The reason Obama is getting so few votes is that he is no longer setting the terms of the debate over how to save the economy. Instead the Republican Party—the one we thought lost the election—is doing that. And the confusion and delay this is causing could realize Obama's worst fears, turning "crisis into a catastrophe..."The lesson: to court bipartisan compromise only works if both parties involved are sincere in their intentions. Obama tried (too) many times to win over Republicans and as much as he tried, he got nowhere. Instead, he's been treated to harsh criticism from the GOP's water-carriers, namely talk radio and Fox News.
Obama's desire to begin a "post-partisan" era may have backfired. In his eagerness to accommodate Republicans and listen to their ideas over the past week, he has allowed the GOP to turn the haggling over the stimulus package into a decidedly stale, Republican-style debate over pork, waste and overspending.
Obama has allowed Congress to grow embroiled in nitpicking over efficiency when the central debate should be about whether the package is big enough.
Obama needs to remind the American people that unless the Republicans get on board, they will bear political responsibility for failing to act in the face of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Obama needs to do what he did to win the White House: appeal directly to the public, circumventing the wrapped-in-politics swamp that is currently and has been DC. As we now fully understand and realize, the GOP is willing to do only that which they perceive to be in their interest -- the country be damned.