Stay the Course, Senate Republicans! Stick Together and Make History

By Noel SheppardAssociate Editor, Media Research Center's

Although the Obama-loving press cheered the House vote Wednesday night approving the new president's economic stimulus package, the end result was a resounding defeat for a man who promised on the campaign trail to bring a new era of bipartisanship to Washington.

There's no getting around it, not ONE Republican representative said "Aye."

Not one.

[caption id="attachment_6425" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, shares a laugh with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Md. on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009, during a news conference to discuss stimulus legislation. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)"][/caption]

As the Los Angeles Times reportedat its "Top of the Ticket" blog Wednesday evening:

So much for bipartisanship for now.

Today's House vote on the $819-billion economic stimulus package was a stark one -- 244 to 188.

244 Democrats on one side.

177 Republicans and 11 dissenting Democrats on the other.

This sets the stage for Republican senators to repeat history, while potentially altering the path of the future.

As FOX Forum reportedhours before this historic vote Wednesday, a precedent was established in 1993 when Republicans unanimously opposed President Clinton's bill to raise taxes.

Although the measure passed and was enacted into law that August, it required a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Al Gore in the Senate, and just barely got out of the House.

This was viewed as a bitter-sweet victory for Clinton at the time, as it not only identified cracks in his caucus -- six Democrats in the Senate and 41 in the House voted against the bill - but it also acted to strongly galvanize Republicans who fifteen months later shocked the world by taking back both chambers of Congress in the 1994 mid-term elections.

Was Wednesday's House vote a precursor of history repeating itself? Judging by early press reaction, it looks like it. Here's what the uber-liberal San Francisco Chronicle reported:

President Obama won his first legislative victory as the House passed a $819 billion economic stimulus package Wednesday night, but his bid to woo Republicans failed to convince even a single GOP member to join Democrats to back the bill. [...]

But GOP lawmakers said they could not abandon their principles and vote for a plan they felt would expand government too much and cut taxes too little. They offered a separate plan, which focused almost exclusively on tax cuts, which was defeated on a party line vote.

"I am disappointed that Congress decided to borrow money from our children and grandchildren to increase spending, create new government programs, and increase the federal deficit under the guise of an economic stimulus," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex.

Further south, the aforementioned Los Angeles Times blog was equally concernedwith this outcome:

Despite President Obama'svery public bid for Republican support, he got none. Nada. Zippo. A slap in the face for the Great Change Agent in return for a good faith reaching out? [...]

On the Republican side of the aisle, the vote showed that despite their shellacking at the polls in the last two congressional elections, Republicans are one thing for sure -- united.

As they were in 1993, and if they seriously want to win back either chamber of Congress in 2010, and/or the White House in 2012, Republicans in the Senate must follow suit by casting 41 opposing votes next week when this issue moves to their side of the Capitol.

Noel Sheppard is associate editor of the MediaResearchCenter's He welcomes feedback at