The Eclectic Quill

September 29, 2008

John McCain and the Party of Whiners

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 3:05 pm

Whatever your take on the bailout plan is, one has to take exception with the Republican response as to why they failed to deliver the votes necessary for its passage—that Nancy Pelosi gave a partisan speech. I thought I learned in Kindergarten that "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." Yet the preschool mindset of the GOP seems to be that if your political opponent offends you, you should put the economic future of the nation and the world at stake, and then whine on national TV about how your feelings got hurt. Of course Barney Frank put it best.

It’s hard to imagine which is more damaging to them—if the reasoning is true or if it’s not. On the one hand if it is true then probably a more petty decision, with more at stake has never before been made by the lower house of Congress. It’s mind boggling that a couple of admittedly pointed and partisan sentences uttered by the Speaker should put in jeopardy the economic future of the nation. Can you imagine the history books if the economy does contract as a result of this crisis? Can you imagine that your name is listed as one of "the 12" who were so offended by a couple of sentences that you let the world’s economy collapse? What a way to be remembered! It’s so appalling, so atrocious to me that anyone would even consider this an acceptable excuse.

The alternative explanation, that they simply didn’t have the votes and were trying to cover up that fact with a little subterfuge, is possibly equally or more damaging than the excuse. Senator McCain, in an effort to bolster his poll numbers had flown back to Washington to lead the charge and show that he was a leader capable of uniting the parties in a bipartisan effort. In the end he proved he can’t even deliver half the votes of his own party. That he was boasting and taking credit for getting the bill through just hours before it didn’t go through—and for the very reason that he didn’t do what he’d been saying he did—is best summed up by the idiom, "egg on your face." It’s humiliating to McCain that this didn’t happen, especially when his slogan is "Putting Country First."

Now you’re going to be told about how the Democrats didn’t need any Republican votes to pass this and how this is a failure of both parties. I absolutely disagree with that. The parties had reached an agreement that both parties would have half their members vote for it. Pelosi delivered, McCain and the Republicans did not. The thing about things being bipartisan is that it requires "bi" meaning two, "partisanship" meaning parties. If one party does it without the other it’s not bipartisan it’s unilateral, and then the Republicans would be whining about that! There may be some that suggest that as long as the Republican leadership went along with it then the Republicans couldn’t use it against the Democrats. I disagree. The leadership of the Republicans has a lot less to risk because the fact is that there is a lot less of a chance they are going to lose their seat in the upcoming election. This argument is trying to change the rules after the game ends. The Republicans agreed to get half their members to vote for it, and either because they didn’t do a good enough job of selling it, or because they were just too busy pouting and crying they failed.

I’d also like to point out another thing that is getting too much credence in the press, that this is a problem made by both parties. That’s just a plain ridiculous statement. The main rationalization of this is that when the Financial Modernization Act, authored by Phil Gramm was passed, Clinton was the President and the Dems in congress voted for it. While both of these things are true it ignores a couple of essential mitigating factors. First, the Act would have been even worse had Clinton not gotten certain restrictions on how much deregulation was done by threatening to veto it. Second, there was a Republican Congress and a Republican Senate. In order to get congress to work with him it was essential for Clinton to work with them. While the bill that was passed was a compromise, it was the brainchild of Phil Gramm, not Bill Clinton. Additionally, it was not the only piece of legislation that caused the present crisis. The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, also written by Phil Gramm, and the legislation which allowed for the abuses at Enron as well as the bundling of the mortgages which goes to the heart of the present Credit Crisis, was snuck through at the last possible minute without fanfare into the budget. To veto would have meant to shut down the federal government. If you want to argue that the Dems still deserve a share of the blame, then fine they deserve a share of the blame, but hardly an equal share. The blame the Dems have is for not doing more to stop the Republicans from causing this disaster. The Republicans though bear the brunt of the blame for 28 years of deregulation that brought this down on our heads.

Let’s skim past all the "blame both parties equally nonsense and put things squarely where they belong. The Republicans caused the crisis in the first place, in part with the aid of John McCain, and even more, with the impetus of his chief author of his economic policy, Phil Gramm. The Democratic leadership in Congress was working with Bush (BUSH!!) to come up with a bipartisan solution when McCain injected himself into the process. McCain blew up the process and brought everything to a halt. Then, he flew down to Mississippi and tried to take credit for getting everyone together. Once he stepped out leaders from BOTH parties resumed working together, and helped to chisel out a plan that was truly bipartisan. When they finished, McCain took credit for what he had nothing to do with. While the deal was being hammered out, the McCains were double dating with the Liebermans. Then he failed to deliver the votes he took credit for. When the Republicans refused to do what they said they would do they blamed the Democrats. What happened to all that talk about responsibility? Whatever they want to claim the bottom line here is that Republicans caused the problem and they prevented its solution. Whether that’s because they can’t put "country first" or because they want to sob about having their feelings hurt I don’t know, but I think they are disgraceful. The world is looking to see what the US is going to do, instead what they are seeing is a party of whiners.



  1. here’s a fun fact = Pierce was considered the worst prez ever b4 GWB. Well, Barbara Pierce Bush is a direct descendent of him.

    funny how it all ties in.

