Political Winners and Losers In the Stimulus Showdown

By Bill SammonDeputy Managing Editor, Washington Bureau, FOX News Channel

It was startling to see not a single Republican vote for a bill that the Obama administration once hoped would pass with broad bipartisan support.

For an out-of-power party that's in the midst of a very rough patch, the GOP showed remarkable discipline. To add insult to injury, 11 Dems broke ranks and voted against their freshly minted president. That's a stinging rebuke. It's also politically significant and dramatically heightens interest in the looming Senate vote.

So who are the political winners and losers of this showdown?

REPUBLICANS: Will they be punished for bucking a popular president? Or will they be rewarded by conservatives for finally embracing the small-government principles they seemed to have abandoned in recent years?

[caption id="attachment_6432" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)"][/caption]

After humbling defeats in 2006 and 2008, do Republicans really have anything to lose by battling Pelosi and company? Or would they lose more by capitulating to her?

DEMOCRATS: Will they be seen as saviors of the economy? Or will they be dismissed as partisan apologists for stratospheric spending that might not end the recession?

[caption id="attachment_6431" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. is seen during a news conference on the stimulus legislation, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)"][/caption]

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Did he miscalculate when he set out to garner broad bipartisan support for his first big initiative? And in the wake of the House vote, is Obama's hope of amassing 80 votes in the Senate still realistic? If Obama fails to get some GOP fingerprints on his bill, does he end up assuming all risk in the event the stimulus doesn't work?

* * * * *

One note on language: Our competitors are saying House members voted "along party lines." But if 11 Republicans had sided with Obama (instead of 11 Democrats defecting from him), would that be described as a "party-line vote"?