| Comments 
| Category: House of Reps.
| 9/28/2008 10:55:59 PM CT
I've traversed through page 76 of the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008," and have learned relatively little about how the actual bill will effect the current economic situation. The text is very dense and appears to be written by multiple parties, comprehension suffers as a result of both. I am by no means an expert on legislation, so for now I'd like to focus on the political impact rather than the substance.
After McCain's galactic stunt last week he's politically obligated to vote for whatever bill arrives on the Senate floor; and the Democratic leadership knows this. There are two paths this bill can go down, neither road is good for McCain. If the Democrats play their cards right they can turn McCain's opportunism into a disaster. I'll start by arbitrarily assuming the Democratic leadership supports the bill's content.
If the Democrats want the bill to pass, the bill will pass. Under this pretense we can assume that the bill leans left and would likely be supported, at least ideologically by Obama. We already know that McCain has to vote for the bill which leaves Obama in an interesting situation. If the vote follows party lines and McCain supports the bill, Obama's vote is not essential for passage. Using the fact that most American's do not support a financial bailout of Wall Street, Obama could publicly denounce the bailout while pinning the final result on McCain. This brilliant tactic would play extremely well among independents and may create dissonance amongst McCain's base.
The second path includes some theatrics by the Democratic leadership, perhaps they are faking their support. If they force the bill to the House floor knowing they have the votes to kill it, the Senate vote is simply irrelevant. It would take at least another week to sort through additional agreements causing the economic cloud to loom over the presidential race for yet another week. If the vote doesn't matter in the Senate Obama can do whatever he wants, he can vote for it, he can vote against, he doesn't even have to take a position. If the bill falters in the House, McCain will be held responsible for the failed compromise. A stalled bailout falls directly into Obama's narrative. The issue dominates until the VP debate, forcing Palin to answer economic questions; something she knows nothing about. If the topic is the economy and Palin cannot pull through, John McCain's campaign is over.
I really don't see both sides mutually agreeing to the resolution, but tomorrow's polls may dictate what route the bill follows; if Obama gets a huge boost from the debate, the bill will likely pass, if not the Democrats will try and further damage McCain's stock, whatever form that takes.
The House vote is scheduled for Monday, and the Senate's on Wednesday. I hope to have some additional commentary on the bill's content tomorrow.
The Bailout Bill: First Impressions
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