Over the course of history, governments, political regimes and leaders have done some stupid things despite all arguments to the contrary, at times even against their own self-interest.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman (best known for "The Guns of August") chronicled this in "The March of Folly," examining the Trojan War, the provocation by the Renaissance Popes that led to the Protestant secession, the unnecessary loss of American colonies by Britain and the now well-documented United States loss in Vietnam.
Fast forward to 2009. The Republican Party has just suffered a bad but not unprecedented defeat. The U.S. economy is in shambles. And the patch of ground some leading figures in the GOP have chosen to occupy to rally back is to oppose expanded unemployment benefits in the middle of a recession.
They could have chosen a stronger national defense and terrorism policy, personal responsibility or even market-based health care reform. Arguing that President Obama's publicly-supported economic stimulus bill was full of wasteful spending (Rush Limbaugh termed it "Porkulus") was not enough.
No, their cause in this time of crisis is to deny expanded unemployment benefits to tens of thousands of jobless workers by saying they would not accept added federal funding for them.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with