Nancy Pelosi has been receiving most of the blame in yesterday's meltdown in Congress, and rightly so. Her disastrous day, which led to the meltdown that began on Wall Street Monday, has now spread to the Asian markets overnight. She certainly went above and beyond the call of duty in helping sabotage her own bill Monday by giving a free pass to any Democrat who wanted out
. No pressure from the Speaker was exerted to pass the legislation in her caucus, again Democratic-sponsored legislation, at all.
But she needed an ally to enable her, someone with the distinct leadership style that consists of paying just enough lip service to the issue to score with the media and hoping it reflects in poll results, but actually shrinking from view when given the opportunity to show just how convincing he needs to be in times of crisis.
From the Tuesday editions of the New York Times
Democrats had said all along that by inserting himself into negotiations, Mr. McCain had brought presidential politics to a delicate situation and could wind up hurting more than helping. After the House vote, his aides bristled at the suggestion that his involvement had in fact been a drawback, saying he had been instrumental in getting House Republicans a seat at the negotiating table and helping bring in more of their votes.
[Senior McCain advisor, Douglas] Holtz-Eakin said Mr. McCain had made “dozens of calls” on the bill, some to House Republicans who opposed it.
Aides to Mr. Obama said he had not directly reached out to try to sway any House Democrats who opposed the measure. But where Mr. McCain had accused Mr. Obama of taking a hands-off approach to the financial crisis, Democratic advisers said they believed that Mr. McCain now had a role in the legislation’s failure.
Before the suspension of the McCain campaign last week, there were four Republicans on record supporting the language in the bill as it was. Senator McCain went back to Washington, got the House Republicans a seat at the negotiating table over the weekend, and their input in the bill for Monday's vote got sixty more Republicans to commit, far more than Pelosi should have needed to get the bill passed.
Senator Obama, on the other hand, showed up to the White House only when invited, spoke in platitudes, left, got beat in the debate Friday night, spent the weekend speaking in more platitudes, and did not lift a finger to dial the phone of any of his Democratic colleagues in the House to try and persuade them to consider supporting a bill Obama was half-heartedly on board with for the good of the country.
Rudy Giuliani, a man who knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a good executive, said this on Hugh's show Monday night:
Barack Obama has done what he’s done throughout his entire career, which is vote present, not offer any leadership. We don’t even know what part of the plan he supports or doesn’t support. John McCain delivered sixty Republican votes. When he went to Washington last week, only four Republicans in the House were in favor of this. They ended up with 64. There were enough Republican votes for the Democrats to get this done, but a third of the Democrats abandoned Nancy Pelosi. I have a feeling that if Barack Obama were at the table rolling up his sleeves, taking the same risk that John McCain took, they could have gotten that other twenty or thirty Democratic votes. It might have helped get a few more Republican votes if they saw that kind of commitment on the Democratic side.
HH: Should Obama be out there right now demanding that this pass on Thursday, Mayor?
RG: Of course. He should be working the phones. That’s what a president…this is what our great presidents do. They work the phones. It just doesn’t all happen because you make a speech and say change. It just doesn’t happen because you have a catch phrase or you happen to be able to have sort of a rock star effect on people. Politicians don’t care about rock star effects on people. They care about are you negotiating with me, what you are going to do for me, how are you going to get it done. I passed a lot of legislation as Mayor of New York City. It didn’t happen because I’m a rock star. It happened because I could negotiate with people, and I could work with them to get it done. John McCain can do that. Remember, when he went to Washington, with all the Democrats attacking him, he took the Republicans from four to 64. When Barack Obama went to Washington, it looks like the Democrats disappeared.
The more you see this campaign unfold, the more you see Barack Obama's true vision of hope and change. He only seems to act, or more frequently not act, when he hopes it will positively change his standing in the polls. The problem is, we've seen this political strategy before. It was called the Clinton administration.
The media may want us to believe Barack Obama is The One, but his inaction, his hand washing of the financial mess and hiding behind the "Let Congress figure it out" rhetoric, makes him resemble someone a little more Roman governorish.