    Comment by 3rdStoneFromTheSun — September 29, 2008 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

  2. Most respectable economists think that the original bailout plan was terrible and that the revised version is not much better. Something needs to be done, but this isn’t it.

    You’re right that the Republicans voted the way they did for vile, partisan reasons. But in this case I suspect they did the US a service (even if only by mistake and intending the opposite).

    Comment by Paul Allen — September 29, 2008 @ 5:20 pm | Reply

  3. As to the specifics of the bailout/economic rescue, I’m not sure where I stand.

    I know something needs to be done, becuase I do believe that the lack of liquidity will cause the market to contract and that is bad news.

    Whether we have to pay Wall Street 700 billion or not I’m not positive.

    I do know that while I keep hearing about “other options” I haven’t seen much about what those options are. The Republican idea that somehow the same free market that made this whole mess in the first place is going to do a better job of cleaning it up though certainly doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.

    Comment by kelly — September 29, 2008 @ 5:33 pm | Reply

  4. Wipe out Wall Street. Its time has come and gone. Breeds absolute corruption. By the end of the 21st century microbanks will rule.

    Comment by Ricardo — September 29, 2008 @ 6:20 pm | Reply

  5. There are a couple easy fixes floating out there.

    #1 stop the run-up in interest rates. Most subprime loans were made at low teaser rates and then jumped to sometimes double or more of the original payment.
    Putting the rate at the original would cost profit but the principal could be paid, and most folk would pay it for the place they call home if they can. This stops the sudden price drops, and lets people stay in their homes.

    Problem? it cuts profits or looks like it, but actually costs less than massive foreclosures.

    #2 Making the “bailout” painful for the people who caused the problem. When the dot com crashed the Venture Capitalists had a plan they called “Claw Back” where they took all the money those who failed to make the business work had given themselves, including houses, toys , whatever to pay what was left of the investment.

    Problem? Folks like Paulson would be among those clawed, but should the Taxpayers be treated worse than the Venture Capital folks? I suspect that the crazy “freemarket” folks who torpedoed the deal would actually like this part.

    For Later in the case of all those foreclosed homes, a new spirit of Homesteading where the house is paid for eventually but by a path that those who have lost their homes or have never owned one could eventually become homeowners. Again this would dry up the housing glut, make housing affordable without destroying value, and help rebuild the American Dream.

    Comment by Freedem — September 29, 2008 @ 6:52 pm | Reply

  6. Republicans are a snotty, smug, spiteful, petty, vindictive bunch, so when I heard what had heppened it didn’t surprise me at all. It’s ironic they did the right thing for the wrong reason, however. As far the U.S. economic crises, I haven’t heard anyone talking about the REAL reason we’re in this mess, and that is because of the FEDERAL RESERVE ACT. If you really want to solve this constant economic downward spiral, ABOLISH THE FED.

    Comment by nikolai — September 29, 2008 @ 6:53 pm | Reply

  7. McGamble Lost …….

    Comment by R Kinney — September 29, 2008 @ 7:36 pm | Reply

  8. Let’s see..Bush appoints Paulson…Paulson introduces 3-page bailout plan…legislators tweak bill…republik party doesn’t support bill…bill fails. Am I missing something??

    The ball is in republik party court now. Dems did their job…delivered their votes. The failure of this thing to pass is squarely on the shoulders of the republik party, whose promised votes ran “south”.

    If the republik caucus would stop with the drama-queen whining, they might be able to actually contribute something of substance to this thing.

    Comment by blaising — September 30, 2008 @ 7:37 am | Reply

  9. Instead of making sweeping statements and calling people names we could discuss a solution. Has anyone heard the plan offered by Dave Ramsay? I know he is a republican and that may be taboo on this site but it has some good points, like insuring hedge funds and banks rather than cutting a check. The plan also has stipulations in place for the people losing their homes, like payment forgiveness and setting interest rates at a market rate in affect ending ARMs. The plan also ties in to CEO pay and so on… might be worth a look if we are interested in a possible solution. Even if it is not the best plan in the end, it seems to have some usable parts.


    Comment by Veff — September 30, 2008 @ 8:34 pm | Reply

  10. Veff,

    I’m not sure what you mean about “instead of calling people names” or for that matter, “we could discuss a solution.”

    As the first sentence of the entry stipulates this is more about the ludicrous attacks of the Republican party and their initial blame of Pelosi’s speech as their reason for voting against it.

    If they’d come out and said, we just flat out don’t agree, I think I could respect that. The point of this entry is to point towards the blatant ridiculousness of that particular charge, not find a solution.

    I think that at this point I can say two things are true. 1) in an effort to figure out what precisely is the cause of the current problem and its solution I probably know more than 99 percent of the population. 2) I have no idea what to do.

    I think that probably a lot of people in the Congress don’t really know what’s going on either. In general i think there are probably better ways of resolving this than the plan that got defeated. I don’t know if the republican “free market” ideas are among them though. The free market isn’t God. It’s fallible.

    Comment by kelly — September 30, 2008 @ 8:47 pm | Reply

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