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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How Democrats Played to Lose in the House Financial Bailout Vote

Another example of Democrats who put politics first!

Yesterday, I speculated that Nancy Pelosi delivered a sharp partisan attack on the House floor moments before the bailout bill was defeated because she really did not want the bill to pass.

Despite the fact that many Democrats tried to claim credit for negotiating the agreement to bring the bill to the floor of the House we now have more confirmation that indeed Democrats did not make any effort to seek the bill's passage which might have alleviated the sense of crisis surrounding this issue:

Democrat Leaders Played to Lose
By The Prowler
The American Spectator
9/30/2008

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. "All we needed was enough to potentially get us over the finish line, but we wanted the Republicans to be the ones to do it. This was not going to be a Democrat-passed bill if the Speaker had anything to say about it."
...
Further, according to House Oversight Committee staff, Emanuel has received assurances from Pelosi that she will not allow what he termed a "witch hunt" to take place during the next Congressional session over the role Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac played in the economic crisis.

Emanuel apparently is concerned the roles former Clinton Administration members may have played in the mortgage industry collapse could be politically -- or worse, if the Department of Justice had its way, legally -- treacherous for many.
What About Obama?

Readers may recall that when the crisis originally struck, Barack Obama was keeping hands off. He went so far as to suggest something along the lines of "if you need me, call me" (video).

Later, as I described on Sunday, Obama basically ran the Democrat side of the White House meeting last week where the first "deal" fell apart. Democrats would have been only too happy to join hands on the White House lawn and declare Obama's leadership as the decisive factor if they had succeeded in forcing House Republican leaders to accept the even worse bill (loaded with ACORN and other goodies)that was being promoted prior to the White House meeting.

But the White House meeting broke up in part because of what Washington Post Reporter Jonathon Weisman called Obama's "hectoring performance" that did more to create an atmosphere which made a deal more difficult if not impossible. In Obama's first real test of leadership he failed to bring people together. He actually made things worse.

And what was Obama doing in the hours leading up to the bill's defeat? Was he doing his best to encourage wavering Democrats in the House to support the bill?

No.
Monday's NY Times: Aides to Mr. Obama said he had not directly reached out to try to sway any House Democrats who opposed the measure. But where Mr. McCain had accused Mr. Obama of taking a hands-off approach to the financial crisis, Democratic advisers said they believed that Mr. McCain now had a role in the legislation’s failure.
By contrast, John McCain is reported to have made "dozens of calls" to get support for the better version of the bill which emerged after the White House meeting. But that didn't stop Obama's surrogates from blaming McCain for the bill's failure.

Obama didn't lift a finger to get the bill past. He could have called members of the Black Caucus, who mostly voted against it but did not. He could have phoned Representatives from his home state of Illinois with whom he has a close relationship but did not. He left McCain out there to twist in the wind.

Meanwhile, Obama was doing what he does best, giving another speech in which he implored Congress to "get this done." But on the biggest issue to confront members of Congress this year, Obama's behavior is the equivalent of voting "present."

In yet another speech, Obama is now calling on Americans to support the bailout plan. He is also reported to be calling individual House members urging them to support a renewed bailout bill. He will also be in the Senate Wednesday to vote for the Senate version of the bill.

The bill is likely to pass the Senate and no doubt Senate Democrats will say it was due to Obama's leadership.

But the bottom line is that Democrats know that as long as this situation continues, the worse it is for John McCain's campaign. And they are perfectly willing to make all the right noises in front of the camera while doing everything they can to draw out this process.

That's why I say: Democrats put politics before Country!

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