Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 29, 2008

THE WRONG FRAME AT THE WRONG TIME.... I can appreciate how ridiculous House Minority Leader John Boehner looks right now. I can even appreciate the fact that the Republican Party is looking desperately for someone to blame. But the GOP really hasn't thought this one through.

Several Republican aides said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had torpedoed any spirit of bipartisanship that surrounded the bill with her scathing speech near the close of the debate that blamed Bush's policies for the economic turmoil.

Without mentioning her by name, Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla., No. 3 Republican, said: "The partisan tone at the end of the debate today I think did impact the votes on our side."

Putnam said lawmakers were working "to garner the necessary votes to avoid a financial collapse."

But the defeat was already causing a brutal round of finger-pointing. "We could have gotten there today had it not been for the partisan speech that the speaker gave on the floor of the House," House Minority Leader John Boehner said. Pelosi's words, the Ohio Republican said, "poisoned our conference, caused a number of members that we thought we could get, to go south."

Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the whip, estimated that Pelosi's speech changed the minds of a dozen Republicans who might otherwise have supported the plan.

On its face, this is comically stupid. House Republicans wanted to vote to prevent a financial collapse, the pitch goes, but the Big Bad House Speaker made them mad with a speech. You can read Pelosi's remarks yourself -- if it strikes you as the kind of speech that's worth risking the economy over, let me know.

But more important than that is the truly ridiculous frame Republicans are establishing for themselves by using Pelosi's speech as an excuse for their own failure. The House GOP, for reasons that defy comprehension, has decided to characterize itself as a caucus of cry babies. Worse, they're irresponsible cry babies who, according to their own argument, are more concerned with their precious hurt feelings than the nation's economic stability.

It's a great slogan for the election season, isn't it? "Vote Republican -- We're More Concerned With Our Feelings Than Your Future."

Make no mistake -- this is a failure of the Republican Party of historic proportions. When push came to shove, the Democratic leadership delivered the votes on the rescue plan, while Republicans voted, 2-to-1, against it.

If they're going to rationalize their failure, they're going to have to do better than rejecting the proposal because of Pelosi's harmless speech.

Steve Benen 3:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (85)

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Comments

Agreed, see my responses to Steve's absurd claim regarding this in the previous threads.

Posted by: Chicounsel on September 29, 2008 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

I think you are making a big mistake trying to paint the "failure" of bill passage as a Republican error.
The bill was a crock of shi---. Dems were pushing it hard against REAL SERIOUS opposition. I for one am breathing a big sigh of relief.

Posted by: disdaniel on September 29, 2008 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

They don't care. It will always be "Blame the Democrats" for everything, to hell with reality or the truth. The GOP leadership is now so partisan, so purged of moderate or pragmatic skill, so crooked in intent, that they will do nothing to resolve this crisis. They would rather fight in a burning house instead of putting the fires out.

Posted by: PaulW on September 29, 2008 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

This thread reserved for trolls.

Posted by: on September 29, 2008 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Chris Matthews is blaming , correctly, John McCain for this failure by the Repiglicans ....that is exactly where the blame belongs ........

Posted by: stormskies on September 29, 2008 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Here is an analysis of this by a true novice.

Basically, we want to cosign a $700 billion note long enough to let the financial market stabilize, so we can hold on to our jobs and our savings. After stabilization, we write off the bad stuff and sell the good stuff. In return for underwriting this, the federal government takes an equity position in these companies which means we own the good as well as the bad. Given that the good stuff is currently undervalued, we should minimize our losses in the long run, and might even turn a profit.


So each of us floats: $700 billion divided by 300 million = $2,300.

Assuming we, federal government, will pay an interest rate of say 5%, I am out ($2300 x 5% = )$120 per year, until we can write off the bad stuff and sell the good stuff.

That is $10/month of insurance so that I get to hold on to my job and my savings. It feels like extortion, but it is better than losing my job and my savings.

Of course I am in debt. Hopefully, I'll get most of it paid off in 5 years, maybe less. Well, it sucks because it feels like extortion, but it seems worth if that is what I have to do.

I suppose the critical issues for me are:

(1) make sure the damn thing works and I hold on to my job and my retirement; and

(2) use our (the federal government) muscle to get a REALLY good equity buy

Then it will feel like I am extorting the financial markets. And I will feel much better about it. Of course the Republicans won't like me muscling corporations, and that makes me feel even better. Then, they won't vote for it, and I will feel really good.

But then, I am novice.

Posted by: Catfish on September 29, 2008 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

i agree with disdaniel on this one. i never liked this bill from the beginning. i thought it was the wrong approach - we should have been adding capital by investing in institutions, not buying their bad assets - and it was pushed through too fast. lots of us democrats didn't like this bill. i'm not sorry it failed. now maybe they can try again.

orange

Posted by: just bill on September 29, 2008 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, McCain is at fault here. He should have kept the House Republicans out of the negotiations and we could have had $700 billion in Paulson's hands alone by the end of business today. I knew he was crazy.

Posted by: Dee on September 29, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

They had it planned though, down to the Dem's voted 94 against - the Majority hadn't managed to convince their own members ...

Their playing politics, wanting to have the Dem's pass the bill, and then attack the Dem's for giving 700billion to the buddies of the GOP.

Smooth. not.

