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September 8, 2010

NRCC FORGETS WHICH PARTY REQUESTED, APPROVED OF WALL STREET BAILOUT.... Sigh.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is out with its first independent expenditure ad of the season, taking aim at Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN). The ad, according to Politico, paints Donnelly as "a pawn of Democratic leaders" and is just the first effort in the committee's plan to "invest $22 million in 41 districts across the nation." What's interesting about the ad is that it goes after Donnelly for voting for legislation that many Republicans also supported.

The ad says Donnelly voted with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) 88 percent of the time, including on the "Obama-Pelosi health care plan," Wall Street bailout, and the "$800 billion stimulus that failed."

I realize the Wall Street bailout is unpopular, but including it in ads like these really is foolish.

The NRCC is filled with slow learners, so let's set the record straight again. The financial industry bailout was passed in October 2008. It was requested by a conservative Republican administration (George W. Bush and Dick Cheney). It was enthusiastically endorsed by the House Republican leadership (John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Roy Blunt), the Senate Republican leadership (Mitch McConnell and Jon Kyl), both members of the Republican presidential ticket (John McCain and Sarah Palin), and assorted, high-profile conservative voices (Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck).

Indeed, after the Republicans' would-be Speaker got choked up pleading with his colleagues to support the bailout, it was endorsed by none other than Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who happens to be the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Yes, that's right, the NRCC is attacking a Democrat for voting the same way as the chairman of the NRCC.

Imagine if the DSCC ran an attack ad against Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) for supporting the stimulus, because polls showed the stimulus to be unpopular, even though the DSCC leadership voted for the stimulus. It'd be laughable, right? This is the exact same thing.

Steve Benen 12:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (33)

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"The NRCC is filled with slow learners..."

Um.... wasn't Senator Bennett the Republican point man for the bailout in the Senate? Didn't he lose?

Wasn't it Spencer Bacchus in the House -- and didn't he get his legs cut from under him by the Republican Caucus?

I don't they're the ones who are slow learners, Steve.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 8, 2010 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

The NRCC is filled with slow learners, so let's set the record straight again.

Steve, you do this all the damn time. The NRCC is not being dumb, ignorant, clueless, or "slow". They are being deliberately dishonest in a concerted, time-honored effort to mislead, misinform, and lie to the voting public for political gain. They don't deserve your benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: ckelly on September 8, 2010 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Pardon me, but the NRCC ain't the only slow learners. Steve, you need to learn that Marquis of Queensbury Rules do not apply to politics.

Posted by: DAY on September 8, 2010 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

"They are being deliberately dishonest..."

That's fair, but not entirely accurate. More precisely, as always, it misses the point.

It's TRUE that a Republican President and a Republican Secretary of the Treasury and the Republican leadership in Congress all asked the Democratic majority to bail out Wall Street, and had decisive influence in how the bailout was structured.

But it's ALSO true that it was Republicans, not Democrats, who caught on fast that bailing out Wall Street was very unpopular, not matter how necessary. That's why Bennett and Bacchus, just to name 2, were undercut by their Republican colleagues.

And frankly, it was a gift that McCain didn't reject the bailout during his campaign. He might have won.

So, like I said: for Steve B to imagine that for the Rs to go after a Democrat, particularly a Blue Dog, cuz he voted for it isn't a sign the Rs are the slow learners.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 8, 2010 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Sen Ron Wyden (D), up for re-election in Oregon, is running ads stating he opposed the bailout. It's still an unpopular bill. Obama and all Dems need to mention every chance they get that it was signed by GW, and that the Rs were in favor.

ckelly: this is Steve's standard way of slamming Rs. There needs to be some levity where political malpractice is concerned, or we would all be out of our minds or enraged enough to use our "second amendment remedies" (after we borrow our R neighbor's gun). That was a joke, btw. Just let it be.

Posted by: Hannah on September 8, 2010 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

I am confused about this whole "the bailout is unpopular" business.

I don't like the bailout but understand that if the banks and other businesses weren't bailed out that the financial system would have been much worse off.

