If this were a carnival, no one would pay to see the show. Since it is the economy and the election, we can't stop looking. I still don't know how to react to all that has gone on in the past week, but I was driving around today and listening to Limbaugh on one station and Robinette on another, and I came up with these thoughts:
- The boy who cried wolf: Whatever ends up happening, George W. Bush's legacy is in the potty. After the WMD, the Katrina response, Enron, Harriet Miers, Alberto Gonzoles, wiretapping and now - telling us for months the economy was fine, then doing a 180 and telling us that the sky is falling in the last week if Wall Street didn't get $700 billion USD no strings attached? No wonder the American people responded so negatively to "the plan." The White House should have been more concerned with a "credibility freeze" than a "credit freeze."
- The Vast Pelosi Conspiracy: This is what Limbaugh has been chirping about all day. The Democrats set this whole thing up to make Republicans look bad and win the elections in the fall. They want "as much economic chaos as possible" and have been able to manufacture a crisis within the last two weeks. Let us ignore the fact that the $700B USD "plan" was loathed by the American people on the face of things, and inconcievably put the Democratic leadership in the House, the Senate and the current Democratic candidate for President on the same "fundamental understanding" page as the current incumbent, credibility challenged Republican President who's legacy is going down the sewer. Let us also ignore the fact that these Democrats couldn't set up a game of chess if more than three of them were involved, much less set up something like this.
- The Word on Esplanade Avenue: May not be Main Street, USA, but it is close enough. The Republicans I have talked to have been of two minds when it comes to "the plan." The majority: F Wall Street in the A. The minority: write the check with no strings attached. Yesterday and this morning, every Repbulican and conservative I spoke to was cheering the failure of the bill right up until I asked them how their portfolios or retirement was doing today. Then they started yelling about Democrats from 1994, as if the current year is 1995. The Democrats and Liberals I spoke with were wondering how they ended up on the same side of this thing with George W. Bush and against the House Republicans.
- House of Cards: Garland Robinette was discussing the competency of our House leadership today. Why would they have called a vote if they didn't know who was voting for or against it? This one is easy - under pressure to find a solution that would unfreeze credit markets before the market opened on Monday, the leadership had announced that a deal had been reached. The party whips probably had some preliminary numbers suggesting that members in mostly safe seats would vote for this stinker of a plan and members in hot seats would vote against. This would give the bill enough votes to pass but keep the political hopes of incumbents in hotly contested elections alive. But every prosecutor facing multiple defendants knows that the case gets made quickly by playing defendants against one another. Every "Nay" vote that came across caused a panic in the late voters, and Reps. started to re-think how secure their seat really was. By the end, the hemmorage of votes (and I'm sure the Democrats expected more of their caucus to vote for it as well) ended up with the bill failing by only 12 votes overall. That this stinky poo-sandwich of a bill only failed by 12 votes is a testament to both Parties' leaders spanking their membership into line. In the end, the score does not correctly reflect the game.
- Fallout: $1.2 Trillion USD of wealth vanished yesterday. Vaporized, as one financial analyst on CNN was saying. To revert to an earlier theme, such wealth obviously didn't have a whole lot of reality backing it up, another place where a "credibility freeze" is hurting us. Luckily, if said wealth was able to be vaporized without the aid of atomic weapons destroying really real assets, we have the chance to imagine ourselves up another $1.2 Trillion USD in relatively short order. I'm sure Wall Street is working on how to do that right. now.