Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On the bailout: time to end the bipartisanship

Yesterday's diary on the failure of the bailout bill--which was well-received but did not quite make the recommended list--lays out the argument that instead of offering a further compromise to get House Republicans to support a bailout bill, the Democrats, who are the group more trusted by far to deal with this crisis, should take advantage of the situation and yesterday's panic on Wall Street to force through a partisan bill incorporating all of the strictures the populists have been demanding.

Key quote:

Everyone expected the failed bailout bill to pass. That includes John McCain, who was famously taking credit for getting Republicans on board to support the bill on the false and embarrassing assumption that it was going to pass.

But the bill failed, and took the market down with it. Now, this fact will intensify the pressure to get a bailout deal done fast. But the truth is that Barack Obama and the Democrats have the leverage and the public trust to do this their way. Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress have the highest approval ratings of any presidential or Congressional entity regarding the response to the bailout.

The fact is, the public doesn't trust the Republican Party on this issue any further than than an 8-year-old can throw an Olympic shotput. And we have to take advantage of that.

It seems like others are coming around to that way of thinking. Take today's post by kos, which quotes Digby approvingly:

The leadership can tinker around the edges of the current plan or try to pass the exact same one after twisting some arms. But this is a shit bill, and, anything designed to appease one end of the House "no" votes will cost them support on the other end. It's the "problem" with having this bill opposed not by a single group, but by two ideologically incompatible ones.

But like my post above indicates, that isn't so much a problem as it is an opportunity.

If Pelosi decides to water down the current bill to make it acceptable to the House wingnuts and tries to strong-arm Democrats into voting for it, we'll get hammered from a political point of view. But given the fact that the Republican brand is in the tank, what we really need to do is say something like, "Main Street has spoken and we have listened." Push a progressive, and even punitive, bill, and force Republicans to vote for it because they're too afraid of what will happen to the Dow if they vote against it.

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