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Wise words from Megan McArdle on Nancy Pelosi's failure of leadership yesterday on the bailout vote:
Pelosi screwed up royally. She is the Democratic Tom DeLay. Newt Gingrich was an ideologue, but Tom DeLay was simply a partisan, most keenly interested in maximizing his party's political power. Pelosi cut a deal in which, as far as I can tell, every single Republican in a safe seat had to vote yes so that the Democrats could maximize their no votes. Given that the Republican caucus is pretty much in open revolt, this was beyond moronic. She then spent a week openly and repeatedly blaming the Republicans and the Bush administration for the current crisis. The way she set things up, it was "Heads I win, tails you lose": vote for the deal and I'll paint you as heartless reactionaries bailing out our fat cat friends. If you're going to do that, you'd better make sure you have some goddamn margin for error in your own party. She didn't. Then she got up and delivered yet another speech blaming the Republicans for the bailout deal she was about to pass.
As Karl Rove said on the radio yesterday, there were a number of Democrats Pelosi should have been able to win over had she tried:
I think criticism of Pelosi would have gained a lot more traction had House Republicans simply voted against the bill out of principle. But the Republicans trotted out a petulant argument that some members voted against the bill because Pelosi gave a partisan speech prior to the vote. And their folly rather than Pelosi's failure of leadership understandably became the center of attention.