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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"A failure of followership..."

So what exactly does the "failure of followership" by House Republicans mean to you and me?

Aside from the massive losses in personal retirement accounts and the shaky nature of one of our largest local banks?

Well, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (and probably many, many more state and local governments) are going to have a hard time paying bills due today and tomorrow.

The recession that Republicans have tried desperately to deny exists is going to get worse.

And the world will continue to shake its head at the absolute idiocy that emerges from Washington, DC.

But is it just the leaders who have failed? Thomas Mann, a congressional scholar (keep those crack about oxymorons to yourself) at the Brookings Institution summed it up quite well in the New York Times:
“I don’t think this was a failure of leadership so much as a failure of followership,” said Thomas Mann, a scholar on Congress at the Brookings Institution. “This is a function of a group of House Republicans who are philosophically opposed to doing anything like this bailout and are prepared to take the risk.”
It's a fact that 40 percent of Democrats deserted the bailout in addition to 66 percent of Republicans. That's a lot of people putting re-election over the right thing to do. And I'm naturally going to single out Republicans anyway, given my political leanings.

But this vote represented the ultimate for the Gingrich Kamikazes, the band of zealots elected under the banner of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with the goal of downsizing government.

Time and again, from shutting down the country over the budget, to spending to $72 million in the wasteful pursuit of Bill Clinton's sexual peccadilloes, this group has sought to destroy the very institutions they were ostensibly elected to lead.

While in power, they ruthlessly cut out Democrats in much the same way they now whine about being pushed aside themselves. This Band of House Brothers has probably also nurtured special wounds as they watched their Senate Republican colleagues bollix up the works by requiring filibuster-proof majorities to enable action.

Nor should we ignore that many in the clique of Minority Leader John Boehner threw the monkey wrenches into the works in the name of John McCain, whose last-second parachuting into the deal caused almost as much havoc.

There is no doubt, as many analysts suggest, that this fit of suicidal pique was also a slap at having to march in lockstep with a failed president who bullied them into a foolish war, expanded federal deficits ad increased spending in ways they could not stomach.

But in giving the entire country a gigantic raspberry so they could carry out their ideological jihad, they stepped over the line. Way over the line.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a word, except in passing reference, about those Democrats who voted "no", also. Maybe, just maybe, there were bad things about the bill, and maybe it needs to be improved before all of us take on a new mortgage.

September 30, 2008 6:39 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

I'm versed enough in the bill to know that it is bad medicine. I am not versed enough to know what it will take it cure it. But I also can clearly see that a fit of pique by ideologues is what made the difference -- hence the blast at the zealots who have repeatedly sought to put ideology over the national good.

September 30, 2008 7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ideologues like Steve Lynch and Bill Delahunt from our own state?

October 01, 2008 6:40 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Lynch and Delahunt didn't get up and said that Nancy Pelosi was mean to them. I can accept people voting on conscience. I don't believe Eric Cantor has one, at least not here. He was 100 percent pure partisan politics.

October 02, 2008 4:39 AM  

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