The 2010 mid-term election results will be significantly influenced by what Senate Republicans do in response to the proposed stimulus legislation. For better or for worse.
If GOP Senators either support, or appear to support, a non-stimulus stimulus bill, mid-term Republican candidates will lose any potential leverage from being able to say, "Don't blame the failure of the false ‘stimulus' bill on us! We were against it." (It's akin to the leverage Obama gained by claiming to have been against the Iraq War from the beginning.)
The Obama administration and Congressional Democrats are using the credit market crisis, which was supposed to be cured by the first TARP (with more TARPs to come), as an opportunity to pass a supplemental spending package that grows the standard Federal budget and its bureaucracy. It's classic bait-and-switch, and, so far, it's worked.
When Republican Senators start tinkering with the details of a fundamentally bad bill, it appears as though they've accept the premise of its worthiness. It's like physicians arguing over the size of the leeches needed to cure the patient.
Meanwhile, the collective wisdom of the American public is clearly swinging toward seeing the current stimulus bill as more about stimulating the growth of the federal government than the national economy. The danger is that a final awakening will only come after it's too late to stop the train.
When billions of dollars, perhaps a trillion, fail to bring economic stimulus proportion to the cost, voters will remember it as a bipartisan venture. Not good for Republicans.
Consequently, this pending vote in the US Senate is a defining moment for the GOP, for '10, and perhaps beyond.