Focus on the Merits

Josh Marshall sums up the blogospheric conventional wisdom:

I think Kos, Digby and Kilgore have this about right. The Republican/McCain plan is to get the Democrats to bail out the GOP’s Wall Street friends and then run against them for doing it.

I think all those esteemed bloggers may be right. Still, I think the intensive concern over this particular point is a little bit misplaced. Or, rather, that it should be strictly dominated by concern over the merits of the plan that’s passed. If progressives throw Paulson’s plan in the trash modify Paulson’s plan in ways that make it a good plan, then, sure, some people are going to vote “no” and run against them on that basis. But that’s congress for you! If progressives ever want to get anything done, that’s going to entail writing bills that the other side votes “no” on and then runs against. The thing to avoid isn’t conservative criticism, it’s passing a bad bill. Krugman says the Dodd proposal “is a big improvement over the Paulson plan” and I agree. The appropriate focus is on further improving the bill, not on worrying about what the mean ol’ Republicans might say about an improved bill.