ALL GRANDSTANDING, NO FOLLOW THROUGH?…. When Republicans on the Hill decided to pursue the AIG bonus story, with hopes of exploiting it for partisan gain, they had half of a good idea. They would have been far better off, though, if they’d come up with an end game to the grandstanding.

GOP lawmakers knew they were “outraged.” They knew how “angry” the AIG bonuses made them. They explained to the nation, as loudly as possible, that they found the whole mess “unacceptable.” But given a chance to get the bonus money back, these same GOP lawmakers aren’t so sure that’s a good idea.

Take a look at this interesting exchange on MSNBC this morning, by way of Ben Smith. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said he wanted to see the bonus money come back, but had no idea what to say about how to do this. Would he vote to tax the relevant AIG employees? Cantor wouldn’t say. Does he have any ideas about how, exactly, to get back the funds? Cantor wouldn’t say.

It’s not just Cantor. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he will vote “no” on efforts to recoup the AIG money. Several leading conservative lawmakers in both chambers have said the same thing. And just for real fun, Grover Norquist told the 172 representatives and 35 senators who signed an anti-tax pledge that if they support getting back the AIG bonuses, they’ll be violating their written promise to the conservative movement.

This is what happens when foolish people grandstand without thinking. In effect, the message from congressional Republicans is, “We’re outraged! Just don’t expect us to do anything about it!”

Note to the GOP: you can’t exploit an issue for partisan gain if you’re not willing to stand by your own rhetoric.

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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.