September 26, 2008


Wall Street to GOP: Drop Dead (James Pethokoukis, 9/26/08, US News)

Economic conservatives may be horrified at the thought of a trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street, but the GOPers on Wall Street seem horrified that they are being left to wither on the vine by Washington. Take a look at this email I just got last night from a money manager:

I am a lifelong ( 51 years old) "rock-ribbed" conservative.... What an eye opener this week has been! I now realize what a blowhard Newt truly is by advocating the GOP bail on the Paulson Plan. As a professional money manager I can tell you I am shocked, dismayed and depressed that the Speaker would excoriate the GOP to abandon this plan which is URGENT and necessary to avoid a financial catastrophe that once commenced may be irreversible. The level of ignorance of financial and economic reality displayed by the Speaker , Rep. Boehner, Sen. Shelby , et al, has been frightening and sad. I thought the GOP had a better grasp of such matters than the Dems. Apparently not.

House GOP rebranding and bailout clash (Frank James, 9/26/08, The Swamp)
Ever since their defeat in 2006, House Republicans have talked about how they lost their brand and needed to regain it if they had any hope to retake the House majority. And they've taken numerous steps since 2006 to try and rebuild the trust of fiscal conservatives, calling constantly for reduced spending and extending President Bush's tax cuts.

Now they have the Bush Administration, as it's heading out the door, trying to thrust a $700 billion bailout package on them and they're not going to have it. It doesn't fit the narrative they believe will lead them back to the House majority.

The administration's problem is that House Republicans have little incentive to give in to the president who not only is soon to be the ex-president but is unpopular to boot.

House Majority Leader John Boehner and the rest of the Republican conference plan on being around for a while and they don't want to support a bailout package if it's going to severely damage their ability to re-establish their small-government, lower taxes and less-spending brand.

If the GOP is willing to tank the economy to establish their new "brand," isn't it fair to ask whether that brand isn't Hooverism? An ideology that places country second is an obvious political loser.

Bush: “We are going to get a package” (MIKE ALLEN, 9/26/08, Politico)

President Bush declared Friday morning that both parties will “rise to the occasion” and pass “a substantial rescue plan,” despite a collapse of negotiations that resulted in some of the ugliest Capitol Hill finger-pointing in years.

“The legislative process is sometimes not very pretty, but we are going to get a package passed,” Bush stepping out of the Oval Office into the Rose Garden for a brief statement that had been scheduled for five minutes after the New York Stock Exchange opened.

McCain's Choice (William Kristol, 9/26/08, Weekly Standard)
If it fails, McCain will have, I think, three alternative paths:

1. Support Bush/Paulson/the Democrats. The rationale would be that the emergency is grave, the markets require action, and this is the only legislation that can pass. This is where most observers expect McCain to end up, it may well be where he has to end up, and it may be the right place to end up--IF the emergency is so grave and IF this is the only alternative that can pass. McCain could still stipulate he’ll improve the plan when he becomes president, that Bush and the Democrats messed this up, etc., etc. This outcome becomes likely if the markets start to meltdown today. It’s not particularly attractive substantively or politically, but....

2. Support House Republicans. Very dicey, obviously.

McCain Huddles in Boehner’s Office (The Page, September 26th, 2008
MSNBC reports the Arizona Senator meets with the House Republican leader along with Rep. Cantor and other GOP congressmen on the bailout legislation ahead of morning congressional talks.

It would be too late to save his candidacy at that point--the House GOP having refuted its premise--but Maverick would have to come out and blast them and portray his own vote for the plan as rising above the moronic partisanship of his own party.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 26, 2008 9:54 AM
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