Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi faced off on Saturday against entrenched Republicans and reluctant blue dog Democrats and managed to pull together just enough votes to pass the president’s health care reform bill.

Pelosi couldn’t resist gloating about the victory by claiming that it was a bipartisan effort thanks to the lone GOP vote from Louisiana Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao who joined the Democrats once it became clear the bill would pass with or without his vote.

At first blush this claim looks pretty ludicrous.  After all how can anyone in their right mind say that one vote out of 220 represents a true bipartisan effort?  But Pelosi was right she was just focusing on the wrong set of votes.  Thirty nine Democrats stood up to Pelosi and voted against the bill which represents a far greater percentage of the overall vote than the one Republican on the other side.

President Obama promised to reach across the aisle and end the bickering that had become the the norm in Washington.  Instead his actions have only widened the divide as evidenced by Saturday’s vote in the House and it will probably be an even tougher fight in the Senate.

Now that the House has put the health care vote behind them many of the Democrats who voted in favor of the bill will now be forced to defend their votes to angry constituents when they face re-election next year.

If the momentum built up from the tea parties continues into next year’s election November 2010 could be Obama’s Waterloo.

 

House Republicans for the first time in recent memory banded together last night and voted against the Democratic stimulus bill backed by President Barack Obama.

Even though the passage of the bill was never in doubt with the Democrats firmly in control of the House, President Obama had hoped to obtain some support from the GOP. He even went as far as visiting Republican House and Senate leaders on Tuesday in a last ditch attempt to woo them in addition to keeping up his image of bipartisanship.

In the end though all 177 Republicans voted against the bill and brought 11 Democrats with them which only added insult to injury for Nancy Pelosi and the President.

Democrats weren’t very happy with the GOP’s resolve. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said of the Republicans “They repeatedly are slapping the outreached hand of Democrats who are attempting to work in a bipartisan way” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Exactly which Democrats are reaching out? Certainly not Speaker Pelosi who said on Tuesday that “We had an election which was about our differing views … the American people agreed with us”

Maybe Rep. Wasserman Schultz missed that meeting.

Barack Obama campaigned on the theme of hope and change. Instead the stimulus bill is just more of the same pork barrel spending that Democrats have been famous for. After all what kind of stimulus will be provided for by another $650 million in digital TV conversion coupons?

Regardless of the pork we are now halfway there. The bill passed last night carries a price tag of $819 billion; the Senate version is closer to $900 billion. Yet the Democrats paid little attention to a GOP alternative of approximately $475 billion.

History has shown that government spending to stimulate the economy will have little if any long term effect and will only saddle our children and grandchildren with an even larger debt burden that they can’t possibly hope to repay in their lifetimes.

For the Democrats at this point it’s all about making sure they maintain control and not what is best for the country.