So is the unpopularity real or something ginned up by Fox and the rest of the wingnuts?

And for the GOP, which is in bed with those that were bailed out, to use the bailout as a cudgel against the Dems seems to be cutting off their nose to spite their face. Couldn't this backfire on them?

If people dislike the bailout they should be in favor of putting more regulation on businesses to prevent this kind of failure again. But the GOP is against such regulation. Seems that the GOP is working against their own interests.

Or am I just thinking too logically?

Posted by: nerd on September 8, 2010 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

The NRCC is filled with slow learners

Uh no, Steve.

I think, deep down, you meant to write that the DCC and White House and other "bipartisan" fetish pols are the real slow learners since they never hit back when Republicans spread falsehoods.

And judging by the first few responses, it seems like the readers of this blog are also finally catching on to this silly game of you calling Republicans "stupid".

Posted by: Observer on September 8, 2010 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

What! he supported the "$800 billion stimulus that failed"?

What a pity I'm not in his district, so I could send him an email pointing him at the proportionately three times larger Chinese stimulus that succeeded to the point of getting written up in the Wall Street Journal.

Oh wait, no, I wouldn't waste my time. If talking that up would do any good the Democrats would be doing it already -- if they wanted to win, which they don't.

Posted by: Forrest on September 8, 2010 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

"So is the unpopularity real or something ginned up by Fox and the rest of the wingnuts?"

Only congressmen and other members of the banker class approved of the bank bailout; it was repudiated by leftists and core conservatives alike. The difference between them is that the left wanted to seize the banks and send all the executives to jail while the right simply wanted to allow the economy to collapse naturally.

Posted by: Forrest on September 8, 2010 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

The NRCC is filled with slow learners

They're not "slow learners," Steve.

They're goddamned fucking liars.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on September 8, 2010 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

theamericanass-didn't you mean that republicans were the first to flipflop on the wall street bailout?

Posted by: Gandalf on September 8, 2010 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

If you won't win on your own record, blame the other guy for it.

Great thing that those voting against the bailout all supported Wall Street rerform so we'd never have to do that again..oh wait...

Posted by: golack on September 8, 2010 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

-Or am I just thinking too logically?-

Gensler or Summers might be able to help...

Posted by: Lloyd on September 8, 2010 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- Gandalf, you really needn't try so hard to appear stoopid. Every time you post, we get the message: you have a gift.... did you keep the receipt?

Look, I'm just observing that it isn't the Rs who are slow learners, when they recognize faster than Ds that the public is unhappy about a particular vote.

The general watchword for a tough vote is that it is one that you have to EXPLAIN. If you're explaining a vote, you're losing.

Steve B never, ever understands this -- even though it's Politics 101. He just wants to explain LOUDER: see, look at how dumb the Rs are, for attacking Ds where they are vulnerable....

Insisting, however accurately, that it was W's policies that caused Wall Street to damn near destroy the global flow of credit, that the Republican President asked for it, that Republican Secretary of the Treasury crafted it, that Democrats supported it because it was the right thing to do, with the support of much -- but by no means all -- of the Republicans in Congress: all of that is EXPLAINING a vote.

Rs are in a much better place on the issue, because some of 'em (notably Shelby) were against the bailout, and also because a significant # of 'em publicly bitched about it at the time: it passed with DEMOCRATIC votes.

And, as noted above, if McCain had seen the way the wind was blowing and had come out against it, he might be President.

Ya see, Gandalf (but you probably won't): your idea is to explain LOUDER.

It's still a vote you have to explain, and that's a losing proposition. So it's not the Rs who are slow learners here.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 8, 2010 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I think we need a new acronym: INTSTWRDI ("It's never the same thing when Republicans do it")

Posted by: retr2327 on September 8, 2010 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

It's still a vote you have to explain, and that's a losing proposition. So it's not the Rs who are slow learners here.

Okay, you grant the the bank bailout was necessary, no matter how unpopular. If explaining doesn't help, what's your prescription?

