The logic is simple. Obama's plan will pass with or without Republican support. If, a year or so from now, the plan is widely considered a success, Obama and the Democrats will get the credit for it. Having backed it won't do any given Republican much good. On the other hand, if it's widely considered a failure, a Republican who opposed it will at least get some bragging rights, and can say, "If the president had listened to me, we wouldn't be in this fix."
The question, of course, is why didn't Obama see this coming? Why did he and congressional Democratic leaders take some preferred Democratic programs (including family planning funding) out of the bill and add in some tax cuts to appeal to Republicans who weren't going to vote for it anyway? Maybe he was näive in his assumptions about the power of bipartisan pleas. Or maybe he was shooting for coverage like this:
The vote was 244-188, with Republicans unanimous in opposition despite Obama's frequent pleas for bipartisan support.Rejecting bipartisanship plays pretty poorly among the Beltway media folks. Regardless, Obama might consider Matt Yglesias' advice:
He needs to spend less time seeking political cover to mitigate the downside to possible policy failure, and more time trying to implement the best policies he can.