Thursday, September 25, 2008

On monday Atrios linked to Josh Marshall while claiming pride of place for making the argument first. Here's the argument, from Ed Kilgore:
For McCain and other Republicans, voting "no" on Paulson without accepting the consequences of that vote is the political equivalent of a bottomless crack pipe: it will please the conservative "base," distance them from both Bush and "Washington," and let them indulge in both anti-government and anti-corporate demagoguery, even as Democrats bail out their Wall Street friends and big investors generally. You simply can't imagine a better way for McCain to decisively reinforce his simultaneous efforts to pander to the "base" while posing as a "maverick."

Democrats are right to demand significant substantive concessions before offering their support for the Paulson Plan. But just as importantly, they need to demand Republican votes in Congress, including the vote of John McCain. If this is going to be a "bipartisan" relief plan, it has to be fully bipartisan, not an opportunity for McCain to count on Obama and other Democrats to save the economy while exploiting their sense of responsibility to win the election for the party that let this crisis occur in the first place.
Digby responds
He's right. If they go this way, McCain gets to distance himself from Bush by standing on the sidelines wielding a phony pitchfork while Obama, as the head of the Democratic party and thus the leader of the congress, gets splashed in all this muck. It's quite ingenious and a very possible scenario in my opinion.
I posted a comment at Kilgore's site and another the next day, both stating the obvious: that if the democrats had not betrayed their principles years ago they would not have to run against their new ones now. The era of small government in this country ended more than a century ago. The post office is big government; highways are big government; the military is big government; earmarks are big government. The Republicans live off it and lie about it. And the choice now is not between big and small but between responsible and irresponsible, and the Republicans have given us the latter. The Democrats have abetted them in that in word and less so at least in action. Bill Clinton ended welfare as we knew it, and to many of us that was a mistake, if not worse. But he didn't destroy FEMA. He was not an incompetent and a promulgator or ideologist of incompetence. The Democrats need to bring the fight to the Republicans, even if it means running against their own recent history. If they are afraid to do that, if they're afraid to take responsibility, then they'll need to worry about taking the blame.
I made that argument twice- the second more directly- and it didn't pass the guard.

I don't know enough to say whether we need to be in a rush, but I tend to think that's not the important question. The markets run on perception, and the perception of panic is the biggest danger. Of course for the republicans panic is a strategy to get them what they want. Panic is a tool: the defense of the decision in Bush v Gore.
Atrios on WaMu,
No, the fact that a highly regulated bank was, as prescribed by law and regulation, seized in an orderly fashioned and sold off with no cost to taxpayers is in no way a "wake-up call" suggesting that Congress needs to give large amounts of money to the largely unregulated shadow banking system

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