Image 01

Posts Tagged ‘pelosi’

American Communist Paper Praises Obama and Progressives For Passing Obamacare

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

President Barack Obama and the editors of the American communist newspaper People's World used simliar language to describe the great "victory" of the "people" obtained by the passage of Obamacare

In an editorial that the Obama Administration surely wishes had not been written, American communist newspaper People’s World issued a ringing endorsement of President Obama and the Democrats’ actions in muscling Obamacare through Congress over bipartisan opposition, with the editorial board of the communist newspaper claiming that the “enactment of this bill is an enormous victory for the broad progressive movement in our country” while oddly claiming that “almost every sector of American society” and “ordinary people from throughout the country applauded President Obama” and Pelosi for passing Obamacare. As President Obama has also claimed that the “people” were strongly in support of his health care policies and further he has been labeled a progressive, the praise of his actions by the People’s World editors is sure to stir some interest in tomorrow’s media cycle and conservative talk radio.

American communists apparently have a big problem with the tea party movement, which has a net positive rating (29%-23%, +8) with the general American public, while the Democrats (33%-48%, -15) and Republicans (33%-42%, -9) both have net negative ratings. For instance, despite the lack of any audio or video evidence of the racial slurs allegedly uttered by tea party protesters at Saturday’s 25,000-strong protest in DC, People’s World ridiculously compares the tea party to infamous and violent racist Bull Conner:

Beyond that, its passage is a major defeat for the far right – the Republican Party, sections of Corporate America, and their fascist-like tea party shock troops. The enactment of this bill is an enormous victory for the broad progressive movement in our country. It will give energy and enthusiasm to that movement as it mobilizes and builds for the struggles ahead to advance a pro-worker, pro-people agenda.

The fight isn’t over. The corporate-backed far right will continue to use racism, lies and anti-government conspiracy theories to try to scare and confuse people. We got some ugly glimpses of this just as Congress was on the eve of passing the health care bill.

Tea party protesters in Ohio yelled at and abused a man with Parkinson’s disease because he was courageous enough to show his support for health care reform. In Washington, others yelled racist and homophobic epithets at members of Congress.

Some call it the tea-partiers’ Bull Connor moment. Connor was the racist, pro-segregation “public safety” commissioner in Birmingham, Ala., who used dogs and fire hoses against African American children standing up against Jim Crow in the 1960s.

Just as the American people rejected the Bull Connor segregationists after seeing the fire-hosing of children in Birmingham, the American people will reject the vicious racism and hate-filled attacks of today’s Bull Connors.

After almost a year of lobbying, demonstrations, petitions, rallies, health care story collections, town hall meetings, this is a moment to savor a hard-fought victory. And it’s a moment to celebrate the persistence and tenacity of the people’s movement for progressive change – a good thing since there are many more battles ahead.

Even if the sensational, and unproven, allegations against the tea partiers regarding offensive slurs and conduct are true, that alleged conduct in no way compares to the truly horrific conduct of the likes of Bull Conner, notwithstanding the American communist newspaper’s odd claims above. People’s World’s claim that Obamacare’s passage is “a moment to celebrate the persistence and tenacity of the people’s movement for progressive change”, is uncomfortably close to the President’s own rhetoric in this email to supporters late Sunday night:

My gratitude tonight is profound. I am thankful for those in past generations whose heroic efforts brought this great goal within reach for our times. I am thankful for the members of Congress whose months of effort and brave votes made it possible to take this final step. But most of all, I am thankful for you.

This day is not the end of this journey. Much hard work remains, and we have a solemn responsibility to do it right. But we can face that work together with the confidence of those who have moved mountains.

Our journey began three years ago, driven by a shared belief that fundamental change is indeed still possible. We have worked hard together every day since to deliver on that belief.

We have shared moments of tremendous hope, and we’ve faced setbacks and doubt. We have all been forced to ask if our politics had simply become too polarized and too short-sighted to meet the pressing challenges of our time. This struggle became a test of whether the American people could still rally together when the cause was right — and actually create the change we believe in.

