Who’s Going to Bailout the Bailout?

Economy, US Economy

Yesterday the $700 billion bailout failed to get through the House, today will be finger pointing day.  The Republicans say Pelosi hurt their feelings.  The Democrats say the Republicans put party politics ahead of the country.  Senator McCain pointed at Senator Obama and his “allies” but said now is not the time to point fingers.  Obama said “I’m confident we’re going to get there, but it’s going to be rocky.”   It looks to me like there is enough blame to go around.

The reality is that neither party delivered.  The Democrats, the majority party, the one with all the negotiating clout, only delivered 60% of their members.  The Republicans delivered a third, more than enough to claim a “bi-partisan” victory.  If there is one thing the Democrats should have learned over the last decade is how a majority can wield its might.  A 60% hit rate is pathetic.  Where is the leadership? Rep. Pelosi, I’m not impressed.  Senator Obama, we need you.

The Republicans can’t claim much here either.  The Democrats can at least claim they were being inclusive.  Exactly what did you bring to the table other than grandstanding?  Add in Senator McCain’s antics and it looks like a circus.  The problem is that McCain’s idea wasn’t flawed in concept.  Sure it was all politics, but if he’d have been serious, he could have called all the Republicans and Paulson into a room, invited the Democrats and said “we’re not leaving until we have something we can all agree to.”  Sure, he can’t force the Democrats, but politics would do that.  They can’t afford not to negotiate.  What we got instead of a political ploy with positive benefits was just a political ploy.

Now we start over.  Advice for Obama and McCain: get serious on this issue.  Use your clout in your parties to pull people to the table and keep them there.  Let the House and Senate leaders craft the plan, but you be the glue that keeps everyone in place and working.  Find a plan that can get 80% Democratic support and 40% Republican support and make sure that the public knows that those voting for the plan are doing so for the good of the country.  Instead of making a vote against the plan a plus in November, make it a liability.  Now get to work!

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