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September 29, 2008
I Just Don't Get It

Talking to a random Republican passerby a few minutes ago, I mentioned the stock market's bad day and the connection to the defeat of the bailout plan. Before I even had a chance to add that I don't think it's a great plan, he burst into furious speech.

It's the Democrats' fault. They didn't vote for the bill and now they don't support the bill. It's all the Democrats' fault. The Republicans don't matter and don't count--they have no votes in Congress, the Democrats control everything and are responsible for the mess.

Before you run away with the idea that this was some backwoods hillbilly with no clue of how the country is run, I should mention that this man is an investment/mortgage banker.

Someone tell me how, on a vote where 140 Democrats and 65 Republicans voted "yes" and 133 Republicans and 95 Democrats voted "no," any sane person can believe that the Republicans had nothing to do with the plan failing?

Granted, on a pure, party-line vote, the bill would have passed, but this wasn't a party-line vote. Nothing about this proposed bailout is falling along party lines, nothing about the discussion has been along party lines up until now, and it was obvious that the vote would not be along strict party lines.

A couple of hours after the vote, the simple facts of which are in your face on every news outlet in the country, this man was furiously declaiming things that were a contradiction of the simple facts.

I just don't understand how seemingly sane people find it so easy to believe things that are demonstrably untrue. How they find it so easy to believe the opposite of the simple facts.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:53 PM


You're expecting informed commentary from a banker? these people are the worst: narrow-visioned, authoritarian, risk-averse (one way or another, they'll get paid, even if you're out of money), grasping....

Many Republicans don't understand why Democrats don't have the voting discipline of Republicans; Democrats don't understand that Republican voting discipline is reserved for issues that Republicans care about.

Posted by: Ahistoricality at September 29, 2008 09:53 PM

I'll admit that I think of a banker as someone 90% likely to be Republican and yet with reasonable intelligence.

Now that I write that down and look at it, remember the financial crisis we're in at the moment, I wonder at my own silliness.

Posted by: Anne at September 30, 2008 08:26 AM

Also? Your second paragraph.

That sort of thing is why Democrats have freedom but Republicans have power.

(Or, maybe I mean to say that that sort of things proves that Democrats love freedom while Republicans love power?)

Posted by: Anne at September 30, 2008 08:27 AM

Let me 'splain. According to some observers, it appears Pelosi caught wind of the groundswell of public disapproval and in the last hours before voting torpedoed the bill. She didn't want it to pass with a 'Democrat supported' tag. Might be bad for elections. So she did two things - she ticked off Republicans by blaming them for the mess in a speech, and them noticeably failed to provide any pressure to her own party members.

Your banker friend has probably been reading those observers. As for me, I think that's probably a true account, but I'm pleased the thing failed regardless of how it happened.

Posted by: Walter at September 30, 2008 10:13 PM

She didn't want it to pass with a 'Democrat supported' tag. Might be bad for elections.

Yeah, I always vote against the party which saves the economy.

(No, I don't think the bill would have entirely done the job, but in the short-term, at least, it would have provided psychological support and credit liquidity)

The "ticked off Republicans" thing is a myth -- there's not a Republican in congress who'll admit to being one of the crybabies -- created to cover the Republican leadership failure to provide the votes they thought they could deliver. Newt Gingrich had nothing to do with it, right?

Posted by: Ahistoricality at October 1, 2008 07:04 AM

Thanks for the explanation, Walter. As always, I'm glad to find someone willing to 'splain to me when I'm too busy or too lazy to go learn for myself. :)

Personally, I found Pelosi's little speech odd and out of context. I'm not sure if she was deliberately torpedoing the bill or if she just couldn't resist taking a cheap shot.

I had another chance to talk, quite briefly, with the aforementioned banker. I've decided he's one of those people who covers up the depth of their ignorance by reading the headlines and blustering loudly.

Posted by: Anne at October 3, 2008 08:17 AM

I'm not sure about that Ahistoricality. It's actually true that the bill was amazingly unpopular in a way that crossed party lines.

I've talked to people all over the political spectrum who didn't like it, although for different reasons.

'Ordinary' people didn't see why corporations who do stupid things get bailed out but people don't.

Borrowers who got stuck in bad loans (i.e., where they didn't understand the terms well enough when they signed) didn't want the lenders "rewarded" with a bailout when they, the individual, were facing bankruptcy and homelessness.

People who weren't involved in the whole mort gage meltdown didn't see why anyone was getting bailed out, when the least-informed Person On The Street had been saying for several years that both the lenders and the borrowers were setting themselves up for a disaster.

And then a lot of people pointed to Iraq and said we can no longer afford to take care of ourselves because we've already spent all of our disposable income for many years to come.

Those, I should point out, are the opinions of the Lefter people I know. The Righter people are either delusional Small Government types or business owners who are too busy contemplating the ruins of their personal business environment to weigh in on the topic.

Posted by: Anne at October 3, 2008 08:26 AM

I've seen lots of people who didn't like it -- heck, I didn't like the original Paulson plan and said so very publicly (and my Congressional Rep voted against the bill that came to the floor, so you get what you deserve, sometimes) -- but that doesn't mean that it wouldn't have worked.

"Effective" and "just and fair" are not always the same thing especially in economic terms.

We Americans have a weird relationship with our economy, which I do not have the time, energy or brainpower to figure out just now.

Posted by: Ahistoricality at October 3, 2008 11:57 AM