As uncertain as the effects of the stimulus may be, one thing is clear: The Republican Party has chosen clichés for its survival--deers in the headlights, heads in the sand and unity in a bunker to hide from the Obama battle with the destructive economic forces they helped unleash.
As they congratulate themselves on near-unanimity in yesterday's vote, the hairline cracks in GOP solidarity are beginning to show.
Arlen Specter, who breached the party line to support the bill, said before the vote that more Republicans would have joined him if it were not for fear of political consequences.
"When I came back to the cloak room after coming to the agreement a week ago today," said Specter, "one of my colleagues said, 'Arlen, I'm proud of you.' My Republican colleague said, 'Arlen, I'm proud of you.' I said, 'Are you going to vote with me?' And he said, 'No, I might have a primary.' And I said, 'Well, you know very well I'm going to have a primary.'"
Even in the Judd Gregg fiasco, it's clear how much peer pressure played a part in his decision to withdraw as Commerce Secretary after abstaining on the original stimulus vote while preparing for the nomination process.
But the Mitch McConnell-John Boehner Fuehrer feat may have a price tag on it for 2010. As they keep their troops in line, the opinion polls show voters rallying, however fearfully, behind Obama's moves to save the economy and more Republican stalwarts facing re-election trouble.
Even Gregg coupled his act of fealty with an announcement that he won't be running again for the New Hampshire seat.