Friday, September 26, 2008

Inside scoop

A Washington insider dishes:
Best I can tell, there are only 2 elected people in Washington who are enthusiastic for a bailout: Bush and Dodd (and maybe Frank and maybe Reid). Everyone else in any sort of leadership position is --- at best --- willing to go along but not particularly supportive. This includes McCain, Obama, and Pelosi. The rank and file are either worried and searching for cover (Dem Senate), scared to death and searching for cover (Dem House, most of GOP Senate), trying to fundamentally alter the package (Lieberman, Cantwell, Byrd), actively in opposition (Boenher, rest of GOP House), or actively in revolt (Shelby, Bunning, Pence, etc.). What this means, I don't know. But I do know that bailout electoral ramifications are impossible to divine right now. It could pass or not. It could be called a democratic or GOP initiative. The credit market could seize up or not. It could be considered a "success" or not. We could know before the election or not. There are just too many variables.

There are more than 450 votes that could go either way right now, and it has little to do with what's in the actual bill. It's crazy on Capitol Hill. My lasting image of yesterday is being in a meeting in the Senate and just seeing people running around, everywhere.

So I don't think McCain's (or Obama's) role in the bailout can yet be electorally implicated. Heck, McCain could easily end up leading the charge against the final bailout deal.
Very well-stated summary of who matters and who doesn't on the Hill. I suppose that McCain could emerge from this as the 'winner' but if so, it will have been from dumb luck, not from a Belichickian (or Machiavellian, if you prefer) planning-five-moves-ahead standpoint, and certainly not from a 'actually leading the charge to produce a bill that helps Americans' perspective.