CORNYN’S BUSY SCHEDULE…. Last night, the Senate defeated a Republican filibuster of the economic stimulus package, leading to a floor vote today on the bill. The vote last night was 61 to 36.

Looking at the roll call, however, one notices that Sen. John Cornyn (R) of Texas didn’t show up for the vote. Other than Commerce Secretary-designate Judd Gregg, who has recused himself, Cornyn was the only senator who skipped the vote.

So, where was he? Ben Smith tracked Cornyn down.

The answer: He was at a New York gathering of prominent media conservatives and Wall Street Republican donors called the Monday Meeting, held at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Midtown Manhattan.

Though not a fundraiser, the meeting is a hub of conservative money and buzz, a good place for Cornyn to tap into resources in his role as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The meetings are off-the-record, but a source there emails me that Cornyn — who was billed as speaking about the 2010 senate races — took some pokes at Democratic leaders, saying that “Nancy Pelosi drives the train” and describing Chuck Schumer as a “human vacuum cleaner.”

Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) can’t walk, but he showed up for this key vote. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) has brain cancer and recently suffered a seizure, but he showed up for the vote.

And Cornyn can’t pry himself away from some far-right fat cats?

Sure, we knew how he would have voted last night, and yes, he’ll no doubt oppose the bill when it passes today. But it’s one of those developments with bad “optics.”

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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.