Business

Politics as Usual Played a Role in Bailout Bill Failure

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Here’s an interesting fact pulled from the AP about the bailout bill’s failure:

Thirteen of the 19 most vulnerable Republicans and Democrats in an Associated Press analysis voted against the bill despite the pleas from President Bush and their party leaders to pass it.

The article doesn’t say who these 19 are but this figure tells us something about the psychology behind the vote. I had hoped that most nay votes were based on principle but, as I dig into the matter, it seems typical politics played its usual role. Apparently, Nancy Pelosi gave a very partisan speech before the vote and some Republicans claim that’s why they voted nay. First of all, if true, Pelosi was foolish to give anything other than a “I’m glad we’re all coming together” speech. Anything less would be terrible leadership. That said, any Republican who changed his or her vote just because Pelosi was less than diplomatic is a childish fool.

So, it seems as if some representatives voted no simply because they were too scared of tying their name to such major and potentially risky legislation. And some voted no because they didn’t like a speech. Given that they all probably have money in the stock market, I wonder how they feel about their less-than-principled stand now?

To be clear, I fault not a single Republican or Democrat who voted no out of a principled objection to the bill. But any representative playing politics with such an important matter should be ashamed.

As an addendum, here’s the roll call, in case you were wondering.

Thanks to reader BenG for alerting me to the Pelosi speech angle.