Archive for September, 2008

Pelosi hosed it up

Let’s be clear right away.  I am not saying that the bill would have passed if Pelosi hadn’t spoken, but the chances would have been better and the excuses even flimsier.  First of all, let’s get some facts straight.

The bailout reeks of big government, and the republicans are supposed to be against that, and some of them truly are deep down inside.  Another problem is that it removes the moral hazard (idea that poor consequences follow poor decisions).  The last of all, a lot of people don’t even think it will work.  I know I think we are in huge trouble, and a big painful cleanse might be what we need.

On the other side, how much can we risk.  If the banks go downhill, Detroit, the home market, and utilities will follow, along with many businesses that need credit to operate smoothly (almost every decent sized business).  That is a lot of layoffs and a lot of problems.

I am willing to bet that there were some representatives that were weighing the two sides in their minds, and had trouble deciding.  They got a call from the minority leader and were told, “This is a bipartisan thing.  Let’s join hands and do it.  It is a good chance for us to rise above the fray.”  They weren’t really sure what to do (constituents were calling at and emailing against it), but they decided that it would help things run smoother in DC, and there is a lot of work to do and they might be able to call a favor in.

Then Pelosi gets up and ends any idea of bipartisanship.  Meanwhile the representative is getting more pressure from his constituents.  Those two things do not push anyone to vote for a bill if they are on the fence, especially when both factors are pushing one way.

If Pelosi could have kept here partisan mouth shut there would have been two possible outcomes.

1.  Bill passes.

2.  Bill fails and Republicans look more like obstructionists and very politically motivated.  (although they do a lot already)

She spent some political capital with her venting that she did not have to spend.

By the way, Barney Frank’s comments were brilliant.  They framed the problem just as the Democrats wanted.  After hearing that republicans were offended, he said, “I’ll make an offer. Give me those 12 people’s names and I will go talk uncharacteristically nicely to them and tell them what wonderful people they are and maybe they’ll now think about the country.”  When you mumble so badly it is hard for me to understand you, you have to be endowed with incredibly quick wits to get as far as Frank is.