Not since the Cataline Conspiracy has a revolt fizzled out so quickly. Congressional Republicans are sending this gem around to justify their support for a “renegotiated” bailout. Here’s the choicest excerpt:
Myth: Blank check for $700 billion with little accountability.
Fact: In general, the Treasury Secretary is limited to purchasing up to $250 billion outstanding at any one time. If the Treasury needs to use another $100 billion, the President must certify this action and report to Congress. Further spending requires Congressional action.
Excellent! The Treasury Secretary can only spend $350 billion of our money without Congressional approval. I feel better already . . .
Meanwhile, Senator Straight-Talk is desperately trying to take credit for the bill in the least subtle way possible:
I did the best that I could. I came back because I wasn’t going to phone it in. America is in a crisis of almost unprecedented proportions. I should be doing whatever little I can to help this process. I’m a Teddy Roosevelt Republican. I got to get in the arena when America needs it, and if that judgment wants to be made whether I helped or hurt, I’ll be glad to accept the judgment of history. But I’m never going to not get engaged when the taxpayers and middle class of America are in danger of losing everything literally that they’ve worked all their lives for. I’m going to be out working on it. I won’t claim a bit of credit, okay, if that makes them feel better. But I’m going to be there working and trying to help solve this crisis.
After opportunistically selflessly rushing back to Washington to ensure the bailout is rammed through at top speed, I sure am grateful for his presence in the arena.
UPDATE: Now that I think about it, McCain’s “judgment of history” formulation is strangely reminiscent of Bush’s response to the Iraq debacle. Here’s Bush on his legacy:
History will be the judge of an admnistration and I– when you make tough decisions like I had to make, you obviously ruffle some feathers and I can understand why people would disagree with some of the decisions I made.
As always, acting forcefully takes precedence over prudence, caution, and deliberation. Trivial details like the correctness of your position can be left to the historians.