Page 2 of 2   <      

Rescue for the Stimulus

But such volleys have gone largely unreturned, and the biggest danger for Obama will come if Republican attacks erode support for the stimulus among Democrats. That's why the president will be spending more time with congressional Democrats in the coming days. The administration's visionary emphasis on winning expansive Republican support has been replaced by a down-to-earth struggle to get a bill through the Senate.

Its hopes rest in part on a different form of bipartisanship. If Washington Republicans have decided to build a wall of opposition to the stimulus, Republican governors and mayors are eager for the money Obama wants to give them.

Thus will Obama and his allies be touting strong support for the stimulus from the Republican governors of California, Connecticut, Florida and Vermont. Mayors will be called upon to move House Republicans still open to persuasion.

In just two weeks, the elation of Inauguration Day has given way to a classic form of partisan hardball. Obama and his advisers have been forced to learn basic lessons on the run. For starters, the media cannot be counted on to be either liberal or permanently enchanted with any politician. Arguments left unanswered can take hold, whether they make sense or not. And one more lesson: No occupant of the White House has ever been able to walk on water.

<       2

© 2009 The Washington Post Company