Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Did Democrats blow the bailout on purpose?

Nancy Pelosi got only 60% of House Democrats to support the plan, and then used her final speech before the vote to lash out at Republicans.

It was as if the whole point of Monday's vote was to embarrass John McCain. The GOP nominee having identified himself so strongly with the bailout, a defeat for the bailout was a defeat for McCain, and the Democrats saw a chance to make him look like an idiot.

UPDATE: The Prowler confirms my hunch:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered her Majority Whip, Jim Clyburn, to essentially not do his job in the runup to the vote on Monday for the negotiated Wall Street bailout plan, according to House Democrat leadership aides.
"Clyburn was not whipping the votes you would have expected him to, in part because he was uncomfortable doing it, in part because we didn't want the push for votes to be successful," says one leadership aide. . . .
During the floor vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Democrat Conference chair Rahm Emanuel could be seen monitoring the vote on the floor, and gauging whether or not more Democrat votes were needed. . . .
Emanuel, who served as a board member for Freddie Mac, one of the agencies that precipitated the economic crisis the nation now finds itself in, had no misgivings about taking a leadership role in tanking the bill. "He was cheerleading us along, mothering the votes," says the aide. "We wanted enough to put the pressure on the Republicans and Congressman Emanuel was charged with making it close enough. He did a great job."
And Megan McArdle has a similar read:
Pelosi cut a deal in which, as far as I can tell, every single Republican in a safe seat had to vote yes so that the Democrats could maximize their no votes. Given that the Republican caucus is pretty much in open revolt, this was beyond moronic. She then spent a week openly and repeatedly blaming the Republicans and the Bush administration for the current crisis. The way she set things up, it was "Heads I win, tails you lose": vote for the deal and I'll paint you as heartless reactionaries bailing out your fat cat friends. If you're going to do that, you'd better make sure you have some goddamn margin for error in your own party. She didn't. Then she got up and delivered yet another speech blaming the Republicans for the bailout deal she was about to pass.
Megan actually favored the bailout, FWIW. Opposing the bailout, of course, was Michelle Malkin, who today observes:
Bailout fails. World goes on.
Hoovervilles and apple carts, it ain't.

UPDATE II: Grapevine-worthy!


  1. Did they blow it on purpose? Probably not, did they run this thing to the absolute edge of political possibility, oh, hell yes.

    There is no downside to their actions, not politically and that's all that matters to Pelosi and Reid. No matter how this played out they could blame Republicans and come back to blame them again.

    If They really wanted this to pass, Pelosi could have found the vote differential in the California Democratic caucus alone.

  2. Well, yeah. I agree that presidential politics had a negative impact on the process. Pelosi's speech was deplorable, even if not surprising given McCain's grandstanding. I mean, he did have the option to work quietly behind the scenes and she had the option to let McCain take credit for getting the bill passed.

  3. Why in the name of all that is sane should Senator McCain attempt to be useful in the freaking shadows? So that San Fran Nan can grandstand and bloviate and generally make an ass of herself again?

    Doggone straight they blew this vote deliberately. What they didn't anticipate is the drubbing they are getting EVERYWHERE this morning for it. As usual, the Madame Speaker comported herself in an amateurish manner and made her machinations all too obvious.

    My feelings - throw the bums out - all of them. Considering the Congress' 9% approval rating - we have nowhere to go but up!

  4. great article. clearly, we'll have to see what happens in the future before we can know what happened in the past.

    If the economy goes into the tank, then the democrats killed the bailout for partisan purposes. Just like they abandon our troops, sympathize with terrorists and try to impose Marxist socialism on the USA.

    If the economy does ok, then the stalwart conservative wing of the Republican party saved the country from the machinations of the democrats and the democrat-supported Bush disasters.

  5. "If the economy does ok, then the stalwart conservative wing of the Republican party saved the country from the machinations of the democrats and the democrat-supported Bush disasters."

    Alas, the truth about this bailout mess: Headline:
    Republicans trying to distance themselves from Bush!
    I never thought I'd see it but here we are.After 8 years of slavishly sucking up to the decider, the political winds dictate that the party brand and the Bush brand stink, therefore it is imperative for Cons to oppose the President in hopes of scoring some political points.
    This is the soup and nuts of this circus act. Another attempt by the GOP at a Jedi mind trick aimed at fooling the people into thinking that Republicans are the real "change" party.
    Pathetic? Yes.Comical? You bet.Likely to work? I think not....

  6. Wow.
    Speculation is that this mess is a result
    of Newt's attempt to position himself for a run for president in four years, which is to say that it's politics as usual.
    What kills me is this Republican transformation towards Populism, which I thought was antithetical to "Conservative principles". Obvious pandering to the Palin constituency. But I feel you can count on Repubes to say anything to get elected only to legislate like they always do.

  7. The congressional black caucus voted against the bailout because it didn't fund ACORN and tried to reign in giving loans to deadbeat blacks who can't pay them back.

    If your black the tax payer owes you a house.

  8. Vindication!
    Rush L. callers throwing Bush under the bus!
    Rush distances himself from Bush!
    The cycle is complete,,,,

  9. Ya think?
    I think ol' scrappleface completely nailed this one:
    (other) McCain: Allow Treasury to Buy Worthless House Seats