Belmont Club

The shape of things to come

Scylla, meet CharybdisExpect more, not less acrimony as things go forward.

  • From Glenn Reynolds: Obama threatening the licenses of TV stations that run NRA ads.
  • From NRO: “At today’s cabinet meeting, John McCain did not attack any proposal or endorse any plan. John McCain simply urged that for any proposal to enjoy the confidence of the American people, stressing that all sides would have to cooperate and build a bipartisan consensus for a solution that protects taxpayers. However, the Democrats allowed Senator Obama to run their side of the meeting. That did not work as the meeting quickly devolved into a contentious shouting match that did not seek to craft a bipartisan solution.”
  • From the Politico: “Treasury Secretary Down on One Knee Before Pelosi”

It was McCain who had urged Bush to call the White House meeting but Democrats made sure Obama had a prominent part. And much as they complained later of being blindsided, the whole event turned out to be something of an ambush on their part—aimed at McCain and House Republicans.  “Speaking professionally,” said one Republican aide, “They did a very good job.”  When Bush yielded early to Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D- Nev.) to speak, they yielded to Obama to speak for the assembled Democrats. And it was Obama who raised the subject of the conservative alternative and pressed Paulson on what he thought of the idea. House Republicans felt trapped—squeezed by Treasury, House Democrats and a bipartisan coalition in the Senate. And while McCain spoke surprisingly little after asking for the meeting, he conceded that it appeared there were not the votes for the core Paulson plan without major changes.

  • From ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos says that “Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson fears the Wall Street bailout deal is falling apart after a chaotic White House meeting, sources say”.

Paulson walked into the room where Democrats were caucusing after today’s meeting at the White House and pleaded with them, “Please don’t blow this up.” Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chair of the House Financial Services Committee was livid saying, “Don’t say that to us after all we’ve been through!” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “We’re not the ones trying to blow this up; it’s the House Republicans.” I know, I know,” Paulson replied.

Who you gonna call? Who you gonna believe? Bailout anyone? A crisis creates an incredible opportunity to play partisan politics. ‘Want me out of the way? Buy me off.’


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