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.And Megan McArdle has a similar read:
"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."
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!