As far as I can tell the mood is more or less the same this year. Faced with the possibility of losing both the White House and possibly even the Senate in a year in which Democrats are also expected to consolidate control of the House as well, Republicans have resigned themselves to a half decade or so of opposition. Many of them are relieved at the thought of not even having to pretend to govern as members of a minority party — better yet, in the case of those who expect to lose their seats, at the not very remote possibility of a well-remunerated position with a lobbying or consulting firm.

This seems to me the only possible explanation for the GOP’s refusal to pass a second relief bill before the election. Some refreshingly honest liberal observers have called Nancy Pelosi a fool for even entertaining the possibility of such a deal. But she is a wily old fox. She understands that even at the best of times the GOP is reluctant to allow such uninviting prospects as winning elections to interfere with their libertarian economic principles. When things look hopeless and it appears that they have nothing to gain except the gratitude of millions of Americans, they will shrug, like that guy in the Ayn Rand book.

You have to admire their dedication here. Giving people four-figure checks on the eve of an election? This is a wheeze so obviously beneficial to the candidate who is able to take credit for it that I find myself wondering why every incumbent president in modern American history has not attempted something like it. The fact that Republicans would rather sit back under the pretense that they are holding out for — let me check my notes — COVID liability protection for businesses, tells you everything you need to know. They want to lose.