Puzzling indeed, as there was really no downside for doing so, only downside for the Republicans taking part in the pork. Congress could have passed another Continuing Resolution in their sleep, funding the government at last year's levels until September. Do they think the public, if polled on it, would have rebelled?
So what happened? Well, maybe it was this:
Mr. Obama’s aides said privately that they did not want a confrontation with Congress over the earmarks at a time when the president needs cooperation on an array of priorities that are more important to him.Hmm, he's got a majority Democrat Congress in play, most of whom probably agree with his stance on global warming, health care reform, closing terrorist detention facilities and legalizing illegals. Or are we to believe the 40 pound brains in the braintrust thought a simple veto--fulfilling a vital campaign promise while showing that flinty toughness--would somehow jeopardize Camelot? Were none of them afraid he'd come off looking Pelosi-whipped?
Or maybe they figured the signing statement would take care of everything.
Never a doubt.