The Communist American Newspaper People's Daily and President Barack Obama both claim the passage of Obamacare is a "victory" for the American people - despite the fact that 62% of Americans want the GOP to continue to fight Obamacare in the aftermath of the historic passage this week.

Both the communist editorial and Obama email point towards the great “victory” achieved by the “people” via the passage of Obamacare – despite the fact that a majority of Americans oppose Obamacare, and its passage was animated by vocal popular opposition in and around Congress, and little vocal support of any kind.  Considering these facts, it is certainly odd to hear both the President of the United States and the editors of one of America’s leading communist newspapers claim that Obamacare was just swept into law by popular demand – such claims simply to not match up with realty.

Indeed, opponents of Obamacare are very intense about their disapproval while supporters are mainly lukewarm, at best. This is proven, in part, by the fact that 62% of Americans want the GOP to continue to fight Obama and the Democrats regarding Obamacare – hardly a ringing endorsement by the American people.

Further, the American communist newspaper and Obama’s email also share the claim that the much remains to be done by the “people” in the near future. There is something disquieting about the President of the United States using similar metaphors and language to describe the passage of Obamacare as the editors of one of the leading American communist newspapers. Obama’s email on Tuesday, signing day, also refers to the great historical victory of the people:

As I’ve said many times, and as I know to be true, this astounding victory could not have been achieved without your tireless efforts.

So as we celebrate this great day, I want to invite you to add your name where it belongs: alongside mine as a co-signer of this historic legislation. Organizing for America will record the names of co-signers as a permanent commemoration of those who came together to make this moment possible — all of you who refused to give up until the dream of many generations for affordable, quality care for all Americans was finally fulfilled.

Please accept my thanks for your voice, for your courage, and for your indispensable partnership in the great work of creating change.

History, and I, are in your debt.

The People’s Daily’s claim that the tea parties are extremists was also echoed by the Obama Administration, as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel claimed the tea partiers are a “fringe group” and that the GOP leaders are “afraid of”:

I think The Republicans have a level of energy but inside that energy they have their own problem and fissures. They’re basically at the behest of a fringe group that’s taken control of their own party and their own leaders are scared of it.

Considering the editors of the American communist newspaper the People’s World use similar rhetoric as President Obama to describe the great “progressive” popular victory of the “people” in obtaining Obamacare passage, and further that Rahm Emanuel and People’s World share views regarding the tea party, centrists and independent Americans are left to wonder about what exactly the Democrats intended to accomplish with their 2407-page Obamacare package. Comments by Senior Dem. Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) that the Democrats need time to prepare for the next few years to allow full enactment of Obamacare “to control the people” and VP Biden’s comment that via Obamacare “we’re going to control the insurance companies” add further concern and uncertainty for centrist and independent Americans assessing the newly-passed Obamacare package.  In sum, the fact that a leading American communist organization is praising the President of the United States for passing his signature initiative, Obamacare, is a bright red flag for the many Americans reviewing the Obamacare package this week.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s OVER: Obamacare to Pass on Sunday as Dems Lie About Deficit Savings; UPDATE: Dem Memo Instructs to Lie About $371 Billion Dollar “Doctor Fix”

Friday, March 19th, 2010

President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brag today about the coming successful vote to pass Obamacare on Sunday

The largest federal government intervention into the US economy since FDR, and the most substantial legislation on health care policy in American history is set to pass the House of Representatives on Sunday, as a test vote on the floor of the House passed with 222 votes (6 to spare) on Wednesday, meaning Obamacare is all but certain to also garner the 216 House votes it needs on Sunday to reach President Obama’s desk.

As noted by many last week, the vote yesterday essentially green-lighted the use of the “Slaughter Solution” to pass the Senate Obamacare bill through the House of Representatives. The Slaughter Solution is a procedural trick which allows the House of Representatives to avoid an actual up or down vote on the special interest and pork laden Senate Obamacare bill.

Right now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in front of the media crowing about her success in finding the votes and being able to pass the comprehensive health care measure which will avoid “job-lock” based on the fear of losing health care coverage. Pelosi also repeated her wholly false claim that Obamacare will create 700,000 jobs “almost immediately” and her companion fantasy claim that Obamacare will reduce deficit spending by “1.3 trillion” over two decadesl and over a hundred billion in the next decade.