Posted by: SteinL on September 29, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Blaming Pelosi is a crybaby tactic. If they had good reasons for voting no, they should explain those reasons. Obviously they cannot think of any good reasons at the moment.

Posted by: Matt on September 29, 2008 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

I'm going to have to go with Barney frank on this one:

"Well if that stopped people from voting, then shame on them," he said. "If people's feelings were hurt because of a speech and that led them to vote differently than what they thought the national interest (requires), then they really don't belong here. They're not tough enough."

Posted by: ET on September 29, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

A bill as important as this probably needs to go through the ringer a few times anyways. It's crazy that on Sunday night they came with a final text, and everyone needs to rush to vote on it on Monday. Sorry that the stock market's dumping today, but I'd rather see more back and forth on the deal than to just jam it through. It'll be a better bill because of it.

Posted by: Quinn on September 29, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

There is no point in talking to the House GOP, which is nuts, or the White House, which is impotent. The Dems should offer their own bill tomorrow, hopefully one that includes equity stakes and a tax on the wealthy to fund it. Let Bush decide whether to veto or sign it. Fuck the House GOP.

Posted by: g. powell on September 29, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'm the only one who thinks this is Act II in the "Rescue John McCain's campaign and keep the narrative off Palin's incompetence" play?

They'll be back after the holiday and McCain will have rounded up the loose horses and whipped them into shape.

The Republican vote against it has nothing to do with feelings and economics and everything to do with trying to save the fate of a party circling the toilet bowl.

Posted by: grinning cat on September 29, 2008 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

This won't be complete until we see these guys literally choking each other on the floor of the House.

Posted by: on September 29, 2008 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

I think this is the beginning of their political play. They are going to try to have their cake and eat it to. They are going to say that they aren't responsible for the bill failing (in case everyone wakes up and realizes that its dire). But they showed they were tough and stood up against a bad bill that was going to raise your taxes.

Meanwhile McCain is going to do both as well. "I rounded up the votes to make it happen, but Obama screwed it up." and "But fundamentally, it was a bad bill. One that would RAISE YOUR TAXES! I'm not afraid to go against President Bush to say this and I'm not afraid to tell the Democrats to their faces that they Americans will NEVER SAY YES TO SOCIALISM!"

Posted by: MichMan on September 29, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, this "blame Nancy" stuff is pretty silly.

That said, we should stop repeating it. This entire stinking situation is directly attributable to the failure of Republican philosophy, to the failure of Republicans to govern effectively, and to the specific failures of the log-rolling, back-scratching Bush administration appointees and their Congressional allies who enabled -- indeed, abetted and profited from -- this catastrophe.

And the failure to pass this bill is that of Bush, and McCain, and Boehner, and the rest of the Republicans who oh-so-cleverly tried to have their cake and eat it too, by profiting from the bailout even as they pretended virtuously to oppose it.

Who but John Boehner basically torpedoed the negotiations last Sunday?

Who but John McCain made everything a lot harder by parachuting in and turning the whole negotiation into a media circus?

This is the Republicans' mess, and the Republicans' fault for not cleaning it up.

Frankly, the Democrats would have been entirely justified in sitting on their hands and letting Boehner take the lead. That Pelosi, Frank, Reid, and Dodd even stepped up to the plate is a sign of maturity, wisdom, and leadership -- traits conspicuously lacking in pretty much every Republican visible today.

Screw you, Republicans. Quit your whining. Nobody believes you anymore.

Posted by: bleh on September 29, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK


Alright you knuckleheads, enough with the bullshit. You know this is the Republicans fault and are just lying.

Hell, I'm Canadian - a country with strict party line voting, and I get why it's the Republicans fault.

If an unpopular, but necessary bill is up for vote, you need roughly the same number of votes coming from either party. That way the solution is...wait for it....BIPARTISAN! If it's every Democrat for and every Republican against, the solution is....wait for it...PARTISAN!

Nobody can have a partisan solution to something this major, this close to an election...maybe, just maybe this was a time to...wait for it...PUT COUNTRY FIRST!

Posted by: neilt on September 29, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans have the knee-jerk instinct of traveling salesmen; if a car knocks a salesman down in a crosswalk, when the guy who hit him rushes up, he'll try to sell him life insurance, or a gym membership or a vegetable peeler. It's not based on sense, but on opportunity.

Whenever anything goes wrong, or even in a direction that a substantial number of people might interpret as wrong, Republicans blame Democrats. The rationale is that it can't hurt, and it might help. And there's always an ear for it among the 20-percenters.

orange

Posted by: Mark on September 29, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone should explain, Eric. If you don't like the bill, by all means vote no... and then explain your reasoning. Better yet, propose an alternative! Pelosi and Reid are both worthless, in my opinion.

Posted by: Matt on September 29, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Pelosi gave the Republicans a chance to put the blame on Bush and his minions instead of the Republican party as a whole. That was a gift. McCain is running on a platform of "change" even though he represents the status quo and other Republican lawmakers are trying to not mention their party affiliation on the ballot to avoid Bush's taint. The Repubs simply though this would pass and the Democrats would be blamed for the bill's passage. Political opportunity lost.

The most galling thing for the R's was Pelosi's last line: "In the new year, with a new Congress and a new president, we will break free with a failed past and take America in a New Direction to a better future." Pelosi's foreshadowing of a new, more Democratic Washington come January was just too much to bear.