Posted by: AK Liberal on September 8, 2010 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

"If you're explaining a vote, you're losing."

Until such time as the public understands what's going on, everyone loses. Explanations are the only option. It that means sacrificing short term gain for long term growth that's the price that must be paid.

Explanations on sites like this one, of course, are never seen by the public.

Posted by: Forrest on September 8, 2010 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Ya know americanass it's no fun debating you. Not because your smart or even slightly cunning but it's the same as a grown man picking a fight with a third grader. Your level of pomposity is laughable. Your petty little derisions show a very small and mean spirit. Your seemingly endless proclivity for expressing your opinions as if they were pronouncements by the gods at Olympus indicates a delusional personality. If I missed anything about this incredible jack-ass please somebody chirp in.

Posted by: Gandalf on September 8, 2010 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

@Gandalf, that's weak tea. If theAmericanist is wrong then you can destroy his argument with better facts or better reasoning. He's arguing that you and others have weak arguments or lack knowledge of the facts. Just because he doesn't play nice doesn't mean he's wrong.

TheAmericanist has identified what he thinks is a problem in progressive tactics. I don't find the argument unpersuasive. However, I still want to know what he thinks is a better approach given that the bank bailout was 1)necessary and 2) inevitably unpopular.

Posted by: AK Liberal on September 8, 2010 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- lord help us, somebody actually gets it around here.

1) I'm not convinced the bank bailout (or was it the Wall Street bailout?) WAS necessary, to be blunt. If AIG had gone under, and brought down a house of cards -- so what? Somebody pointed out that the Obama administration is facing a problem not unlike what might have happened if FDR had been elected in 1930, instead of 1932: the Depression bottomed out in 1933, during FDR's first year in office, so he had the chance to do emergency surgery when it was most needed, and start bringing it all back by the time his first mid-terms rolled around in 1934 -- in which Ds gained substantially, extremely rare for mid-terms. But Obama was elected in 2008, when the Bush Crash had only started -- it may not have bottomed out yet.

2) I'm positive it didn't have to be done, in the way it was done.

3) Nor am I convinced a different approach would necessarily have proven unpopular.

There's a long and ultimately pointless exercise to be had in explaining what could have been done, but wasn't: suffice to note that I said much of it at the time.

What counts here is that upthread I noted that it was Rs, not Ds, who first caught on that what went down was hard to explain.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 8, 2010 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

@AK Liberal:

The bank bailout wasn't necessary.

The proper line was too say something along the lines of "this is capitalism, the strong survive, and the government doesn't bailout losers".

Then the correct policy was to do what was done in the 1980 S&L crisis. That is, receivership ("Prompt Corrective Action" aka PCA) and apply the Milliken penalty (lifetime ban) to all execs involved.

The correct line was to say "we've had crisis before in the 1980s with the S&L crisis. We averted disaster by putting insolvent banks into receivership and making sure that the banks can continue to make loans. We will do this again and survice. Any firm that doesn't want to be placed into receivership via the PCA should raise money in the free market to meet their solvency requirements. If their fellow capitalists do not act, then we will to protect the integrity of the system."

Posted by: Observer on September 8, 2010 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

AK Liberal: Just because he doesn't play nice doesn't mean he's wrong.

True. But what about the inverse? Even if he is right, do his uniquely condescending comments make his arguments more convincing? Or interesting?

Posted by: chrenson on September 8, 2010 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- chrenson, you're a hothouse flower in a cold and windy world.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 8, 2010 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure Observer is quite right, either -- and the line I argued is a bit stark: the total collapse of the global economy immediately after 8 years of Bush WOULD have been a major political opportunity for the good guys, but still: it has the defect of its virtue. (One thing that Obama, et al, should have taken to heart, though, is the way FDR stiff-armed Hoover from November 1932 through March 1933, refusing to have ANYTHING to do with his predecessor's failures.)

But all that is soooo spring of 2009.