Both of these wholly false and misleading claims rely on future Congresses not waiving certain onerous “revenue raising” measures such as the “cadillac tax” on health insurance policies, which will kick in by 2018 (delayed, by pressure from unions and others, to nearly a decade from now) and further not waiving a large portion of the “planned” $500 billion in cuts to Medicare over the next decade. Neither of these policies are likely to actually be implemented, meaning that there will be only deficit gains from this bill, which makes logical sense as Obamacare will funnel hundreds of billions per year in new entitlement spending to purchase health insurance for those who qualify for the new American entitlement program.

Indeed, the same political pressure that will almost certainly lead future Congresses to waive a substantial majority of the cuts to Medicare benefits while also substantially lessening the bite of the “cadillac tax” on health insurance premiums set to begin in 2018 under Obama’s present plan has led Congresses, in every year since the passage of the Medicare savings bill in 1997, to waive such reductions in payments to doctors and hospitals as called for in the 1997 legislation.   This procedure is known as the “doctor fix”, and Obama promised he would include a 10 year “doctor fix” in Obamacare to buy the support of the American Medical Association back in the summer of 2009. Because the inclusion of the 10 year “doctor fix” payoff to the AMA in the initial version of Obamacare created a CBO scoring which showed over $150 billion in deficit spending over 10 years, Obama and the Democrats  removed the language from the bill and now pretend that the $250 billion dollar cost of the “doctor fix” over the first decade of Obamacare simply doesn’t exist.

Here’s what Nancy Pelosi had to say today in response to just such a question about the “doctor fix” from a brave reporter:

“We’ve been including it in legislation for a long time…it is not about a doctor fix, it is about our seniors or anyone who relies upon Medicare to have access…you call it the doctor fix, its really about access to health are for Americans…its not in this [Obamacare] bill, but we’ll have it soon. We have made a commitment to do this.”

Pelosi than refused to answer the followup question from that same reporter regarding the fact that the “doctor fix” will completely eliminate the claimed $100 billion or so in “deficit savings” over the first decade of Obamacare. President Barack Obama also started speaking just as Pelosi was under questioning about the “doctor fix”, issuing a very partisan speech at George Mason University. As it becomes clear to the American people that Obamacare will become law via the “Slaughter Solution” and President Obama’s signature just days from now, it will be interesting to see the public’s reaction to passing such a giant federal intervention into a segment of the economy that is actually producing jobs right now as the economy struggles to stop continuing job losses overall.

UPDATE: Ed at Hotair and Politico note that the Democratic leadership is circulating a memo instructing congresspeople to lie to the media and public about the coming $371 billion dollar increase in federal health care spending to be done as an add-on to Obamacare in the spring and further to avoid any substantive discussion of the CBO score and to instead just repeat the extraordinarily misleading top-line numbers:

Democrats are planning to introduce legislation later this spring that would permanently repeal annual Medicare cuts to doctors, but are warning lawmakers not to talk about it for fear that it will complicate their push to pass comprehensive health reform. The plans undercut the party’s message that reform lowers the deficit, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO.

Democrats removed the so-called doc fix from the reform legislation last year because its $371-billion price tag would have made it impossible for Democrats to claim that their bill reduces the deficit. Republicans have argued for months that by stripping the doc fix from the bill, Democrats were playing a shell game.

“Most health staff are already aware that our health proposal does not contain a ‘doc fix.’ … The inclusion of a full SGR repeal would undermine reform’s budget neutrality. So again, do not allow yourself (or your boss) to get into a discussion of the details of CBO scores and textual narrative. Instead, focus only on the deficit reduction and number of Americans covered,” the memo, sent Thursday to Democratic staff, said.

“As most health staff knows, leadership and the White House are working with the AMA to rally physicians for a full SGR repeal later this spring. However, both health and communications staff should understand we do not want that policy discussion discussed at this time, lest (it) complicate the last critical push to pass health reform,” according to the memo.

The memo helps explains why the American Medical Association has supported reform even though their top legislative priority, the doc fix, was left out. The group is working behind the scenes with Democratic leadership and the White House to fix the cuts later this year.