Posted by: petorado on September 29, 2008 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

The agreement reached between the Republican and Dmeocratic leadership was that each side would try to deliver 50% of its caucus. The Democrats delivered over 60% of their caucus, whereas the Republicans delivered less than 35% of their caucus.

That is why the Republicans are getting blamed for the bill's defeat. Their leadership did not deliver the votes they had promised, something which becomes even more galling when you realize that this was a bill supported by a Republican administration. Just goes to show how low Bush's stock has fallen among his own party....

Posted by: mfw13 on September 29, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Make no mistake -- this is a failure of the Republican Party of historic proportions.

Yes, you're right in this sense: the GOP fucked up the economy; hang it around their fat necks.

But the inability to pass the bill is not a "failure." Far from it. It was a double Long Island Iced Tea for the drunken louts driving this economy, louts who are mostly aligned with and certainly enabled by the see-no-evil GOP.

Disdaniel is correct, it was a giant turd, legislatively speaking — too much money for too many terrible assets, insufficient oversight, insufficient means of monetizing any gains for taxpayers, insufficient structural corrections to the Sodom that is Wall Street.

Posted by: safe as milk on September 29, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't matter how the vote went/should have gone or how they voted or whether the speech caused anyone to change their vote, Pelosi's speech is one of the dumbest I've seen considering the context of the speech. If she was for it, and it was supposed to be bi-partisan, she should not have made a clearly partisan speech. Stupid, stupid. She clearly should not be in the leadership role she is in.

Posted by: Wayne on September 29, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Was this bill good enough? I keep hearing that it wouldn't address the economic problems directly.

Posted by: Josh on September 29, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Excuse me, but reading these comments I even more admire the vision of Senator Obama to unite your country in the fight for a future.

Because if it remains as it is (and as these comments prove), your nation is screwed. And I have no pleasure in writing this, because I care for my American friends.

The world will lick its wounds for a couple of years. But after they healed we will return to a new world NOT under American rule.

And maybe that's an encouraging thought.

Posted by: on September 29, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Were her shots at Bush critical to its passage?

Apparently for the Republicans they were. Even "Red State Mike" whines about having the malfeasance and corruption of the party and president he supports pointed out.

Shorter "Eric Blair" (who besmirches a good man's name with every post): It's the Democrats' fault the Republicans torpedoed this bill.

Boo hoo. Nice attempt to spin, fellas, but that dog won't hunt.

Posted by: Gregory on September 29, 2008 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

George W. Bush sat on his hands too long hoping the economic crisis would sort itself out. Market forces did not work. Given Bush's veto and Republican obstructionism, there was no way Democrats could prevail. We will continue this nonsense if McCain is elected president and Democrats don't increase their numbers. That's reality folks.

The Dow is down sharply today and gyrating somewhat. The last I checked, it was down more than 550 points, though it had gone down more than 700 at one point. That too is reality. Bush is a liar but he isn't always a liar.

McCain, in his first test of leadership, failed to lead. He has no influence on his own party. Let's remember that House Republicans offered an alternative that was an offensive joke: more deregulation and more tax cuts: exactly the nonsense that got us into this mess.

The Republicans own the economic crisis. They own the failure to act. They own the failure to understand, even remotely, what the problem is.

Posted by: Craig on September 29, 2008 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK


What neilt said at 3:44.

All conversation about this bill begins there and ends there.

Posted by: koreyel on September 29, 2008 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

George W. Bush sat on his hands too long hoping the economic crisis would sort itself out. Market forces did not work. Given Bush's veto and Republican obstructionism, there was no way Democrats could prevail. We will continue this nonsense if McCain is elected president and Democrats don't increase their numbers. That's reality folks.

The Dow is down sharply today and gyrating somewhat. The last I checked, it was down more than 550 points, though it had gone down more than 700 at one point. That too is reality. Bush is a liar but he isn't always a liar.

McCain, in his first test of leadership, failed to lead. He has no influence on his own party. Let's remember that House Republicans offered an alternative that was an offensive joke: more deregulation and more tax cuts: exactly the nonsense that got us into this mess.

The Republicans own the economic crisis. They own the failure to act. They own the failure to understand, even remotely, what the problem is.

Posted by: Craig on September 29, 2008 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

When deciding to deliver that speech, Pelosi made the incorrect assumption that Congressional Republicans would behave like actual grown ups. That is never something we can count on.

Posted by: Matt on September 29, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK


What neilt said at 3:44.

All conversation about this bill begins there and ends there.

Posted by: koreyel on September 29, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Congratulations Republicans, your hero Joseph Stalin would be proud.

Posted by: grinning cat on September 29, 2008 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

cheers koroyel :D


on a somewhat related note - Right about now, aint ya glad Bush/McCain weren't able to privatize your Social Security?

Posted by: neilt on September 29, 2008 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

The bill was horrible!!!!

It was a huge burden.

Both McCain and Obama missed their golden opportunity -- they should have said NO -- this bill stinks and won't work as is -- any economist would have told them that.

Then when it failed -- they could have applauded the House for seeing it their way --- if it passed -- the market would have rallied and they'd be the 'fiscal conservative maverick' that stood his ground.

Both of them are idiots. So now nobody really has a leg to stand on. Just a bunch of whiners on both sides.

