Larison sighs:

The Republican stimulus vote was remarkable in how politically tone-deaf it was. The bill as presented to the House shouldn’t have passed, but it is striking how unwilling the Republican leadership was to back a popular piece of legislation. When confronted with a similar situation in September over the bill authorizing the TARP–the Democrats had a majority but wanted, indeed needed, Republican votes for provide bipartisan cover–the Republican leadership caved and backed a bill their constituents hated and endorsed a measure of dubious merit. Of course, that was four months ago when it might have done them some good electorally. Having blown the obvious opportunity to tap into populist outrage over the bailout, which was supported by perhaps a third of the electorate at most, the leadership now decides to make their stand opposing a bill that commands support from a broad majority of the country, and they do so at a time when their stand, such as it is, will be forgotten by the time the midterms come around.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.