ideological extremism. There's little here that's reassuring for traditionalists who want targeted spending and tax cuts to grow the economy. Nor is there anything here for people of upstanding values - regular people trying to hold fast in a time of uncertainty - that reflects their honesty, decency, or hard work.
This is despicable bailout socialism of the worse kind.