Fascinating bit of blame being tossed around for today’s failure of the House of Representatives to pass the bailout measure. Prominent GOP strategist, Ed Rollins, had this to say:
“To a certain extent, I think John [McCain] gets hurt by this. He obviously, at the end of the day, said he was for it. But more important than that, he said he was the one who would bring them to the table and to a certain extent he will be viewed now as not being able to do that… I think the reality is, he made a big show coming in and at the end of the day it really wasn’t realistic for him.”
As for Rollin’s opinion of George Bush’s role in all this?
“Bush is finished as far as the House Republicans are concerned.”
“I do believe that we could have gotten there today, had it not been for this partisan speech that the Speaker gave on the floor of the House. I mean, we were — we put everything we had into getting the votes to get there today, but the Speaker had to give a partisan voice that poisoned our conference, caused a number of members who we thought we could get to go south.”.
To judge for yourself, I have included the text on Nancy Pelosi’s speech at the bottom of this post.
In response to Republican accusations against Pelosi, Rep. Barney Frank made these comments at a press conference today, getting big laughs:
“We have come together on a bill to alleviate the crisis, and because somebody hurt their feelings, they decide to punish the country? I mean, I would not have imputed that degree of pettiness and hypersensitivity. … There were 12 Republican members who were ready to stand up for the economic interests of America, but not if anybody insulted them. I’ll make an offer. Give me those 12 people’s names and I will go talk uncharacteristically nicely to them and tell them what wonderful people they are and maybe they’ll now think about the country.”
Interestingly, National Review editor Rich Lowry claimed to have gotten this e-mail today:
Rich – I’m afraid Rep. Frank has a point on this one. Some feelings on the GOP side were hurt, so they voted against the economic well-being of the country?
A very concerned GOP staffer.
But what of the Republicans and Democrats who voted against this proposal? What are they saying? Here’s a quick speech by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, always outspoken, always underrated:
There are a lot of people out there vehemently opposed to bailing out Wall Street. Michael Moore, never one to shy away from voicing his opinion, wrote this:
The presidential race may still be close in the polls, but the Congressional races are pointing toward a landslide for the Democrats… Up to 30 Republican House seats could be lost in what would be a stunning repudiation of their agenda…
The Republican reps are so scared of losing their seats, when this “financial crisis” reared its head two weeks ago, they realized they had just been handed their one and only chance to separate themselves from Bush before the election, while doing something that would make them look like they were on the side of “the people.”…
There they were, one Republican after another who had backed the war and sunk the country into record debt, who had voted to kill every regulation that would have kept Wall Street in check — there they were, now crying foul and standing up for the little guy! One after another, they stood at the microphone on the House floor and threw Bush under the bus…
The 95 brave Dems who broke with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd were the real heroes, just like those few who stood up and voted against the war in October of 2002…
The Dems who voted for the giveaway did so mostly because they were scared by the threats of Wall Street, that if the rich didn’t get their handout, the market would go nuts and then it’s bye-bye stock-based pension and retirement funds…
Here’s my guess: The Democratic leadership in the House secretly hoped all along that this lousy bill would go down. With Bush’s proposals shredded, the Dems knew they could then write their own bill that favors the average American, not the upper 10% who were hoping for another kegger of gold…
On his web site, Moore goes on to point out some interesting facts about the proposed bill:
1. The bailout bill had NO enforcement provisions for the so-called oversight group that was going to monitor Wall Street’s spending of the $700 billion;
2. It had NO penalties, fines or imprisonment for any executive who might steal any of the people’s money;
3. It did NOTHING to force banks and lenders to rewrite people’s mortgages to avoid foreclosures — this bill would not have stopped ONE foreclosure!;
4. It had NO teeth anywhere in the entire piece of legislation, using words like “suggested” when referring to the government being paid back for the bailout;
5. Over 200 economists wrote to Congress and said this bill might actually WORSEN the “financial crisis” and cause even MORE of a meltdown.
