29 September 2008

Failed Bailout: By the Numbers

UPDATE: Listening to McCain's statement again, I'm really impressed by this:

"The plan is now significantly improved. We strengthened taxpayers' protections and oversight, and the taxpayers were on the hook for less money up front.

. . . I was hopeful that the improved rescue plan would have had the votes needed to pass, because addressing the credit crisis is of vital importance to families, small businesses, and every working American.

. . . I call on Congress to get back obviously immediately to address this crisis. Our leaders are expected to leave partisanship at the door, and come to the table to solve our problems.

Senator Obama and his allies in congress infused unnecessary partisanship into the process. Now is not the time to fix the blame. It's time to fix the problem. I would hope that all our leaders--all of them--can put aside short-term political goals, and do what's in the best interest of the American people."
Smokes, that's rich. Especially because McCain is obviously loath to discuss the numbers. You start to understand why the guy is so angry all the time. How does it jive for his campaign that only 65 Republicans voted for the "improved rescue plan"? Can't be good.


To what extent did politics play a role in Congress' failure to pass a bailout bill? Well that's a pretty easy one to answer. How bad is it, though? Nate Silver:
The congressmen who are retiring this year -- and who therefore can perhaps be described as the most neutral arbiters of the public good -- voted overwhelmingly for this measure.
Not that you need me to translate, but the old goats saw past the inanity and voted without regard for party wrangling to put some protections together for the American people. That means to me that there's an undercurrent among Republican lawmakers to tie the bailout bill to campaign success. Or, perhaps more aptly, to tie a sinking bailout bill to their Democratic opponents, and hope Dems take the hit in the newest round of polls.

Only problem with that tactic? 140 Dems voted for the bill, joined by only 65 Republicans. By comparison, 95 Dems voted against, while a whopping 133 Republicans shouted down the the other third of their party. See the .pdf embedded in the article (sorry--no direct link). Confused? No kidding. And how does that play to McCain's campaign strategy of the past week? No telling, but I can't guess the old maverick's happy about any of this, after taking credit for the bill again just this morning in Ohio. Not to mention he's taken a drubbing in the polls ever since this crisis became the issue of the campaign, and today's failure guarantees Wall Street pole position in the news cycle for another couple days, if not longer.

There's a whole lot of wheeling and dealing and double-backing going on that I can't begin to interpret. Even though a majority of Americans are against the idea of corporate welfare and don't want to fund a bailout plan, there seems to be wide-reaching agreement that something must be done. When the Dow trips like it did today, even my tiny little 401k sees a hiccup. (Just kidding. My 401k got sold years ago due to its insignificance. These days it's just a meager IRA, no matching funds or nuthin'.)

This is two times in a row that Republicans have spoiled the soup. So what's the McCain camp saying about it now? Predictably, it's all Barack's fault.