Obama never should have been supporting this thing. He doesn't know crap about the economy either.

Posted by: jonno on September 29, 2008 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

GOP:

"Don't tell the truth about us, because that hurts, and then we will take our billions of marbles and go home."

Before they get done showcasing their cowardice in this latest episode, the common people (known as the middle and lower classes) of America are going to hate the present incarnation of the GOP to the point of total (and hopefully permanent) rejection.

Posted by: klevenstein on September 29, 2008 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Steve 95 DEMOCRATS voted against this bill. This is a Democrat controlled congress.

Entirely the wrong way to look at it. Contrary to the way that Republicans like to run things, in a democracy a lot of bills require something like political consensus. There are a lot of serious repercussions to trying to jam a bill like this (a 700 billion dollar) down the other side's throat. Some of those repercussions are political but there are also serious issues with trying to govern this way. Republicans have shown us some of the negative side of this for the last eight years. In that context, Democrats more than delivered their end.

Posted by: brent on September 29, 2008 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still unsure how big a disaster the GOP perpetrated by NOT spending 700 billion to shore up irresponsible mega corps with precious little to show for it.

Too soon to say this is bad.
(I'll check in a coupla hours.)

When I complain about the GOP, I really don't want to have to say they did the right thing later.

I'm not proud of the home team yet. If a better bill comes out of this, won't we look like the saps? "Those damn tax and spend Dems were ready to throw money at the problem with no serious oversight! The fools!"

It's not out of the realm of possibilities that we've been played.

Badly.

I may regret having asked her to, but THANK YOU CONGRESSWOMAN EDWARDS for voting against this fraud-enabling bill. You may yet end up vindicated.


Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on September 29, 2008 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, now that we're all in agreement that the House Republicans have the emotional maturity of a bratty 3 year old, let's make sure this is the disaster it deserves to be for them. Frankly, this excuse that "we voted against it because Pelosi called us names" sounds eerily like Newt Gingrich's excuse for shutting down the government in 1995 because Clinton gave him a crappy seat on Air Force One. You'd think the GOP would have learned their lesson over that fiasco, but no. (Hell, Boner was in the GOP leadership back then, but I guess he wasn't paying attention.)

Oh and, nice one, McCain. You take credit for the deal and it promptly falls through. You want to just call Obama and say, "Okay, I quit. Take it, I don't want it anymore."

Posted by: gf120581 on September 29, 2008 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican House members voted against the bill because they know that a vote for it would end their political careers. They are all up for reelection and their constituency is 100 to 1 against the bill.

Pelosi had nothing to do with it.

More than a few Dumbocrats may find that their vote for the bill has sent them to an unexpected retirement.

I'm voting for Obama but I'll vote against my House Reps who voted for this bill. Period. This is the first time in my life that I've become a single issue voter.

We don't know how bad the economy is going to get whether the bill passes or not. But we do know that Roubini, whose track record is superb, says this plan was a bailout for the fatcats and bad for taxpayers. That's good enough for me.

Posted by: Lyn on September 29, 2008 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

There's no doubt that Boehner, along with all the other Republicans, is a huge tool, and there's nothing that Pelosi said that isn't 100% true. The problem is the circumstances. Pelosi could not have made a more gigantic miscalculation with her speech, assuming she actually wanted to pass the bill.

First, if she has any competence as a party leader, she had to have known that she was far short of the votes necessary IN HER OWN FREAKING PARTY to pass the bill — which means she has to persuade as many Republicans as possible to vote for the thing, which is a bill with a variety of provisions that most Republicans are going to be uncomfortable with anyhow.

Now I think even such a maladroit politician as Pelosi understands that the Republicans she needs to persuade to vote for the bill have been lockstep, sycophantic supporters of Bush and his deregulatory policies for 8 years. Hmmmm, let me see.... how to persuade them to vote for what I want... I know, I'll tell them how much they and their President suck! That'll get their votes!

For chrissakes, why did she even need to give a speech at all? Just get on with the fucking vote FIRST and leave the triumphalist speechifying for when you've WON.

Now, there's absolutely no way to tell if the Rethugs who voted no would have done so anyway, speech or no speech. I suspect that they would have voted no regardless. But with her idiotic, unnecessarily blunt speech, she gave Boner and his fellow GOPers all the cover they needed. If she had been able, as leader of the House Dems, to persuade her own party to vote this thing through without any GOP support, then fine, deliver that speech.

Jesus, I thought that nobody could surpass Reid for legislative incompetence, but Pelosi has pulled up her game.


"It is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush Administration’s failed economic policies—policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system.

Democrats believe in the free market, which can and does create jobs, wealth, and capital, but left to its own devices it has created chaos."

Posted by: bluestatedon on September 29, 2008 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Pelosi's speech was not a high point. I don't think it was the Bush bashing that the Repubs didn't like -- it was the the comment she made about "Republicans - some Republicans" being responsible for "the chaos" to which they took offense. (It starts at about 2:20 mark into the speech.) This is not the same speech linked to in the post. See for yourself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ey3ZlsmIkz4

In my opinion, the speeches of Boehner and Blunt were much more like Frank's -- cautiously non-partisan and designed as "hold your nose" and vote yes statements.

What was the point of her attack at this critical moment?

Posted by: JayDenver on September 29, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans LOVE to throw tantrums when their feelings get hurt.

