Tuesday, September 30, 2008

1st Bail-Out Vote Fails


The vote on the bail-out in Congress today (09/29/08) was an interesting piece of politics. I think the Republicans wanted to push the Democrats into carrying the bill, so they could return to their constituents with the words "Tax & Spend Democrats" on their lips. With voter phone calls evidently averaging something like 99:1 against the bill, the Republicans teetering on the edge of losing their fights for re-election wanted to make voting for the bill an election issue. The hard political reality of this economic meltdown is that as each day goes by, the Republicans have less and less to run on. They want support for this bill, which is wildly unpopular, to be the responsibility of the Democratic party, not the result of Republican infatuation with Reaganomics & unilateral "diplomacy".

However, Pelosi reminded everyone in a speech made before the vote, that this was a bill to begin to repair the complete failure of Republican-backed economic policy over the last eight years. By doing so, Pelosi signaled to the Republicans that the Democrats made their votes under protest. Then when it became obvious that Republicans were not keeping up their side of the effort, she refused to push the bill through without at least 1/3 of the support coming from Republicans. Now they are saying that the speech she made is the reason the bill didn't go through, when the reality is that the Republicans are no longer a house in order. The bill was drafted by their man in the Whitehouse! How could they not vote as a party in support of this bill?

Frugality? Worries about spending tax-payer money irresponsibly? Eight years and a $10trillion budget deficit later and the Republicans are suddenly getting frugal with tax-payer cash?

140 Democrats to 65 Republicans voted for the bill. That's a sad statement on the power of the current President AND the optimism within the party that Republicans are going to do well in the upcoming election. Check out this detailed breakdown of the vote, and you will see that the Republicans voting "no" were the ones locked in the closest contests.

Mets are gone. Shea is gone. Long live Citi Field - or whatever its name will be after all this is over.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Presidential Debate #1, September 26, 2008

regular people

I am 100% all about being politically involved, but in the current epoch, when candidates do so little in public that isn't scripted, the extemporaneous speaking skills in a Presidential debate are a painful display. A Congressional debate on CSPAN is an opera compared to a Presidential debate. And I mean in no way to diminish the importance of a Presidential debate, or the chance for everyone with a television set or a computer screen to see and hear the candidates. But politicians these days, with very few exceptions, are really sorely tested to sound like they are in control of their ideas, even if their ideas are good ones and even if their ideas are indeed of their own making.

The debate ends up being a bit like NASCAR where everyone is sitting around waiting for someone to hit the wall and burst into flames. Like as not, if you are a Jeff Gordon fan at the beginning of the race, you are a Jeff Gordon fan at the end of it.

But civic duty is not easy, I suppose, nor perhaps should it be. So we watch, listen, scratch our heads, and add up the pluses & the minuses along the way. And the politicians, good soldiers that they are, go unsteadily forward while trying to avoid the walls and the flames.

Mets lose 6-1 to the Florida Marlins. You could hear Jerry Manuel's teeth grinding on the radio.