THE PARTY OF WALL STREET…. It occurs to me that much of the political establishment may not realize that Wall Street and bailed out bankers aren’t especially popular among American voters right now. It’s why Republicans are pursuing a curious strategy that seems to undermine GOP claims about populism.

Republicans are stepping up their campaign to win donations from Wall Street, trying to capitalize on an increasing sense of regret among executives at big financial institutions for backing Democrats in 2008.

In discussions with Wall Street executives, Republicans are striving to make the case that they are banks’ best hope of preventing President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats from cracking down on Wall Street. […]

[House Minority Leader John Boehner] told [James Dimon, the chairman and chief executive of J.P. Morgan] congressional Republicans had stood up to Mr. Obama’s efforts to curb pay and impose new regulations.

Given the political climate, these three paragraphs should effectively end Republican talk about reclaiming the congressional majority.

It’s almost comical. After extraordinarily reckless and irresponsible behavior on Wall Street, and a wildly unpopular bank bailout, President Obama and congressional Democrats have taken steps to bring some accountability and common sense back to our financial system. Republicans — by their own admission — are siding with those who brought the global system to the brink of collapse.

And to add insult to injury, these same Republicans hope to hit up Wall Street for more campaign contributions, promising bankers they’ll do even more to stop reform efforts.

Is this some kind of joke?

In 2010, with the economy still struggling, financial industry bonuses still flowing, and Americans wondering why the only folks getting ahead are bankers who were saved by our money, Republicans are cozying up even more to Wall Street?

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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.