Remember Newt shutting down the government after he was made to ride in the back of a plane on the way back from Rabin's funeral?

The NY Daily News had a great cartoon:

http://www.answers.com/topic/nydailynews-newt-jpg-1

How is this any different?

Posted by: sm on September 29, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Republicans have shown us some of the negative side of this for the last eight years. In that context, Democrats more than delivered their end."

The Republicans haven't controlled congress for the last 4 years.

Democrats only needed 30 votes from their own side to pass this bill. Being in the majority means taking responsibility for what happens and finding a way to pass things which the country will need. Excuses may make you feel better but the facts are the Democrats destroyed this bill all on their own.

They couldn't get us out of Iraq and couldn't stop the Bush tax cuts. Why be in the majority if you can't do anything?

Posted by: on September 29, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Pelosi: "Over the past several days, we have worked with our Republican colleagues to fashion an alternative to the original plan of the Bush Administration."

Braindead Republicans: POISONOUS! PARTISAN!!

Posted by: Ohioan on September 29, 2008 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

SJRSM - Until you drop your partisan ways, America will suffer! I assume you are like me, a Republican. I've been with the party since 1979, and quite frankly, it is a party I no longer recognize.

If Obama gets grief for making speeches and not much more by my fellow brethen, then it is utter Bull Shit that Boehner et al. contend SOTH Pelosi is to blame for their selfishness, by giving a speech!

Your observation is balderdash, and it speaks to an inetllectual emptiness and a partisan vessel!

As for your rhetoric I've read today and the recent tendencies of our Republican party is is safe to say you and it put yourselves above the interests of the nation! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on September 29, 2008 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

I don't recall Obama or McCain voting for this incarnation of the bill and neither of them have said, as far as I know, they support it definitively.

Posted by: jonno on September 29, 2008 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Catfish, that was an excellent comment.

Posted by: Tim on September 29, 2008 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

jonno,

Sorry about that comment, that was me. I meant to address your comment not type your name in the 'Name:' field.

I apologize for the confusion! My bad!

Posted by: doubtful on September 29, 2008 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Pelosi didn't call them names. The only name she named was Bush, and they've all been too happy to step away from him for the past year.

These people are incomprehensible to me. Juveniles caught in an aggressive/oppositional behavioral pattern. Or, um, more plainly: asshats.

Posted by: cmac on September 29, 2008 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

McCain advisor Holtz-Eaken is saying Dems killed the bill so McCain wouldn't look like a hero. Hmmm.

Posted by: Danp on September 29, 2008 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

A solution would ideally have been bipartisan. However, this bill was not good (see Krugman's expression 'sufficiently not-awful'), so I'm relieved that it failed.

A fix is needed, but the solution will ultimately need more oversight, competitive bidding, better decisions on pricing of assets and debts rather than "trust me" from a Bush appointee, more accountability, re-establishment of regulations and oversight, and increased taxes on the wealthy and on capital gains to help pay for the bailout, and a transaction tax on stock sales. Anything else is privatizing the profits, socializing the losses, and rewarding the financial industry for its bad practices and unjustifiable risks. Also, it is unsatisfactory to solve this problem by a massive transfer of wealth from the middle and lower classes to the wealthy, nor to bankrupt the government and preclude social spending. The Bush tax cuts need to disappear. There are lessons to be learned from Japan and Sweden, and Wall Street is eventually still going to want to invest and make money. At the moment, Wall Street is probably scared enough to take some medicine and get back on a sound footing, so if the Democrats can now propose a good plan, ram it through unilaterally, and calm things down a bit, the Republicans will own the problem and the Democrats will own the solution. This assumes that there is a reasonable solution and that the Democrats can step up to the plate, neither of which is certain.

Posted by: N.Wells on September 29, 2008 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

That Pelosi, Frank, Reid, and Dodd even stepped up to the plate is a sign of maturity, wisdom, and leadership -- traits conspicuously lacking in pretty much every Republican visible today.

Screw you, Republicans. Quit your whining. Nobody believes you anymore.

Posted by: bleh on September 29, 2008 at 3:44 PM

The fact that they failed to get this thing passed a body where they have the majority is a trait that has been synonymous with Democrats since the self-evident failure of the Great Society.

Oh and bleh, we're not whinning, we're laughing at them.

Posted by: Chicounsel on September 29, 2008 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Just read Nancy's speech. First thought is, "that's it?" This made the Republicans mad? Those poor folks! What a mean woman! Would they walk out if Nancy took their pacifiers away? My God! I can only wonder what the temperature is in the cave they've live in for the last eight years.

Posted by: bedgars on September 29, 2008 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems said last week that any solution had to have bi-partisan support. What does that mean? It means that at least 50% of the House GOP has to back it. Once the Dems figured out they weren't getting bi-partisan support during the vote, some of them voted no, too.

The Dems are NOT going to clean up the GOP's mess without their support. And yeah, that may include a lecture or two by the adults in charge now. Boo hoo hoo.

Posted by: Marko on September 29, 2008 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Oh and bleh, we're not whinning, we're laughing at them. -Chicornsel

Boehner is mad about a sentence in a speech.

That's whining. Pure, manufactured, party-first.

And for fuck's sake. One n. Whining. You do it so often, at least spell it correctly.

