They aren't interested in governing alongside another party. It's harder, more risky, and requires more icky compromising than standing just outside hurling bricks. Eventually we (and the president, for that matter) are going to have to recognize that Obama actually did win all the moderate Republican votes on the first stimulus go-round.
A hill staffer writing to TPM points out more evidence of Republican bad faith in the Gregg withdrawal:
It's hard not to think that Gregg's withdrawal, with the grumbling about the census and the stimulus, was not timed [sic] to cause the most damage possible to the Obama administration. Releasing the statement just as Obama took the stage in Peoria was clearly designed to undermine the President's event. The fact he scheduled a presser only seems to confirm it. The classy exit would have been to wait til tomorrow afternoon to quietly bow out. Basically Gregg decided not just to politely decline, but rather to blow shit up and burn the bridge behind him. Do not think this portends good things for the wider political climate.
If the larger GOP strategy can be describe as putting all of their chips on "FAIL", this has to be seen as a significant addition to that pile, no?
If the press were to talk about "seriousness" in a way that was sensible and evidence-based, it would point out that the Republicans are apparently not serious about taking part in the running of the government. They're like maladjusted teenagers playing a shoot-em-up game, feigning cooperation with other players just long enough to get them to drop their defenses.