Patterico's Pontifications


More Evidence that Pelosi Didn’t Push the Bill

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 10:45 pm

This morning I floated the theory that Nancy Pelosi didn’t really want the bailout to pass on the first go-round, when passage of the bill might make John McCain look decisive and effective.

Evidence is trickling in that I was right. The Los Angeles Times (yes, the Los Angeles Times) reports:

GOP leaders who were urging the rank and file to support the bailout plan said they told Democrats in advance that they did not have a lock on their votes but did not ask them to delay the debate. Democrats believed that Republicans were lowballing the count and that the measure would pass.

Others have questioned how committed Pelosi was to passing the bill because, once it became clear that it was failing, she made only limited efforts to change minds. She asked members of the Congressional Black Caucus, a bastion of opposition to the deal, to change their votes — but did not deploy the kind of hardball tactics that leaders often use to win close contests.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said that Pelosi told him: “This is an important bill to the country,” but didn’t try to twist his arm. He acknowledged that Pelosi could be tough, but said that in this case, “she wasn’t.”

What is more, she did not resort to the controversial — but often effective — strategy of extending the time for voting beyond the official 15-minute limit. She kept the vote open a bit longer, but nowhere near the three-hour tally that Republicans held in 2003 to pass a contentious Medicare bill.

A spokesman for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer tells the paper that the leadership viewed this as a vote of conscience and not a matter of party discipline. The article adds:

It may be a politically effective strategy if, in the end, the bill changes more to Democrats’ liking. And it may have made it easier for Democrats, in these closing weeks of the 2008 campaign, to argue that Republicans are responsible for the nation’s economic problems.

Said John J. Pitney Jr., a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College, “Turmoil and uncertainty benefits the Democrats.”

And if it causes a trillion-dollar stock selloff, well, that’s just the consequence of good politics. Besides, the market recovered a lot of that today. So what are you bitching about?

P.S. Maybe Barack Obama could come in and succeed where John McCain failed! Wouldn’t that be something! And the Democrats have it in their power to make it happen.

14 Responses to “More Evidence that Pelosi Didn’t Push the Bill”

  1. I posted this at the tail end of the other thread:
    “When Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) went to the floor on Monday, he anticipated that 75 House Republicans would vote for the revamped financial rescue package.”
    The Hill

    I think Nancy could have flipped 2 votes if necessary. But I hear she can be all nasty & partisan ….

    Bob Loblaw (6d485c)

  2. “She asked members of the Congressional Black Caucus, a bastion of opposition to the deal, to change their votes — but did not deploy the kind of hardball tactics that leaders often use to win close contests.”

    When the RNC was right that morning cutting a commercial against the bailout. Shit sandwich, and no way pelosi is going to take a bite by herself, or with her caucus.

    imdw (3b5634)

  3. I still think this is too complicated for most simple folks (I don’t mean the Amish).

    The best example for simple folks is ..

    imagine that the government started to circulate counterfeit $20 bills into the economy .. years go by .. one day the news comes out that there are billions in counterfeit $20 bills in circulation. Who will take your $20 bills ?
    .. Now in our current situation, instead of $20 bills, it’s securities made up of some number of bad mortgages made at the beckoning of the federal government.

    But what I can’t understand .. is why the federal government should get an equity stake ?

    The federal government orchestrated this screw up, they should just make restitution. Until that happens, there won’t be the proper level of outrage with the parties that let this go on. The whole “bailout” meme is merely a CYA exercise by the same politicians that let/made this happen in the first place.

    Neo (cba5df)

  4. Ms. McBotox got what she wanted – and now it’s time for McCain to give it right back to her and The Messiah. He has no choice but to call them on this schtick, or else they’ll hang the entire fiasco on his neck until The Chosen One wins in November.

    Dmac (e639cc)

  5. I still don’t see how you can blame her when the dems provided twice the support as the republicans.

    joe (8253d3)

  6. I think you should keep in mind that the Teamsters, Local 100 and the NAACP popped up at the NYSE the same day as the vote (about 400 to 500 in all) strongly protesting the “Bailout.”

    I found that odd…and would have thought they would have been on the other side of the issue…you know…supporting the Democrat initiative…unless they were supposed to serve some other purpose… ;D
    JR in NY

    JR (9791fc)

  7. This vote failure was orchestrated by Pelosi to help Obama.

    McCain suspends campaign and comes to DC last week to push republicans towards the bill. Obama does nothing of the sort on the democratic side. The vote fails and Republicans are blamed, showing McCain not being very effective.

    Now, in swoops Obama. He twists 12 democratic arms, others “change” their vote and those republicans who voted for it stay and they pick up several other republicans.