What Joe Donnelly and others should do, IMNSHO, is to frame all of these issues OUR way -- which is precisely what Steve B's framing "you voted for it too!!!!" is not.

So, FWIW, three simple themes:

1) We're the mop. They're the mess.

2) People should get rich if they actually make useful stuff. (Folks who challenge this should be asked to explain what derivatives are in 25 words or less, and to show the math that explains how $100 billion in lost home values caused a $50 trillion credit collapse.) And rich people should pay their fair share for the American military which protects them while they do it.

3) Republicans who think Wall Street whiz kids can run the economy without adult supervision must think Red Bull and cotton candy are babysitting tools.

LOL -- simple enough even for chrenson, I should think.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 8, 2010 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

True. But what about the inverse? Even if he is right, do his uniquely condescending comments make his arguments more convincing? Or interesting?

Not for me, but neither is it reason to ignore the messenger as many do. Worse than that, they prove his point by failing to offer convincing counter arguments.

As for whether of not the bailout was necessary, I am not qualified to offer an opinion beyond that I thought it stunk, but I certainly had no desire to live through my father's Depression Era experience.

The government had to act and as a result we have avoided the worst of the 1930's experience, so far. It seems that folks far more economicaly literate than me are still arguing over what would have been the right course of action.

So here we are today and I appreciate theAmericanist sharing his ideas about how Democrats should talk about the issue. Not that there's anything too radical in there. It should be pretty easy to talk about if we can get the microphone away from those that want to talk about mosques and the Fourteenth Amendment.

Posted by: AK Liberal on September 8, 2010 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Worse than that, they prove his point by failing to offer convincing counter arguments."

That isn't quite why I do it. I mean, theAmericanist is obnoxious cuz it's fun and relatively harmless, but also because it is a way to test arguments. Folks who AGREE with everything you say don't teach ya much, so I learn more by being disagreeable.

What I find about progressive political culture (which isn't the same as conservative political culture), is that we are waaaay too eager to make heretics rather than converts. Hell, we don't even ACCEPT converts -- what do you think the Blue Dogs are, if not converted Congressional districts?

Conservatives do it, too -- the Tea Party and the Club for Growth, of course. But I've found that there's something much more schoolfish-like about the Right, they turn on a dime when it is politically useful, which makes it very easy for them to exploit a wave election like we're looking at now.

We had TWO wave elections in our favor in a row, yet in the last two years we have fallen farther, faster, than any political movement in American history. So methinks theAmericanist just might have said a thing or two worth paying attention to.

But theAmericanist isn't so much about convincing you guys, as about seeing if you guys can persuade ME. Folks who dis me, personally (as if they have a clue), or impersonate me (LOL -- you know who you are: and what's more, so do I), because they have nothing else to say... well, that's a sign of something that ain't healthy in progressive politics.

On the bailout, specifically: I think a progressive historian in a generation or so might look back and see what a missed opportunity it was. I mean -- there was The Shock (that must have been one helluva meeting, when Paulson laid it out for Pelosi and Reid, at al). And then there was the "we gotta do it" period.

But it was Republican conservatives, not Democratic liberals, who demanded their pound of flesh -- and got it; not just with TARP, but also HAMP, and the stimulus, and so on.

And now Rs are quite predictably using those votes against Ds. So I'm saying that Steve B is flat-out wrong in his framing, that the smart thing is to sputter "b-b-but Rs voted that way, too!"

None of THOSE Rs are running against Blue Dog incumbents.

A cascading series of missed opportunities. Which is why I keep pointing out that there's only one place to focus blame for how far we've fallen, so fast:

On us.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 8, 2010 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Wait a minute Steven. Are you telling me that TARP did not happen under Obama and that it is bona fide Republican policy?? Seriously? I have Fox News on in the background and it's telling me the $1.4 trillion deficit is because of the Democrats and Obama. Something's not jiving here.

Please correct your post to better reflect reality. Thank you in advance.

Posted by: Chris- The Fold on September 8, 2010 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter theAmericanist:
Republicans are lying in their campaign ads and Democrats have failed because we didn't lie first.
Some political discourse ya got there...

