This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," January 31, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, HOST: Up next, on "The Journal Editorial Report," President Obama's stimulus package passes the House with zero Republican support. Why his bipartisan appeals didn't work and the bill's prospects in the senate.
Wall Street titans at the whipping post, vilified for billions of bonuses and other perceived excesses. But is that any way to help the economy?
The administration makes its first green move. But will it help Detroit sell cars?
"The Journal Editorial Report" begins right now!
Welcome to "The Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
Well the post-partisan era didn't last long. After trying to shore up GOP support for his $819 billion economic recovery package, President Barack Obama was handed a one-sided victory Wednesday as every house Republican and 11 Democrats voted again the so-called stimulus plan. Debate is scheduled to begin Monday in the senate where Democrats hope for a more bipartisan result. Will they get it?
Joining the panel this week, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; columnists, Mary Anastasia O'Grady and Holman Jenkins; and in Washington, senior economics writer, Steve Moore.
Steve, to you first. President Obama wined, dined the Republicans, AND answered their questions on Capitol Hill. Why did so few of them, well none of them, vote for the stimulus plan?
STEVE MOORE, SENIOR ECONOMICS WRITER: You know, Paul, I just got back from the Republican House retreat held the day after this vote. I talked to dozens of these members about was this a tough vote to vote against a popular president? Even the moderate Republicans, the 20 or 30 that Obama thought he was going to peel off, when I asked, they said this wasn't a hard vote to vote no on this.
The reason was, there was just so much pork in this bill. There were so many items that had nothing to do with job creation or stimulus. We wrote about this in our editorials. But the National Endowment for the Arts, $600 million for the government to purchase automobiles, football stadiums, all of these things had nothing to do with stimulus. I think it was a bridge too far for President Obama. I think he has learned a political lesson.
GIGOT: Steve, conventional wisdom is this could be a risk for Republicans, because if they vote no, as they have, and the economy recovers, the Democrats are going to say, see, these guys can't be trusted with the economy, we've saved the economy. What do you think about that?
MOORE: I don't think so. Obviously, if the economy recovers, Obama will have a feather in his cap. The Republicans I talked to, they were totally unified yesterday more than I've ever seen them probably since the early 90s. They feel liberated. They feel — they told me is we like Barack Obama very much personally, but his policies were so far to the left on this stimulus bill, there was nothing in the Republicans that they liked in the bill.
GIGOT: This is billed as economic stimulus, but if you look at the fine print, it turns out to be social policy, health care policy, kind of the Democratic wish list for a long time on these kinds of issues.
DAN HENNINGER, DEPUTY EDITOR & COLUMNIST: You know, Paul, to a certain extent, from the point of view of Obama's economic advisers, a lot of that detail is irrelevant. Their theory is the Keynesian economic multiplier. Basically, they want to push some close to $900 billion out the window. You could drop it from planes as far as they are concerned.
GIGOT: So they give you a buck. You will spend it. and it will equal $1.50 in economic out-put. That is the theory?
HENNINGER: That's the theory. Larry Summers has been on television saying, if you people money, they have higher incomes. And with that higher income, they spend money, and it creates more jobs down the road. That's the theory. It doesn't matter how you push the money out.
GIGOT: Let's talk to that famous Keynesian economist, Mary O'Grady.
What do you think about this?