Obama pulled this off at his lowest political ebb. After the shambles of the election and with no bargaining power - the Republicans could have gotten everything they wanted on the Bush tax cuts retroactively in January without fear of an Obama veto - he walks away with what even Paul Ryan admits was $313 billion in superfluous spending.
Including a $6 billion subsidy for ethanol. Why, just a few weeks ago Al Gore, the Earth King, finally confessed that ethanol subsidies were a mistake. There is not a single economic or environmental rationale left for this boondoggle that has induced American farmers to dedicate an amazing 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop - for burning! And the Republicans have just revived it.
Even as they were near unanimously voting for this monstrosity, Republicans began righteously protesting $8.3 billion of earmarks in Harry Reid's omnibus spending bill. They seem not to understand how ridiculous this looks after having agreed to a Stimulus II that even by their own generous reckoning has 38 times as much spending as all these earmarks combined.
Republican no votes included Jeff Flake, Michele Bachmann, and Mike Pence; Republican yes votes included Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, Tom Cole, Jeb Hensarling, and Ron Paul. One more Democrat (139) than Republican (138) voted for the bill in the House, though the Democrats were more closely divided on it (139-112) than the Republicans (138-36). The roll call is here. In classic Washington fashion, the bill is called not the "Extend the Bush Tax Cuts For Everyone For Two Years While Also Extending Unemployment Insurance and Cutting the Payroll Tax for a Year Act," which would be helpful because it actually would explain what is going on, but rather, less scrutably, the "Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2010, Part III."