Monday, September 29, 2008

Whip It Good

Missouri's own Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Springfield) blamed Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) speech today for turning key Republican votes against the financial rescue package. Even the 12 members he thought he had whipped in line bailed on the bill.

It's worth noting that Blunt is the Republican whip in the house, charged with bringing members in-line when the leadership (of which he is a part) decides to press an issue.

An issue, perhaps, like the package President George W. Bush, Republican Presidential candidate John McCain and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) all promised would pass with the support of their Republican colleagues in the House. 

Sen. McCain went so far this morning as to remind voters that he went so far as to suspend his campaign for President, in order to go back to Washington and help hammer out a deal (which he believed in taking credit for this morning, but since the vote has been incommunicado on the subject).

After two-thirds of the Republicans in the House bailed on the bill, Boehner and others tried to place the blame squarely on Pelosi whose speech (read the transcript here) emphasized the role deregulation and Republican support for pulling economic oversight played in the economic catastrophe before us. It was a rebuke to Republican policies, to be sure. And even perhaps badly timed (it couldn't have hurt to wait until after the vote?). 

Yet if the Republican members had been serious about supporting the bill, in the belief it was the correct move, than it certainly should not have dissuaded them.

In fact, it looks more likely that a majority of Republican members were not happy with the bill and after not convincing their leadership that their alternative (assuming they had a practical one and not simply the "insurance" plan) was preferable to amended Bush-Paulson proposal, they decided to deep-six the entire deal.

Where does that leave the markets and the American voters? With the greatest one-day point drop in stock market history and greater uncertainty for the workers and business owners who are wondering where their retirement funds went and whether they will be able to maintain the lines of credit necessary to allow their businesses to continue.

There was an unattributed comment circulated late last week that said, essentially, "better to risk a Great Depression, than sacrifice the 'free market'". I guess we can chalk it up to the Republican members of the 110th Congress.

- Murphy

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