Posted by: Doug on September 8, 2010 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK
[the bailout] was enthusiastically endorsed by the House Republican leadership (John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Roy Blunt), the Senate Republican leadership (Mitch McConnell and Jon Kyl), both members of the Republican presidential ticket (John McCain and Sarah Palin), and assorted, high-profile conservative voices (Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck). Indeed, after the Republicans' would-be Speaker got choked up pleading with his colleagues to support the bailout, it was endorsed by none other than Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who happens to be the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Now now lets not get carried away here, house republicans did vote against it before the voted for it. (Boehner blamed the failure to pass the bailout on Pelosi)

I remember, it was one of those rare occasions I tuned in to CNBC. I watched the votes being counted on c-span in one screen while the DOW took the biggest plunge in one day in the other. $1.2 Trillion in share prices evaporated in the moments after that vote.

They held this vote after announcing a deal had been reached. These are the people campaigning on the evils of economic uncertainty and the superiority of the Republican handling of economic matters....

I tried looking for this on youtube, found this instead.

Posted by: wasd on September 9, 2010 at 6:32 AM | PERMALINK

Doug, get a grip.

It's not a lie when a Republican challenger -- who did not vote on the bailout -- attacks a Democratic incumbent for his vote FOR it. (Nor would it be a lie the other way around. Steve B's weird idea that it would be ludicrous if a Democratic challenger attacked a Republican incumbent because she voted for the stimulus, f'r instance, manages to miss the point on TWO levels: first, the challenger wouldn't have voted for it, so why wouldn't it be legit to attack the incumbent on her record? Second, the stimulus was a signature issue for Democrats, entirely consistent with our historic record. It'd be a tough sell to argue that the bank bailout was a signature issue for REPUBLICANS, entirely consistent with their historic record -- and the only way to do that, would be if Democrats had voted AGAINST it.)

So it's not illegitimate for the Republican Congressional campaign committee to help a Republican challenger make his case against an incumbent's voting record.

You want Republicans to create an illusion that their party was unified on the bailout, because you hallucinate that this would somehow help Democrats.

You're delusional.

I'm just observing what IS -- the bailout is an unpopular vote. It does not help Democrats to EXPLAIN the vote, to say "b-b-but Republicans voted for it, TOO!"

As noted, that isn't quite true: a series of prominent Republicans opposed it, e.g., Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, while the Republican Caucus in the House insisted on changes.

That puts Republicans in a stronger position on it than Democrats. As I've noted on other bills, it NEVER hurts to vote against something that passes.

None of this is particularly sophisticated political knowledge. Some of you guys might want to think a little how little you know about the stuff of your opinions, instead of insisting that your opinions are solid and it's reality that is amorphous.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 9, 2010 at 7:17 AM | PERMALINK

The NRCC isn't alone in misattributing TARP to Obama. Sharron Angle's senate campaign against Harry Reid also put out a mailing listing the bank bailout as an Obama-Reid program.

As for framing, I can understand running against the TARP vote; candidates on both sides are doing so. Democrats who voted for TARP could argue that, as usual, Republicans fail to offer any viable alternative. Yes, TARP was an unpopular vote. We all hate seeing the resumption of huge bonuses to those who nearly destroyed the economy. But it was a tough choice that had to be made, and it took courage. The Republican response today would be to let everything collapse. Again, they offer no viable solutions on the debt, on jobs, on, well, just about anything. Instead, they pretend you can have something for nothing (permanent tax cuts AND deficit reduction!). And it's precisely that approach that got us here in the first place.

Of course, the fact that TARP was a bipartisan effort makes it a little hard to turn into a partisan issue--if one is being honest, at least.

Posted by: dsimon on September 9, 2010 at 7:48 AM | PERMALINK

Doug: Shorter theAmericanist:

If only...

Posted by: chrenson on September 9, 2010 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

Remember that insight, chrenson, "if only..." after November 2.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 9, 2010 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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