Posted by: doubtful on September 29, 2008 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously, the part that ticked off the Republicans was Nancy saying,

"Today we must act for those Americans, for Main Street, and we must act now, with the bipartisan spirit of cooperation which allowed us to fashion this legislation."

Appalling ! ! !

Posted by: garyb50 on September 29, 2008 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Marko how is this a Republican mess? Republicans have been in the presidency but both houses have been controlled by Democrats for at least 4 years. Things aren't going to get fixed if you keep thinking it is always the Republican's fault.

Pelosi is involved in a brokered deal - tries to blame the other side in the middle of the deal and cannot even deliver her own party's votes to pass it.

Is this how adults act - through name calling, blame game, and revolts by her own party?

Posted by: Eric Blair on September 29, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Pelosi's comments were perfectly appropriate and hardly inflammatory. Under the circumstances I would almost call them mild. Did Republicans really think they could get out of this catastrophe blameless? If so they are even more delusional than I thought.

Let's be clear. The collapse of the financial markets happened on the Republican Party's watch. It is their problem, especially since the core of the problem was lax regulation, a Republican mantra for more than 30 years. Republicans were coming hat in hand to Democrats asking for their help in preventing economic collapse. In political terms, the Republican Party had to accept and admit defeat in order to do what was right for the country and gain Democratic political support for a solution. Pelosi was perfectly right to remind everyone who was doing what and why.

Republicans in the House wanted to have their cake and eat it too. They wanted Democrats to figure out a solution AND they wanted to blame Democrats for the problem. They wanted a solution that would satisfy the financial markets and they also wanted to blame "tax and spend" Democrats for the President's own "big government" solution.

In policy terms, this Wall Street "bailout" to save the economy goes against everything Democrats believe about protecting the little guy against Wall Street Fat Cats. So, Pelosi had to protect her members by calling Republicans on their dishonesty in trying to shift blame by using populist Democratic talking points to attack a Republican bill that was filed by their own president.

Bottom line is that Republicans were unwilling to take their medicine like men (and women), admit that the free market and Republican de-regulatory policies had failed, and do what was right for the country by asking Democrats for help. They put party -- and more important, conservative free market ideology -- ahead of the needs of country.

Posted by: Ted Frier on September 29, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats only needed 30 votes from their own side to pass this bill. Being in the majority means taking responsibility for what happens and finding a way to pass things which the country will need. Excuses may make you feel better but the facts are the Democrats destroyed this bill all on their own.

I don't know what excuses you are talking about and how I feel about the matter is entirely irrelevant. For the record, I think the bill could stand a lot of improvement and I am therefore somewhat glad it failed.

Now, phantom excuses aside, I said the Democrats delivered their end and they did. Passing a 700 Billion dollar bill without bipartisan support would been an extraordinarily stupid thing to do, not just politically, but in terms of the basic principles of governance. In other words, unless you have the mentality of a 10 year old, you understand that passing a bill just because you can is almost always an extremely bad idea. It is part of the reason our government is in such a shambles as it is. An economic bill that is intended to restore confidence in the markets achieves essentially nothing without broad support. Republicans needed to deliver half their caucus to give at least the appearance of some sort of consensus that it was important and necessary. They didn't and that is why the bill failed. Making excuses for them may make you feel better but it doesn't change the underlying reality. Without a critical mass of 80-100 Republicans, this bill was never going to happen. They knew it. They have known it for days and they still failed.

Posted by: brent on September 29, 2008 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Excuse me Mr. Blair - you're a bit off! It has been a mere two years, and even then, Joey Lieberman made the Senate a toss up over these past two years. Get your power facts straight. For the first 6 years of his presidency, Mr. Bush has had a rubber stamp Congress. Mr. Blair, you'd better know your recent history a bit more or the Ministry of Truth may come and get you! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on September 29, 2008 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK


Eric Blair

Wow, I see you've wikied Orwell and found out that he wrote under a nom de plume (that's French for "pseudonym", neat huh?). You sure are a smart one! Learn anything new in Civics class today? Please do share with us.

Hey, since you like the 20th Century distopian literature so much - you should like totally read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley...It's about a future with no God, only Ford! (Trippy eh?)

now run along little fella...the grown-ups are talking.

(sheesh, he really bugs me...)

Posted by: neilt on September 29, 2008 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Math problem for Eric Blair:

2008-2007=

Or, hell, we'll even give you a bonus for the months:

September 29th 2008 - January 21st 2007=

Four?

Posted by: * on September 29, 2008 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry I guess I was thinking that the Dems have been in control of congress since 2004. It has only been 2 years? Wow it seems like a life time.

Of course that removes all blame from them. They haven't been in control long enough to cause all of this.

They should probably step out of leadership and let the Republicans clean this up themselves.

Posted by: Eric Blair on September 29, 2008 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Eric: I think Ted Frier answered all your questions (right after your post). Plus, I would add: I wonder what Newt Gingrich would have had to say to the Democrats in a similar situation? I'm sure it would not have been as pleasant as Ms. Pelosi's.

Posted by: Marko on September 29, 2008 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Dems need to pass a bill that funds itself by taxing the wealthy. Period, end of discussion.
1. Treat capital gains as income.
2. New top tax bracket over 500K paying 50%.
3. 60% inheritance tax.
Methinks the ultra-wealthy have a much higher stake in the bailout -- so let them pay for it. Whose bacon are we saving?

