Tuesday 30 September 2008

Washington's blame game

The House of Representatives vote to reject the $700 billion bailout, by 228 votes to 205, has sent shockwaves through the financial markets, hitting London this morning following the dramatic fall in the US in response yesterday.

Efforts are being made to rescue the rescue, but almost as much energy seems to be going into the blame game. House Republicans split two to one (65 to 133) against the bill, though 95 Democrats also opposed it, with 140 (60%) of Democrats in favour. That was about ideological aversion to government intervention - but it was also about electoral politics. Nate Silver's analysis shows that representatives in competitive races voted heavily against.

Still, Republicans want to blame House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for making a partisan speech, though it is hard to credit the idea that this could have swung a dozen Republican votes.

Few have taken John McCain's dramatically erratic interventions in the bailout negotiations seriously - not least because he didn't manage to find time to read the original three page Bill, still less to express a clear view on it. But McCain had already claimed the credit for bringing the House Republicans on board, somewhat prematurely.

And John McCain's latest response - its time to leave the politics out of it, as long as everybody realises that this is the fault of Barack Obama and the Democrats!

Our leaders are expected to leave partisanship at the door and come to the table to solve our problems. Senator Obama and his allies in Congress infused unnecessary partisanship into the process. Now is not the time to fix the blame. It’s time to fix the problem.I would hope that all our leaders, all of them, can put aside short-term political goals and do what’s in the best interest of the American people.

Shameless. But at least it isn't working. The economic crisis has significantly damaged McCain's prospects of winning the White House.

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