The Dow’s record drop today changes the political dynamics of the garbage pail bill quite a bit, it seems to me.
As several observers mentioned, you don’t get credit for taking an unpopular move that avoids a crisis. But given the collapse of the stock market, people will check their 401(k)s and see big losses. And suddenly, they will think that even if they don’t like the bill, maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea after all. So it could make it quite a bit harder for GOP challengers to run against Dems that voted for the thing. (“My opponent thinks it’s a great idea for the stock market to drop by 800 points!”).
Just as important, it gives the Democrats more room to push through their preferred options, if they can get more of their own to vote for it. So they should do what Mark suggests: Push on bankruptcy. Push on purchase of preferred shares. Push on affordable housing. Push on some sort of a transactions tax or surtax on the top 1/10 of 1%. If the Republicans reject these and say that they cannot provide the votes for it, the easy response is, “you couldn’t provide the votes on the last one, either!”
At this stage, the worse things get, the worse they get politically for the Republicans. I don’t like it because it could mean real pain for people, but it could also mean real pain for Republicans, and that’s at least something.