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The Guilfoile-Warner Papers

Sept 30

Somebody missed a real leadership moment yesterday. After the bailout bill failed, John Boehner and Roy Blunt, the top two Republican lawmakers in the House, held a press conference in which they blamed the defeat on a mean speech Nancy Pelosi gave right before the vote. There were about a dozen other congressmen standing behind them for the photo op and if any one of them had taken a rolled up Newsweek and smacked Boehner or Blunt in the back of the head, this morning we would all be calling that guy the next Abe Lincoln. I'm not smart enough to know if this is the best bill we could get, but I know the case-by-case approach wasn't working. I also know that the forces aligned against it are some unlikely, unholy coalition of Ayn Rand ideologues, class warriors, political hacks, and Lou Dobbs. Something comprehensive needs to be done to restore confidence and the really bad news is that Europe's banking crisis is worse than ours and they don't have any plan to fix it at all (funny, but an economic coalition of 27 sovereign governments isn't such a good idea on a rainy day). So despite all the gleeful rhetoric about the diminished standing of the US, the world is looking for us to lead them out of this and our leaders are acting like babies. Actually they're worse than babies. They're acting like 13-year-olds. But Americans are feeling helpless right now and we need them all to forget there's a junior prom in 40 days and start being grown-ups. The bill failed by 12 votes. Two yeas were changed to nays after it was clear the bill wasn't going to pass, so clearly the House leadership knows where the pressure points are on those two guys. Which leaves ten people. Ten individuals who need to be convinced by some combination of choice committee assignments and/or pictures in envelopes addressed to their wives. This isn't a full-blown economic crisis yet, but it is certainly a leadership crisis. They need to get it done before zombie Tip O'Neill and zombie LBJ have to knock down the door and start eating brains. Like the old days.
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