Many believe that we were being pushed too quickly into this decision through the same fear rhetoric that allowed us to prematurely enter into a preemptive war for which we are still paying in lives and cash.
The following is a transcript of Nancy Pelosi’s speech:
“Madam Speaker, when was the last time someone asked you for $700 billion?
“It is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush Administration’s failed economic policies–policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system.
“Democrats believe in the free market, which can and does create jobs, wealth, and capital, but left to its own devices it has created chaos.
“That chaos is the dismal picture painted by Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke a week and a half ago in the Capitol. As they pointed out, we confront a crisis of historic magnitude that has the ability to do serious injury not simply to our economy, but to the American people: not just to Wall Street, but to everyday Americans on Main Street.
“It is our responsibility today, to help avert that catastrophic outcome.
“Let us be clear: This is a crisis caused on Wall Street. But it is a crisis that reaches to Main Street in every city and town of the United States.
“It is a crisis that freezes credit, causes families to lose their homes, cripples small businesses, and makes it harder to find jobs.
“It is a crisis that never had to happen. It is now the duty of every Member of this body to recognize that the failure to act responsibly, with full protections for the American taxpayer, would compound the damage already done to the financial security of millions of American families.
“Over the past several days, we have worked with our Republican colleagues to fashion an alternative to the original plan of the Bush Administration.
“I must recognize the outstanding leadership provided by Chairman Barney Frank, whose enormous intellectual and strategic abilities have never before been so urgently needed, or so widely admired.
“I also want to recognize Rahm Emanuel, who combined his deep knowledge of financial institutions with his pragmatic policy experience, to resolve key disagreements.
“Secretary Paulson deserves credit for working day and night to help reach an agreement and for his flexibility in negotiating changes to his original proposal.
“Democrats insisted that legislation responding to this crisis must protect the American people and Main Street from the meltdown on Wall Street.
“The American people did not decide to dangerously weaken our regulatory and oversight policies. They did not make unwise and risky financial deals. They did not jeopardize the economic security of the nation. And they must not pay the cost of this emergency recovery and stabilization bill.
“So we insisted that this bill contain several key provisions:
“This legislation must contain independent and ongoing oversight to ensure that the recovery program is managed with full transparency and strict accountability.
“The legislation must do everything possible to allow as many people to stay in their homes rather than face foreclosure.
“The corporate CEOs whose companies will benefit from the public’s participation in this recovery must not benefit by exorbitant salaries and golden parachute retirement bonuses.
“Our message to Wall Street is this: the party is over. The era of golden parachutes for high-flying Wall Street operators is over. No longer will the U.S. taxpayer bailout the recklessness of Wall Street.
“The taxpayers who bear the risk in this recovery must share in the upside as the economy recovers.
“And should this program not pay for itself, the financial institutions that benefited, not the taxpayers, must bear responsibility for making up the difference.
“These were the Democratic demands to safeguard the American taxpayer, to help the economy recover, and to impose tough accountability as a central component of this recovery effort.
“This legislation is not the end of congressional activity on this crisis. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will continue to hold investigative and oversight hearings to find out how the crisis developed, where mistakes were made, and how the recovery must be managed to protect the middle class and the American taxpayer.
“With passage of this legislation today, we can begin the difficult job of turning our economy around, of helping those who depend on a growing economy and stable financial institutions for a secure retirement, for the education of their children, for jobs and small business credit.
“Today we must act for those Americans, for Main Street, and we must act now, with the bipartisan spirit of cooperation which allowed us to fashion this legislation.
“This not enough. We are also working to restore our nation’s economic strength by passing a new economic recovery stimulus package–a robust, job creating bill–that will help Americans struggling with high prices, get our economy back on track, and renew the American Dream.
“Today, we will act to avert this crisis, but informed by our experience of the past eight years with the failed economic leadership that has left us left capable of meeting the challenges of the future.
“We choose a different path. In the new year, with a new Congress and a new president, we will break free with a failed past and take America in a New Direction to a better future.”