Some on the right are understandably annoyed that new GOP Senator Scott Brown, along with four other Republicans, broke ranks and voted for the president's new jobs bill. But I see a silver lining, from a tactical perspective. The jobs bill, although another example of throwing money we don't have down a hole, is relatively minor in the great scheme of things -- as minor as $15 billion can be. The Republican support for the bill could actually be useful later on.
The fact that Brown and other moderate Republicans supported the bill undercuts the administration's campaign to paint the GOP as purely obstructionist partisans. It demonstrates that some Republicans are willing to work across the aisle with the president. The jobs bill might be a bitter tidbit to swallow, but it pales before the giant piles of garbage the president and Congressional Democrats want to ram down our throats. When the time comes to fight the revived health care monstrosity, the climate bill, or another "stimulus" spending spree, moderate Republicans like Scott Brown will have stronger credibility in opposition. They'll be able to say that they were willing to support the president and work across the aisle, but that these one-sided, partisan pieces of legislation are unacceptable. If the moderates remain firm in blocking the biggest, most damaging elements of Obama's program, their caving on smaller pieces such as the jobs bill will be well worth it.The fact that the president can't even get the support of moderate Republicans, with a proven record of bipartisanship, will help illuminate the radical nature of Obama's proposals and might be a significant factor in mobilizing public opposition.