It's hard to know what to make of this right away - so take this post in that instant spirit. The notion that Gregg couldn't possibly have foreseen a stimulus package of $800 billion (including almost $400 billion in tax cuts) seems implausible to me. I mean: we've known this was coming for months. The question of who gets to run the census may have been the real issue for him. But increasingly, one senses that the GOP has decided that any whiff of bipartisanship in a crisis as deep as this one is verboten. That's their call, and it's what they know. Indeed, the president is increasingly finding that his sane, sensible liberal pragmatism is not how Washington works or what it's comfortable with. That applies to many Democrats as well as the Republicans.

Which, to my mind, makes it all the more imperative that Obama stay calm and clear. Not taking the bait is as critical now as it was in the primaries. This is a form of hazing in many ways.