Where was the leadership during yesterday's bailout debacle in the Congress? It surely wasn't wasn't coming from either the Democrat or GOP camps. Unfortunately, hypocrisy - the life's blood of Washington - seemed to be in ample supply on both sides of the aisle. With claims that the world economy will collapse without action by the US Congress, it's been politics as usual - except the players are getting more air time.
It's the Democrats fault. No, all of the blame lies with Republicans. Let's blame it all on President Bush. Your head will literally spin watching the players pass the buck.
While everyone spoke prior to yesterday's vote, if you were a Democrat you seemed to parrot the same speech:
We need to all come together because this is the nation's problem. It's the world's problem. And of course we all know that this is due to the failed economic policies of the Republicans.Republicans used a similar tack; simply claiming that this debacle lays at the feet of Dems.
You'll seldom here me say this, but the truth is somewhere in the middle. It is absolutely true that we can trace the root of SOME of these problems to the Clinton administration ... even the administration of Jimmy Carter. It is equally true that too many Republicans approved of a system bereft of reasonable regulation and allowing institutions to merge to the point that they were too big too fail.
Leading up to yesterday's vote I actually thought that the GOP was actually showing some leadership. While Democrats such as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer attacked Republicans and their standard bear, John McCain, the GOP congressional leadership actually sounded like they were going to act like leaders. Rather than snipe back, the rhetoric remained cool.
While my fellow conservatives organized a battle to defeat a federal bailout, the GOP leadership stuck to their guns and tried to explain the necessity of saddling us with even more debt. While I understand the argument, I simply don't agree.
Yet, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stood in the well of the House and spewed bile at Bush and the GOP, not only did the rhetoric change - all semblance of intelligence left the room. Upon completion of the vote, we heard from the House GOP leadership that the vote was lost because of Pelosi's speech. House Minority Leader John Boehner seemed to be telling us that he had the votes to get the bailout through, but Pelosi hurt the feelings of twelve GOP House members.
Let's assume for a moment that what Boehner said is true. I'm sure that we would all love to know who those members are. If they would actually switch their vote - particularly on such a huge piece of legislation - because they were "pissed off" I can only hope that their constituents show them the door in November.
While I am no fan of either Boehner or House Whip Roy Blunt, I was seriously dismayed to see Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) join in this debate of the bizarre. Cantor is considered a leader and a conservative. He certainly wasn't showing it on TV yesterday.
Of course foolishness and hypocrisy weren't limited to the GOP after yesterday's vote. After her disgraceful performance prior to the vote, Pelosi immediately laid all blame at the feet of the Republicans AND called for bi-partisanship - all in the same set of remarks.
While I firmly believe that a bailout is not the answer, it would be nice to actually see some leadership on the part of both parties. I'm not holding my breath.
Should we worry? Probably. However if things were really as bad as portrayed, would we really continue seeing this sad version of politics as usual.
cross posted at Delmarva Dealings