Indeed, in a statement this afternoon, the AMA announced its support for the reconciliation bill — and hinted that the debate is not over with reform’s passage.

“This is not the last step, but the next step toward real health system reform. We will remain actively engaged with Congress and the administration to ensure that before Congress adjourns there are additional important changes to our health system,” AMA president James Rohack said. “Congress must act to preserve access to care for seniors and military families by permanently repealing the Medicare physician payment formula that will cut Medicare payments by 21 percent next month.”

The memo also repeatedly advises Democrats not to discuss the details of the CBO score.

Such explicit misrepresentations about the true cost of Obamacare and the reality that Obamacare will actually hike the deficit, not reduce it, from the Democrats on the eve of the historic vote on comprehensive health care reform paints a very troubling picture of the leaders of America’s federal government. The full, odious memo is here.

UPDATE #2: Democrats are now denying writing the memo, and Politico has backed down and pulled it from its site. Apparently bad news for Democrats is not news at Politico. It is hard to imagine that Politico would have pulled a story about President Bush’s social security reform efforts if the GOP complained, bringing into clear focus the unbridled allegiance of the establishment media to the Democratic Party.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Massa Disasta: Obama and Pelosi Force Massa’s Resignation Over Obamacare; UPDATE: Says Hoyer is Liar; UPDATE#2: Massa on Beck Tomorrow For Full Hour

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Democratic House Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) is blaming the White House for forcing his ouster from the House of Representatives, creating a new Obamacare scandal: the "Massa Disasta"

In a shocking claim made this morning on a New York radio station, Democratic House Representative Eric Massa (D-NY) pointed to the White House and Democratic House Leadership as engineering his demise, essentially forcing him out because of his opposition to Obamacare.   Politico quotes Massa:

Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) says the House ethics committee is investigating him for inappropriate comments he made to a male staffer on New Year’s Eve — and that he’s the victim of a power play by Democratic leaders who want him out of Congress because he’s a “no” vote on health care reform.

“Mine is now the deciding vote on the health care bill,” Massa, who on Friday announced his intention to resign, said during a long monologue on radio station WKPQ. “And this administration and this House leadership have said, quote-unquote, they will stop at nothing to pass this health care bill. And now they’ve gotten rid of me and it will pass. You connect the dots.”

Massa’s claims this morning, as reported by Roll Call that his ouster was “orchestrated by Democratic leaders to get him out of office before the health care vote”, will likely lead news reports on cable during the day today.   One especially newsy soundbite from Massa was his claim that:

“Rahm Emanuel is son of the devil’s spawn…He is an individual who would sell his mother to get a vote.”

The “Massa Disasta” is unwelcome news for the Obama Administration, which is already struggling to remedy prior questionable process actions regarding Obamacare, such as the Louisiana Purchase, Obama’s appointment of undecided Dem. Rep. Matheson’s brother to a federal judgeship and Cornhusker Kickback.   Now, the “Massa Disasta” will take its place amongst the process scandals surrounding Obamacare as America begins the final days before the all-important House vote on the Senate health care bill.

UPDATE:  Ed at Hotair links over, thanks for the link Ed.   Ed points to an interesting piece by the Washington Examiner on the Massa Disasta which is a good read.   So far, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, and CBS are engaging in a news blackout on this story, we’ll see how things develop during the day.

Some “interesting” quotes from Massa also from the same NY radio station tape, which now is, of course, a dead link, courtesy of the Washington Examiner and Roll Call:

Roll Call reports this morning that on the local radio show he hosts in his district, Massa said he had not been informed of the sexual harassment allegations before they became public. He claimed that Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., spoke falsely when he said he had brought the matter to him previously, Massa said. “Steny Hoyer has never said a single word to me, at all, ever, not once,” Massa said. “Not a word. This is a lie. It’s a blatant, false statement.”

He also railed against Hoyer for discussing Ethics Committee business with the press. “Never before in the history of the House of Representatives has a sitting leader of the Democratic Party discussed allegations of House investigations publicly before findings of fact. Ever.”

