A half-dozen students were in my office yesterday afternoon to talk about their exam today. I put CNN.com on the monitor, refreshing the page every ten minutes or so. Thus, as we discussed their exam-related questions we could also watch the unfolding consequences of the House of Representatives cratering the economic rescue bill. The Dow down 700, then 500, then 650, then 770 . . . the failure of house leaders on both sides of the aisle to rally sufficient votes . . . the White House’s totally ineffectual pleas to pass the bill . . . the failure of Obama and McCain both to put themselves squarely in front of the bill and explain why it’s passage is important. It was a total failure of political leadership, a verdict that is splashed across front pages and op-ed pages everywhere.