"A failure of followership..."
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.