01 October 2008

The Senatorial Bailout

Yesterday, Senator Clinton conducted a conference call for New York state newspapers. "While I despise the position we find ourselves in as a country, I would have voted for the package" that failed in the House of Representatives, she said. She told the locals that she was ready to vote for a revised plan as soon as possible, because "The markets are making it clear this is way beyond Wall Street and something has to be done and they are counting on the political system to get that done."

According to the Troy Record, Clinton compared the crisis to the case of "a drunk driver who just caused an accident. The first thing anyone does is call the ambulance and get everyone involved patched up, including the drunk driver, and they you find out what happened and start dolling [sic] out tickets. 'You don't stop and say let's hold this guy accountable while he is bleeding all over the ground,' she said."

In that spirit the Senate met today to consider a bill newly burdened with enticements for both sides of the aisle and redesigned to slow the government's expenditure of $700 billion down to three phases. A quarter of the Senate opposed the plan. Dissent came from both parties, and from one of the body's two Independents, Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Here is a Democrat, Maria Cantwell of Washington. The video is a little out of sync, but the picture straightens out fairly promptly.

This is a Republican, Richard Shelby of Alabama. Note that he blames the Democrats for a failure to regulate. This is a jargon-laden version of the liberals-and-poor-people-are-to-blame argument, but he doesn't sound too forgiving toward the banks, either.

And here is another Democrat, Bill Nelson of Florida.

Meanwhile, Senator Obama joined Clinton and the eventual majority in arguing for necessity. His remarks were posted in two parts on You Tube.

Let the record show that Senator McCain voted with Obama without showing the courage to speak for the bill on the Senate floor. He had signalled his support during a campaign speech in Missouri earlier today, but chose to be inconspicuous on the job.

Without passing further judgment, I leave these images here for readers to ponder. Party affiliations didn't determine these people's votes. Nor necessarily did ideology; conservatives voted for and against the bill, as did liberals. Nor, as far as I know, can the final vote be broken down according to who was up for re-election or whose race was more or less competitive. You can judge the arguments on their own merits, but these people at least (and the same might be said of some who voted for the bill despite avalanches of mail from constituents) made an effort to figure the issue out for themselves. However you judge their votes, for once these people behaved as the Founders expected that Senators would.

No comments: