House Minority Leader John Boehner told reporters this afternoon that Speaker Nancy Pelosi's pre-vote floor speech sapped GOP willingness to step up and vote for the failed financial bailout bill. Boehner said Pelosi's remarks were too partisan and "poisoned our conference." You can follow the link above to judge the speech for yourself, but here's a representatively fiery snippet, re: the size of the package.
It is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush Administration's failed economic policies-policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system.
Democrats immediately hit back at the Minority Leader's argument, saying they brought in the votes they had promised, and the Republicans basically wimped out and failed to hold up their end of the bargain. Here's Rep. Barney Frank, the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, responding to Boehner:
"Well if that stopped people from voting, then shame on them," he said. "If people's feelings were hurt because of a speech and that led them to vote differently than what they thought the national interest (requires), then they really don't belong here. They're not tough enough."
Wisconsin Democrat David Obey's take: "I guess the Republican leadership is so weak John Boehner couldn't deliver 50 percent of the votes."
Partisan sniping aside, it is clear that no GOP luminary was able to gin up the votes to make this deal happen — not the President, not the House leadership, and not even nominee John McCain, who suspended his campaign last week in a highly visible effort to bring House Republicans on board with the compromise.
This morning in Columbus, OH, McCain seemed awfully optimistic about the plan's prospects — almost appearing to take credit for the proposed bill:
I put my campaign on hold for a couple days last week to fight for a rescue plan that put you and your economic security first. I fought for a plan that protected taxpayers, homeowners, consumers and small business owners.
I went to Washington last week to make sure that the taxpayers of Ohio and across this great country were not left footing the bill for mistakes made on Wall Street and in Washington.
Senator Obama took a very different approach to the crisis our country faced. At first he didn't want to get involved. Then he was "monitoring the situation." That's not leadership, that's watching from the sidelines.
After the bill's failure, the McCain campaign released a statement blaming Obama for "fail[ing] to lead," and echoing Boehner's Pelosi criticisms, culminating with this:
This bill failed because Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country.
The Obama campaign's response:
This is a moment of national crisis, and today's inaction in Congress as well as the angry and hyper-partisan statement released by the McCain campaign are exactly why the American people are disgusted with Washington.