Now, it's obvious that everyone believes a stimulus bill is a good idea, so no one voted against this because they believe it's a flawed concept. And since the last month's worth of economic news has been uniformly bad, no one who believes in stimulus has any real reason to balk at fattening up the package a bit. This wasn't a principled stand about letting the economy work things out on its own.
But what happened? Republicans filibustered the larger bill and then sustained the filibuster on virtually a party line vote. Why? Because it had a few billion dollars of spending targeted at Democratic priorities. There's nothing more to it.
The moral of the story is this: Republicans have no intention of ever working with Democrats on anything remotely like a bipartisan basis. Even on something as trivial as this, they filibustered and won. They will do the same thing next year no matter who's president. They will do it on every single bill, no matter how minor. They will never stop obstructing. Period. Presidential hopefuls, take note.
I would add to this point what is amounting to a running theme on this blog: Republicans can do this because their political philosophy does not require them to take governing seriously. It's why they have already set the record for fillibusters during a session just barely past the halfway point. They aren't trying to stop particular initiatives of government, they are trying to stop government period.