Directly calling our your Majority Leader as a liar is a pretty substantial claim by a House member, and these comments are also bringing to the fore the dislike of Rahm Emanuel amongst rank and file House Dem members. Some other choice quotes from Massa this morning regarding Rahm Emanuel, from Realclearpolitics:

Rep. Massa describes a confrontation with Emanuel in a shower: “I am showering, naked as a jaybird, and here comes Rahm Emanuel, not even with a towel wrapped around his tush, poking his finger in my chest, yelling at me.”

UPDATE#2: Ben Smith reports on Glenn Beck’s tweet that Massa will be on for full hour on his 5PM show tomorrow. Expect fireworks:

Tomorrow at five: congressman Massa for the full hour. I just spoke with him off air. All Americans need To hear him. Exclusive 2morrow fox

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Banned SNL Video on Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac – Art Imitates Life?

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Did Obama Scuttle Yesterday’s Bailout Vote? An Objective Analysis

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

The defeat of the bailout deal in the House yesterday afternoon and subsequent largest single-day points selloff of the Dow Jones index has put a white hot focus on the bailout as the single most important issue in the campaign. The stakes for Obama and McCain could not be higher as the candidate who is perceived by moderate, centrist swing voters as fashioning a solution will probably seize the inside track to the presidency. An interesting question to independent, centrist observers is whether Obama’s campaign did or did not intentionally scuttle yesterday’s bailout vote in order to deny McCain credit for fostering the bipartisan package. Some evidence supports both theories. It cannot seriously be contended that McCain scuttled the package as he suspended his campaign to push the deal and limited campaigning through the weekend to focus on pushing House GOP members to vote for the bailout.

Last night, the Obama campaign changed strategy by strongly calling for the passage of the bailout with a single phrase: “Get it done”. This morning, echoing the House GOP’s call during weekend negotiations, Obama called for raising the federal deposit insurance coverage on bank deposits from $100,000 to $250,000 for each individual. Again this afternoon, Obama stated in a speech that this is a moment of national emergency in which the parties must come together to pass a bailout package immediately.

Obama’s move into the middle of the bailout deal fray is a marked shift from his campaign’s prior strategy over the last two weeks to stay away from direct, specific support for the bailout deal. To an objective observer, it appears that Obama is now making his move to the center on the bailout to appear presidential in a time of crisis and as leading the charge to a solution after yesterday’s failed vote and fear spreading throughout the American public and world. As overseas markets stabilized overnight and stock market is strongly up today, Obama is well-positioned to claim his shift in position made a significant difference.

Historians and independent minded voters will ponder whether or not the Obama campaign moved behind the scenes to scuttle the vote yesterday with last-minute manuveoring by the Democrats. Indeed, had the bill passed yesterday, McCain would likely have been perceived as the dealmaker who brought about bipartisan consensus with the suspension of his campaign. The actual moment-to-moment breakdown of yesterday’s vote and the last week of negotiations provide evidence both ways of the Obama campaign’s intent, or lack thereof, to scuttle the yesterday’s vote.

As a starting point, recall that last week very few House Republicans supported the bailout. At that time, congressional Democrats had been negotiating almost exclusively with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and excluding the House GOP from the talks on the bailout. On Tuesday of last week, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid directly called on McCain to “produce” House GOP votes for the package and lead:

We need, now, the Republicans to start producing some votes for us. We need the Republican nominee for president to let us know where he stands and what we should do.

Also, early last week Pelosi announced that she would not push through the bailout package unless a majority of the House GOP supported the package. Sensing the potential for catastrophic defeat, Paulson then called upon McCain to get involved in the dealmaking process to bring along a significant portion of the House GOP.

McCain, being McCain, reacted dramatically to Paulson’s call and suspended his campaign the next day to focus on on pushing for a deal and a White House meeting with all congressional leaders and both candidates present. Obama, after rebuffing McCain’s request to jointly suspend campaign operations to deal with the crisis and delay the first debate, agreed Wednesday night to President Bush’s request to attend a Thursday White House meeting.