Posted by: Govt Skeptic on September 29, 2008 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Eric Blair" wrote: Marko how is this a Republican mess?

As you know, it's because one of the preconditions for the bill's passage was Republican support. Either the Republicans double-crossed Pelosi in order to be able to run against the bill, or they simply were too incompetent to control their own caucus. In either case, the Republicans knew in advance that the Democrats weren't going to provide the necessary margin to pass the bill. Whether a bad gamble or bad faith, the fault is with the Republicans.

Posted by: Gregory on September 29, 2008 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

I'm amazed that the GOP would blame the failure on Pelosi's speech. Aren't the Repubs scrambling to differentiate themselves from Bush anyway? So why would they suddenly take offense at a relatively mild anti-Bush speech?

Posted by: steve on September 29, 2008 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike wrote: I lean conservative. I reserve independence of thought.

Yeah, can't you tell Mike's talking points are, like, totally different from Chicounsel's and Eric Blair's? Oh, wait....

Thanks for the laugh, Mike. It's almost as funny as the desperation of the Republican trolls in trying to spin this one. Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on September 29, 2008 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Blair, as a Republican of 30 years, I can assure you the Republicans under Mr Bush are sniveling anti-intellectual powermongers who don't care too much about country unless there is a financial gain for them to make - simply see J. Abramoff.

Also, any student of our bodypolitik knows the executive leads and sets the agenda while the legislature more diliberately works to make and pass laws that would hopefully make sense for the American public. This piece, though not the best, made sense - even this president whom I don't respect much saw the wisdom of taking this action.

What's your beef, then, besides bashing the Democrats. I, as a Republican of 30 years, see the folly in that, and that's merely one reason I will be supporting Barack Obama for president.

I want a future for my children, not the same old shit this administration and the new Republicans have been all too happy to give us. -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on September 29, 2008 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

It is telling of republican philosophy that their main argument is "Dems hold the majority, they should have been able to pass the bill".

There is no way in hell any bill that costs 700 billion should be passed with a 50+1 mindset - that's the mindset republicans used for the 6 years of Bush's presidency when they were in power, and it got us Torture, FISA, the patriot act, Iraq, Terry Schiavo, Stem Cell restrictions, illegal Justice Department firings, outed CIA agents, and this mess. If a 700 billion dollar bill doesn't have bipartisan support, then it shouldn't be passed.

All that said, thank god the bill didn't pass.

Posted by: An Anonymous American Patriot on September 29, 2008 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP revolt isn't based on any principle other than electoral advantage: it's a high profile issue to separate themselves from Bush. That's the issue. 100%. Something to take back to the home district to claim that they're different from Bush.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 29, 2008 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

You know after all the stuff I've heard Republicans say on the House floor since the day Bill Clinton unzipped his pants in the Oval Office, it's really unbelievable to think that there is something hurtfully crippling in this speech. Must have been the way she said it, right?

Posted by: Capt Kirk on September 29, 2008 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

This clown writes, "Make no mistake -- this is a failure of the Republican Party of historic proportions. When push came to shove, the Democratic leadership delivered the votes on the rescue plan, while Republicans voted, 2-to-1, against it."

Do you breathe air in the world you live in? The bill failed because Pelosi and the vaunted, deliberate, responsible dems could NOT deliver their votes: they're the MAJORITY party, for cryin' out loud, and if they could have gotten only 25% of the 95 Dem votes who bucked their leadership, the legislation would have passed. They really do think we're idiots.

Posted by: Tom on September 29, 2008 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK
Do you breathe air in the world you live in? The bill failed because Pelosi and the vaunted, deliberate, responsible dems could NOT deliver their votes:

Yeah, 60-65% isn't good enough.

Republicans did much better, delivering less than 40%.


Posted by: roger Tang on September 29, 2008 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

"Make no mistake -- this is a failure of the Republican Party of historic proportions."

I disagree. It's the other way around. Backing this misconceived corporate giveaway was a huge mistake for the Democrats, and will come back to haunt them in a big way. Especially Pelosi. Hopefully all those who supported it will be soundly defeated in November. None of them deserve to be in Congress.

Posted by: mike on September 29, 2008 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

If President Bush had given a speech, right before the House voted, laying the current crisis at the feet of the Democrats and their support for Fannie and Freddie's financing of no money down and Alt.A (liar) mortgages, well, he would have been telling the truth, but the Democrats would have walked out of the House and told him to pass his own legislation.

What Speaker Pelosi did was exactly the same, except she got her facts all wrong.

Posted by: DBL on September 29, 2008 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

It was pretty well established last Thursday that the Republicans in the House didn't want this bill. Many right wing radio personalities and bloggers didn't want the bill. And, in fact, most Americans don't want this bill on both sides of the political spectrum. So the GOP voted against it as predicted and they...blame Pelosi. What? Talk about playing politics. Let me know when some adults join the GOP.

Posted by: ModDem on September 29, 2008 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

Well, this best belongs here, too, adapted from my WSJ forum comments:

Whew ... Excuse me, are we really supposed to believe that some Congressfolks voted "No" on a bill they really believed in (since it is said, they changed their minds) just because some not particularly scary lady hurt their feelings?! The economic health and fate of the whole nation hung in the balance! Even though I think Pelosi should have presented a different speech, this excuse and sissy whining by Republicans is beneath pathetic. Begala, saying the same thing in essence, totally owned these children on CNN earlier this afternoon.

