September 29, 2008

SO THE HOUSE WON’T RECONVENE UNTIL THURSDAY? That seems like a sure loser. If things get better over the next couple of days, it’ll make it harder to do a deal and make them look irrelevant; if things get worse it will make them look like they slacked off at a crucial time.

Plus, thoughts on Pelosi’s speech:

Speaker Pelosi’s speech before the House today was remarkable, but not in a good way. She was trying to round up votes for a bailout package that shes claims to believe is essential for the stability of the American economy. She can’t, and doesn’t want to, pass the bill without a substantial number of Republican votes. So what does she do? You would think she would say, “let’s pass this emergency measure now, in the best interests of the country, and talk about who is to blame later.” Instead, Pelosi began her speech with a highly partisan tirade against “Bush” and “Republican” economic policies, which were allegedly to blame for this situation. She focused on an attack on the growth of federal deficits, which clearly are at best tangential to the current crisis. That, to me, is the sort of irresponsible thing you do when (a) you’re not claiming there is a vast emergency; and (b) you are in the minority, and not claiming to exercise leadership. . . .

I have no idea why any particular member, or group of members, of the House, voted for or against the bill. All I’m saying is that if you are trying to rally the House to pass an emergency bill, you make it seem like there is AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY, which more or less precludes partisan attacks. To the extent any Republican voted against the bill because of Pelosi’s speech, it may not be a question of them being offended by her partisanship, but the perspective that if Pelosi thinks that the situation calls for partisanship, it must not be a serious emergency, because leaders simply don’t engage in such antics when a true emergency is at hand. For that matter, if I were a Democrat skeptical of the bill, Pelosi’s speech may have discouraged me from voting for it for the same reason.

Plus, a more cynical take on Pelosi’s motivations.