As McCain was touching down in DC on Wednesday, Democratic Committee Leaders Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, along with Paulson and a liberal GOP senator, announced that a bailout deal was reached. National media outlets cooperated and reported the bailout was a done deal. Objectively speaking, this reporting was clearly not grounded in reality as House GOP leaders had in no way signaled support for the Dodd-Paulson draft agreement and Pelosi had made clear that without that support, the House would not pass the bailout. Regardless, the media narrative reported that McCain had “blown up” the deal by arriving in Washington on Thursday afternoon, and Reid reversed himself by stating that McCain should stay out of town.

From a centrist, independent perspective, it is not hard to extrapolate Reid’s change in position as reactive to McCain’s bold suspension move and at the behest of the Obama campaign. Additionally, the hastily arranged news conferences on Wednesday to present the Dodd-Paulson deal were intended by the Obama campaign to undercut McCain’s move and paint him as reducing bipartisanship by “injecting presidential politics”.

The Dodd-Paulson draft was the product of negotiations between Paulson and the Democrats, and included many poison pills which made significant GOP support impossible. Such poison pill provisions included the now-infamous directive to provide 20% of any profit from any individual transaction under the bailout legislation to two federal trust funds, which hand out grants to organizations such as ACORN.

The turning point in the negotiations occurred on Thursday night at the White House, where Bush, McCain, Obama and congressional leaders from both parties convened a meeting about the bailout package. By the time of the meeting, in response to the Dodd-Paulson “deal”, the House GOP had released an alternative plan which would allow for banks to purchase federal insurance for the mortgage assets instead of Paulson’s plan to purchase the toxic mortgage assets directly. Bush began the meeting by yielding to Pelosi and Reid, who then yielded to Obama.

Obama expounded on the virtues of the Dodd-Paulson deal and attacked House GOP leader John Boehner for disrupting the Dodd-Paulson deal with his alternative proposals. Amazingly, Obama reportedly used talking points against the House GOP proposal leaked by Paulson to Goldman Sachs and then by Goldman Sachs to Obama. Boehner defended his proposals, and the meeting quickly devolved into a shouting match amongst the participants. The fallacy of the “deal” announced by Dodd, Frank and Paulson that afternoon was exposed and the meeting broke up in acrimony with an agreement to restart negotiations with a House GOP negotiator on board.

Thereafter, the House GOP leadership whip Roy Blunt was included in negotiations by congressional Democrats over the weekend and some of the more onerous provisions to conservatives were removed, such as the ACORN funding vehicle noted above and a provision that would allow bankruptcy judges to reduce principal and interest of defaulted mortgages without lender consent. The mortgage insurance alternative pushed by Blunt was included in the package, but only as an option as Paulson would not be compelled to use this option. Three other key provisions pushed by the GOP, an end to the “mark to market” requirement for valuation of assets (a return to a three year average in SEC reporting instead of a snapshot market valuation), a rise in the FDIC cap from $100,000 to $250,000.00 and temporary cuts in capital gains and inflow taxes were left out of the deal.

Negotiations dragged on over the weekend until all sides emerged late Saturday night with congressional Democrats again announcing a deal was in place while Blunt said he was “optimistic” but wanted to see the final text produced by the Democrats. A GOP aide added this tepid statement: “I’m not sure yet we can sell it to our conference, but I’m 100 percent sure that this is the best deal we could.”

After some jostling on the Sunday talk shows between campaign surrogates and personal appearances by McCain (“This Week”) and Obama (“Face the Nation”), a media consensus developed that the passage of the bailout deal was likely, if not inevitable. Both Obama and McCain claimed some credit. Indeed, top campaign strategists Steve Schmidt (McCain) and David Axelrod (Obama) squared off on the issue of who should get credit for creating the consensus needed to reach a deal, with Axelrod dismissing any productive role by McCain as “fiction”.

By Sunday night, the Obama campaign was certainly analyzing whether a passage of the Dodd-Blunt Saturday night deal would help or hurt his and McCain’s campaign. With the dire economic news dominating the headlines, Obama had been benefitting greatly in national and state polling, moving from a slight McCain lead to a small but significant Obama lead. The passage of the Dodd-Blunt compromise on Monday afternoon would have surely lead to a gigantic market rally and an intense focus on how each candidate contibuted over the last two weeks to fashion the solution.

