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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Monday, September 29, 2008

Party First?

So let me get this straight: I just lost another large chunk of my retirement because House Republicans couldn't take a little straight talk from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi? I thought their battle cry this year was Country First?

Let's stipulate there is enough blame to spread around and that House Democrats as well as Republicans voted against the $700 billion Wall Street bailout. And let's further stipulate that Pelosi may well have been impolitic in blaming Republicans for creating the current mess by allowing Wall Street to run rampant.

But from where I sit -- Pelosi got a lot of facts rights about the lack of regulation over the last eight years. In sum and substance, the sins of the GOP outweigh those of the Democrats.

Here was a grand opportunity for the Grand Old Party to claim the change mantle they so want to steal from Barack Obama.

Simply say: "Madam Speaker, you are wrong. But because we put Country First, we will swallow our pride and anger and vote for a bipartisan piece of legislation that has support from President Bush on the right to Barney Frank on the left. (See we didn't even call him by that name Dick Armey used!) Our country's future depends on it."

Instead, the GOP caucus and the McCain "brain trust" were quick with the finger pointing and blame game.
"We could have gotten there today had it not been for the partisan speech that the speaker gave on the floor of the House," House Minority Leader John Boehner said. Pelosi’s words, the Ohio Republican said, "poisoned our conference, caused a number of members that we thought we could get, to go south."
The stock market fell by 777 points because the Republicans felt dissed by a woman they regularly portray as the devil incarnate?

And let's compare and contrast the responses of Barack Obama and John McCain. You remember Johnnie Mac, the guy who interceded to bring a solution and blew it up instead? What does he have to say?
"From the minute John McCain suspended his campaign and arrived in Washington to address this crisis, he was attacked by the Democratic leadership: Senators Obama and Reid, Speaker Pelosi and others," [economic adviser Douglas] Holtz-Eakin said. "Their partisan attacks were an effort to gain political advantage during a national economic crisis. By doing so, they put at risk the homes, livelihoods and savings of millions of American families."
You remember Holtz-Eakin -- the guy who said McCain invented the BlackBerry?

Contrast that to Obama's response:
“It’s important for the American public and the markets to stay calm – because things are never smooth in Congress – and to understand that it will get done,” Mr. Obama said. “We are going to make sure that an emergency package is put together, because it is required for us to stabilize the markets.”
I think one of the reasons Franklin Roosevelt gained the respect he did was for delivering Fireside Chats that tried to calm a frightened nation rather than try to rip each other's face off.

For those Democrats concerned about Obama's failure to get excited -- this is the best reason I can think of that he should not. To me, this, not finger pointing, is leadership.

What's next? Who knows. The bill voted down in the House had a lot of problems, letting too many people off the hook -- even though it was far better than the 3 1/2-page bare bones proposal offered that would have made Henry Paulson Economic Czar.

Maybe now that John Boehner and company have completed the sabotage effort they launched last week in a fit of pique that a bill would be worked out without McCain (or Obama) can go back to the idea they proclaim -- to put country first.

We're waiting.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason the bailout was defeated is because voters across the country have been writing angry letters against the bailout to their representatives. Letters against outweigh those in favor by about a 100 to 1 ratio.

If you don't like the result, take it up with your fellow citizens.

September 30, 2008 9:49 AM  

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