Sitting in our living room last night, quietly caring for our newborn daughter, we were watching news reports about the bailout rejection and the corresponding stock market drop. Both cable news organizations screamed bloody murder and blamed Democrats for screwing everything up; predictably, the talking heads all pointed fingers at the House leadership for failing to secure the necessary votes to pass the legislation. Nowhere do I remember anyone actually tallying the votes for us to hear.
Later, I made a trip to the grocery store during which I listened to the BBC World Service on NPR. The commentator quickly summed up the actual facts: a majority of Republican legislators in the house voted against the bill, and a majority of Democrats voted for it. So how is that a Democratic failure? Especially when most news services are now saying that a flood of angry pressure from constituents opposed to the bill played a crucial role in its defeat?
While I don’t want to see our flawed, jury-rigged economic system collapse under its own bloated weight, I do wish there was some way to resolve the situation without having to pay to prop up the institutions that have brought it so close to collapse. I do hope that the final bill presented to and passed by the House has provisions for binding oversight and regulation; it’s been made pretty plain in the last six months that the free-market system isn’t so free.