Additionally, passage on Monday would have likely moved the severity of the immediate crisis from dominence over the campaign. While Obama’s campaign was already claiming some credit on the Sunday shows, internal polling may have indicated that McCain would be perceived positively as rallying support by delivering a critical bipartisan bill at a time of crisis should the bill pass and calm the markets. Up to this point, the Obama campaign had been successful in painting McCain as “blowing up” the Dodd-Paulson deal while slowing down subsequent negotiations by “injecting presidential politics”.

An analysis of the action on Monday is inconclusive as to whether Obama intentionally scuttled the House’s passage of the Dodd-Blunt package, with evidence on both sides.

Time reports some facts, albeit with a predictably liberal spin, regarding Monday’s vote in the House:

But the two parties have different accounts of what led up to the vote. Two Republican recollections of the same conversation had Blunt informing Hoyer that they were short — Blunt counted 60-some GOP votes and was hopeful they could get as many as 75 — and that Democrats would have to make up the rest. Four Democratic sources dispute this version, insisting they were always promised between 80-90 GOP votes — still short of the 100 votes that would make up a majority of House Republicans, but enough to qualify as a bipartisan victory.

But even some Republicans remarked that their leaders didn’t seem to be trying too hard to get the votes. There wasn’t “some of the bursting of arms that I’ve seen in some votes over the past 12 years,” said Rep. Chip Pickering, a Mississippi Republican. Why wouldn’t there be a harder push on such a crucial bill? “The leaders knew people have deeply held convictions on this,” Pickering said. “Everyone knew what the stakes were.”

And the stakes become even clearer once the tally started at 1:27 Monday afternoon. By 1:51, 227 members had voted against it – nine votes more than the 218 majority. By 2:02 p.m. Hoyer and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the No. 4 House Democrat, were in animated discussions on the Republican side of the chamber with Boehner and Blunt. Hoyer “was running around in there saying, ‘The market is falling! The market is falling!'” said Scott Garrett, a New Jersey Republican. Faced with a major GOP shortfall, Democrats refused to force 12 of their members to change their votes for a bill that they had just spent the past week renegotiating in order to garner Republican support, dropping several provisions important to Democrats. By 2:05 the vote was done, failing to pass by a margin of 228-205. In the end, Republicans delivered 37%, or 65 of their 199 members, compared to 60% of House Democrats who voted for President Bush’s “rescue” plan.

An aide to No. 4 Democratic House Leader Raul Emanuel commented that “We wanted enough to put the pressure on the Republicans and Congressman Emanuel was charged with making it close enough. He did a great job.” Accordingly, the Democratic leadership itself confirms that vote totals for the bill were kept down to increase pressure on Republicans to support the bill, notwithstanding Blunt’s call to Hoyer earlier in the day stating that Blunt’s count was in the 60’s for GOP support.

It must be noted that Emanuel was a board member of Fannie Mae, and may be concerned about a potential McCain Department of Justice engaging in a widespread Fannie Mae investigation as he was a board member. Furthermore, Emanuel is born of Illinois politics, as is Obama, and has taken a role as a lead Obama surrogate since the end of the primaries when Emanuel supported Clinton and is clearly taking his marching orders from Obama.

Another piece of evidence which weighs against Obama intentionally blowing up the Dodd-Blunt deal is the release of Obama’s Monday remarks prior to his speech. Those remarks appeared to assume that the bailout had passed – once it failed, Obama’s actual speech was altered to reflect that reality. On the other hand, that release could have been gamesmanship by Obama’s campaign to disprove the potential accusation that he killed the bill before they were made.

The role of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the failure of Monday’s bailout package cannot be overstated, and Pelosi is certainly taking her marching orders from Obama as well. Incredibly, an aide to House Democratic leadership noted that Pelosi essentially ordered Democratic Whip James Clyburn to not do his job rounding up votes:

“Clyburn was not whipping the votes you would have expected him to, in part because he was uncomfortable doing it, in part because we didn’t want the push for votes to be successful,” says one leadership aide. “All we needed was enough to potentially get us over the finish line, but we wanted the Republicans to be the ones to do it. This was not going to be a Democrat-passed bill if the Speaker had anything to say about it.”

