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House Dems Not So Enthusiastic, Either

With all the talk about rank-and-file House Republicans opposing a Wall Street bailout, it's worth noting a point emphasized to me by some Capitol Hill sources today: Rank-and-file House Democrats aren't so enthusastic, either.

Some Dems aren't sure a bailout--or, at least, this kind of bailout--is even necessary, a view liberal economist James K. Galbraith expressed yesterday in the Washington Post. And many are concerned, as Bob Reich is, that the supposed concessions on protection for homeowners, taxpayer equity, and CEO pay don't concede enough.

Senator Christopher Dodd and Representative Barney Frank may be two of the smartest, most respected members of Congress, with liberal bona fides nobody should question. But that doesn't mean liberals in the House will go along with whatever the two of them negotiate.

Still, the House Democrats didn't blow up negotiations last night, the way House Republicans did. Partly that's because many of them see in the Dodd-Frank proposal the makings of more appealing compromise. But I think it's also because--to borrow Paul Krugman's phrase--they're acting like grown ups.

--Jonathan Cohn