CRY BABIES…. When the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page mocks House Republicans, you know the GOP has stepped in it.

“Their immediate response was to say that many of their Members turned against the bill at the last minute because Ms. Pelosi gave her nasty speech,” the Journal’s explained. “So they are saying that Republicans chose to oppose something they think is in the national interest merely because of a partisan slight. Thank heaven these guys weren’t at Valley Forge.”

To be sure, the House Republican leadership was in a bind yesterday — they’d failed miserably, with the eyes of the world upon them, and accepting responsibility apparently wasn’t an option. They needed to blame someone, and time was of the essence. “How do we blame Speaker Pelosi for Republicans rejecting a rescue plan?” a GOP member no doubt asked. “I know! We’ll say her speech was mean and left us no choice!” another probably added.

And that’s exactly what they did. The top three leaders of the House Republican caucus — all of whom supported the legislation — held a press conference to say, earnestly and sincerely, that a “partisan” speech led at least a dozen House Republican lawmakers to vote against a package they would have otherwise supported. Seriously.

It never seemed to occur to them that a) they were implicitly accepting responsibility for the debacle; and b) they were effectively admitting that they were screwing over the country because Nancy Pelosi hurt their feelings.

Barney Frank was in rare form: “Frankly, that’s an accusation against my Republican colleagues I would have never thought of making. Here’s the story: there’s a terrible crisis affecting the American economy. We have come together on a bill to alleviate the crisis. And because somebody hurt their feelings, they decide to punish the country. I mean, I would not have imputed that degree of pettiness and hypersensitivity…. [T]hink about this. ‘Somebody hurt my feelings, so I will punish the country.’ That’s hardly plausible. And there are 12 Republican members who were ready to stand up for the economic interest of America, but not if anybody insulted them. I’ll make an offer. Give me those 12 people’s names and I will go talk uncharacteristically nicely to them and tell them what wonderful people they are and maybe they’ll now think about the country.”

If there were any justice, the House Republican caucus would never live this one down.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.