Pelosi’s final contributions as Speaker to move this legislation bear mentioning: railing against the House GOP members on Saturday for being “unpatriotic” for not engaging in bailout negotiations earlier (notwithstanding the fact that Democratic leadership froze out the House GOP) and moments before the vote Monday, giving a blisteringly partisan speech on the House floor attacking the GOP and Bush, dovetailing nicely with Obama’s claim that the crisis was the “final verdict” on Bush and GOP deregulation policies. In an odd moment of symmetry with Obama’s later speech, Pelosi’s partisan comments were deviations from the remarks issued by Pelosi’s office that morning and up to an hour after she spoke.

Most of Pelosi’s closest congressional allies from California voted against the bailout, and a third of the Democrats on the committee which wrote the bill (12 of 37) voted against the bailout. Almost all freshman Democratic House members voted against the bill with Pelosi’s blessing just as voting began, as did many of Pelosi’s House committee leaders. Many fence-sitters on the GOP side saw this early voting action and Pelosi’s attack speech as the straw that broke the camel’s back and lead them to vote against the package.

Furthermore, a majority (23-16) of the all-Democratic Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) voted against the bailout, despite the fact that few CBC members face competitive elections in November and Obama has considerable sway over the caucus. Indeed, even Obama’s national campaign chairman, close ally and Chicago-based Illinois Democrat Jesse Jackson, Jr. voted against the bill. Accordingly, it stands to reason that if Obama wanted to push the bailout package through, he could have called upon his close allies in the CBC or at least national campaign chairman Jackson to support the package – but Obama did not expend that political capital.

At the end of the day, McCain and the House GOP leadership was only able to garner 65 votes for the Dodd-Blunt bailout package. McCain’s Arizona House contingent all voted against the bailout as well, perhaps indicating the lack of McCain’s ability to corral votes. McCain did make calls on Sunday pushing the package to House GOP members.

At the moment of truth, Democratic leadership refused to force 12 of its members to switch their votes and the bill failed, creating a market free fall to the largest single day point loss in Dow Jones history. The resultant headlines clearly favored Obama, as McCain was ridiculed for being unable to garner enough House GOP support to pass the package. Had the package passed, even if only with the same 65 House GOP votes, McCain would clearly be in a position to claim some credit and the economic crisis would be declining in importance.

Taken together, the evidence outlined above does not conclusively prove whether Obama’s campaign did or did not intentionally scuttle yesterday’s vote, and it is likely no conclusive evidence will ever emerge. However, the fact that so many close allies of Obama’s voted against the bill, the mudslinging by Pelosi moments before the vote and Emanuel’s choking off of additional Democratic votes support the theory that the Obama campaign made a conscious decision to scuttle the bailout package Monday.

Obama clearly benefits from the continued dominance of the economic crisis on the media narrative of the campaign, and Obama’s newfound full-throated endorsement of the bailout after it’s failure yesterday indicates that Obama now wants the bailout to pass and the credit to accrue to him and not John McCain. Fear is now spreading through Main Street America and Obama may indeed be seen as the saviour of the economy with his new push, while the GOP is perceived as at fault for Monday’s failure. Whether Obama intentionally scuttled the vote Monday or not, the bill’s failure and his new strategy is likely to succeed in continuing his rise in the polls while foreclosing any chance that McCain can quickly regain the momentum and perhaps the Presidency.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bailout Vote Fails – Dow Crashes – Arm Twisting Ongoing

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Washington, D.C. shocked the markets just now as the vote on the bailout package failed 228-205, with one nonvote. Critics continue to tout alternative rescue strategies to the bailout which would not use taxpayer money to purchase the mortgage securities. The Dow Jones average dipped almost 700 points just as the “nay” votes passed the critical halfway point of 217 points, and is now stabilizing at approximately 450 points down at 10,700.

Already, two votes have switched to “yea”, and that count now stands 226-208. Right now, behind the scenes, the game of chicken between Pelosi and Boehner continues as another 11 votes are needed to switch to pass the bill. Whether the bill passes today or not will set the political agenda for the candidates the battle may take the focus off of McCain’s newly aggressive strategy outlined in his speech today.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,