    Bill passes by larger margin than originally it would have due to perhaps a tweak or two to satisfy “switched” republicans (which will quickly be overturned in Jan).

    The press points to Obama coming in and working with dems and republicans as proof of his ability to get something accomplished where all hope had been lost, partisianship had taken hold and his ability to work across the isle.

    The Dear Leader’s picture is on every front page of every newspaper across the country as The One who has saved the American economy.

    Game. Set. Match.

    MarkButter in SoCal (b4541a)

  8. Just as some politicians are willing to “lose a war, so as to win an election“; those same politicians are willing for millions to suffer economic loss, so that they can increase their political power and advantage.
    This is the corruption of our times.

    AOracle (ec995e)

  9. #7, Mark, sounds good. Here’s another fairy tale. The GOP might then vote NO, every damn manjack of ’em. Then sit back a let the American people, who oppose the bailout in rather overwhelming proportions, demonstrate their appreciation.

    I can only but imagine: Dem heads would roll, blood would run in the streets, tar and feathers would reappear, newspaper offices and broadcast studios would burn, and members of the Democrat Party would suddenly be as scarce as NAZIs were after the fall of Berlin.

    Welcome to the Revolution!

    Ropelight (1be620)

  10. Pelosi scuttled the original bill by adding all kinds of crap. Paulson famously begged her “not to kill this thing”, but she did. Then she sabotoged the vote as you describe, both behind the scenes that through her anti-salesmanship in debate.

    She wants this crisis prolonged for political advantage. If there was a Press in this country that could get its lips off of you-know-who’s you-know-what, she’d be hung out to dry.

    But no, they’ll probably blame the whole thing on Palin.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  11. From John McCain’ s latest newsletter (with bolding included).

    My Friends,

    We are in the greatest financial crisis of our lifetimes. Congressional inaction has put every American and the entire economy at the gravest risk. Yesterday the country and the world looked to Washington for leadership, and Congress once again came up empty-handed.

    I am disappointed at the lack of resolve and bipartisan good will among members of both parties to fix this problem. Bipartisanship is a tough thing; never more so when you’re trying to take necessary but publicly unpopular action. But inaction is not an option.

    If we do nothing, many businesses may fail. Sonic Corporation, a drive-in restaurant chain based in Oklahoma, learned on Thursday that one of its lenders, GE Capital, had stopped extending new loans to the chain’s franchisees. That will block plans to rebuild restaurants, add equipment and open new locations.

    When financing dries up, students can’t get loans. In Wisconsin, more than 100 Milwaukee Area Technical College students couldn’t access private loans to fund their education. Fortunately the school was able to come up with emergency loans, but this temporary arrangement cannot continue. Markets need to work so that people can get financial help and students can be educated.

    Again, inaction is not an option. In light of the House’s failure to act, this morning, I spoke to the President about two things that the administration has not done, but should do following the inaction of Congress. First, the Treasury has already used its Exchange Stabilization Fund to back money market accounts. I encourage it to use it this fund as creatively as possible to provide backstop for accounts across our financial system to maintain confidence on the part of savers and investors. And second, the recent housing bill gave the government nearly $1 trillion in authority to purchase mortgages. Housing and mortgages are at the root of this crisis.

    The Administration can take these actions with the stroke of the pen to help alleviate the crisis gripping our economy. I urge them to do so.

    The FDIC should quickly be granted the authority to increase the deposit insurance cap from $100,000 to $250,000 so that families do not have to worry about their money. We cannot allow a crisis in our financial system to become a crisis in confidence.

    I call on everyone in Washington to come together in a bipartisan way to address this crisis. I know that many of the solutions to this problem may be unpopular, but the dire consequences of inaction will be far more damaging to the economic security of American families and the fault will be all ours.

    And to my supporters, I assure you I will continue to do whatever I can to aid in a constructive answer to the challenge before us.


    John McCain

    P.S. I’m asking you to pass this email along to your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues. We must spread the word that inaction is not an option.


    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  12. Pelosi kept the vote open for more than an hour last Novemeber trying to flip votes when the House GOP voted with Kucinich to move forward on his bill to begin impeachment proceedings against Dick Cheney.

    How much effort did Pelosi expend to save the bailout? Not as much effort as she did to save Cheney from immpeachment.

    rw (c1958a)

  13. It would seem more than a little Byzantine — not to mention extremely high-risk — to try to engineer a negative outcome, then try to reverse it later, all for a highly uncertain political benefit. In any event, the principal political fallout has been a torrent of criticism over Pelosi’s ability to lead.

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  14. Pelosi’s ability to lead has long been established as nonexistant. She can’t lead a one-man band.

    SPQR (26be8b)

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