Posted by: Neil B on September 29, 2008 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree. It's the other way around. Backing this misconceived corporate giveaway was a huge mistake for the Democrats, and will come back to haunt them in a big way. Especially Pelosi. Hopefully all those who supported it will be soundly defeated in November. None of them deserve to be in Congress.

Bwaahahahahahaha!

You really don't see how this is going to go down now, do you?

First we'll have a couple of days of bad economic news. I imagine the markets will be pretty volatile since no one has a freaking clue what's going to happen next, and if there's one thing that the markets hate it's not knowing what's going to happen next. But more than the markets, the credit markets are going to continue to slow down and put the crunch on everyone.

Once that happens, the House will resubmit the bill. In my heart of hearts what I hope they do is instead of resubmitting the bill they work with those 90 Dems who voted no to make the bill more palatable to them. What's it gonna take? Probably more protections for people losing their homes, more assurances of equity stakes, perhaps even scrapping the "Paulson plan" elements altogether and reverting to a more "New Deal" plan or the Swedish-style plan that a lot of economists have been talking about. That's what they should have done in the first place, but they were trying to work with the Republicans. Now there's no need.

Whatever - they'll put the bill up when things have gotten worse and either enough changes will have been made to get more Dems onboard, or the Republicans will beg to pass it. Because they're going to be getting calls as things get worse.

And who are they going to blame when things get worse? Obstructionist Republicans, of course. Because Boehner made the Boehn-headed move of blaming the GOP defection on something mean that Nancy Pelosi said. He will be crucified on those words if things go bad.

And the bonus out of all of this - if things DON'T go bad then this whole ordeal will be BEN BERNANKE'S fault. He's the one who's supposed to be the expert, and it will have been his Chicken Littling that brought us to this point. If it turns out that the market really does work itself out before the election, then he's the idiot and he needs to be forced to resign from the Fed - preferably the day after Obama takes the oath of office.

Regardless, the Democrats are going to be able to say "hey we tried". That's more than the Republicans can say. And the most delicious part of all of this is the seething anger I'm reading from folks working on Wall Street towards the Republican Party's juvenile antics right now. Do you really think that the social conservative mouthbreathers have been funding this little "conservative movement" for the last 30 years? The guys with the checks have just seen what all of their money has bought, and I think they're going to be sitting out a few election cycles in the near future. Hilarious.

Posted by: NonyNony on September 29, 2008 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, Republicans acting like Democrats. Never thought this day would come, but if it puts a nail in their coffin, it's a great day indeed.

Posted by: steveb on September 30, 2008 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

Did Republicans really claim they couldn't vote for the bailout because they were deeply offended that Pelosi unfairly blamed President Bush for the economic crisis? The same President Bush whom they have spent the last year pretending they don't know? The same President Bush who spent most of the morning calling them to drum up support for the bill they voted against? Something about that excuse doesn't pass the smell test.

Posted by: Shalimar on September 30, 2008 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

It was very small of Pelosi to inject partisanship at such a critical time. Sometimes it is very best, even if you think it, to keep your fucking mouth shut. There is no good defense of it even if it did not turn anyone to vote against the bill. We need a lot of new members and new leaders in Congress.

Posted by: lou on September 30, 2008 at 7:39 AM | PERMALINK

It must not have been a critical time, phone calls and emails to Congress were supposedly running 200 to 1 against the bill. The American people have spoken. If Republicans had the balls to say that, then we wouldn't accuse them of being cry-babies. Since when have Republicans ever had a problem with politicizing issues before?

Posted by: Shalimar on September 30, 2008 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

Was it really going to pass before Nancy Pelosi gave her speech?

In this whole blame game that has ensued since yesterday’s historic vote and resulting market tumble, I have not heard (read) anyone suggest that perhaps the bill was never going to pass in the first place.

Bear with me and let me offer this theory on what happened

As of yesterday morning many, if not all, of the leaders of Congress, the President and both candidates were confident that the bill would pass. However, none expressed confidence that it would pass overwhelmingly. Nevertheless, the tenor preceding that vote was that it would pass in the House and move on to the Senate.

The outcome, as we all know, was a slim margin of loss. Twelve votes separated pass from fail. The Republican minority blamed Pelosi for turning their necessary votes away with her comments. However, Speaker Pelosi’s “overly partisan” comments were not towards the Republican Party but the Bush Administration. Furthermore, they were hardly incendiary. Perhaps her comments were partisan in her lopsided praise for the Democrats’ efforts, but they were not scathing toward the Republican party of the minority representatives.

So, just suppose that the Republicans never had the votes in the first place. They were prepared to vote it down, to not deliver their begrudging “half” of support. When Speaker Pelosi gave her comments on the floor of the House, Republicans saw the slightest opening in the door and bum rushed the exit knowing they could turn around and use the Speakers comments as the reason.

House Republicans found it easier to blame someone as an enabler that to simply be honest about their underlying and, ultimately overriding, objections to the bill and the message it was sending. It wasn’t that their feeling were hurt, it really was that they weren’t getting what they wanted.

Posted by: Josh on September 30, 2008 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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