Monday, September 29, 2008

Come on, House Republicans, grow up!

If any House Republicans actually changed their votes on the bailout bill because Nancy Pelosi gave an ugly partisan speech, then they don't deserve to be reelected. You could oppose the bill because you think it's a lousy bill and you hope that it can be renegotiated and improved. But no Representative in this financial crisis should change a vote because Pelosi pulled her usual partisan shtick to blame this entire crisis on the Republicans. The markets are melting down and you're voting no because you're mad at Pelosi? That just doesn't compute and they should stop their whining.
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) said that Pelosi’s speech “poisoned” the Republican caucus and “caused a number of members we thought we could get to go south.”

“I do believe that we could have gotten there today, had it not been for the partisan speech that the Speaker gave on the floor of the House,” Boehner said. “We put everything we had into getting the vote to get there today.” Boehner added, however, that lawmakers have “no choice” but to work together and would have to find “a middle ground to bring enough votes to avert a crisis.”

Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R., Mo.) said he had 12 Republicans who would have voted for the bill but changed their minds, while Rep. Eric Cantor (R., Va.) holding up a copy of what he said was Pelosi’s floor remarks - said the speaker “frankly struck the tone of partisanship.” A senior aide to Pelosi rejected the Republican claims against the speaker, saying the suggestion that her speech motivated House Republicans to vote against the bailout plan was “absurd.”

“You don’t vote on the speech, you vote on the bill,” said the aide.
Exactly. This is just as inept as Newt Gingrich complaining about having to get off the back of Air Force One. (Matt Lewis has the same thought.)

Sure Pelosi was despicable, but then she usually is. Condemn her, but then vote the way you think is right. And for gosh sake, don't go public about your angry feelings. This is a crisis and no one should be voting on whether or not they're ticked at Nancy Pelosi. Vote on principle, not out of pique.

Of course, we can't blame today's failure on just the Republicans. She couldn't get her caucus to come through. They have the majority and could pass it without any Republican votes. However, she knows that the bill is largely unpopular and so wants GOP votes as cover for her vulnerable Democrats. Apparently, most of the vulnerable House Democrats voted against the bill. Perhaps Madame Speaker should work on finding 12 of those Democrats to change their vote instead of casting all the blame on the minority party for not helping her get a majority today.

And ponder this, she is now free to negotiate a more liberal bill stuffed full of all the goodies that her caucus wants in the bill and try to pass it without Republicans. As Larry Kudlow predicts,
As this scenario goes, the House Democrats need 218 votes, and they have to pick up a number of black and Hispanic House members who jumped ship because the Wall Street provisions, in their view, were too benign. So things like the bankruptcy judges setting mortgage terms and rates, the ACORN slush-fund spending, the union proxy for corporate boards, stricter limits on executive compensation, and much larger equity ownership of selling banks through warrants will all find itself back in the new bill. Of course, this scenario will lose more Republican votes. But insiders tell me President Bush will take Secretary Paulson’s advice and sign that kind of legislation.
Will those House conservatives be happy then?