Pelosi's Speech:

Speaker Pelosi's speech before the House today was remarkable, but not in a good way. She was trying to round up votes for a bailout package that shes claims to believe is essential for the stability of the American economy. She can't, and doesn't want to, pass the bill without a substantial number of Republican votes. So what does she do? You would think she would say, "let's pass this emergency measure now, in the best interests of the country, and talk about who is to blame later." Instead, Pelosi began her speech with a highly partisan tirade against "Bush" and "Republican" economic policies, which were allegedly to blame for this situation [UPDATE: Some commenters claim that she only attacked Bush, not Republicans more generally. They obviously didn't listen to the video at 2:24]. She focused on an attack on the growth of federal deficits, which clearly are at best tangential to the current crisis. That, to me, is the sort of irresponsible thing you do when (a) you're not claiming there is a vast emergency; and (b) you are in the minority, and not claiming to exercise leadership. [Commenters point out that Republican Housemember were acting equally irresponsibly to the extent they rose to Pelosi's bait and voted against the bailout out of pique at Pelosi. True. But the Speaker of the House is a leader, not just a random member of the House, and her actions inevitably and justifiably get more scrutiny than those of her colleagues.

UPDATE: As I wrote in the comments, I have no idea why any particular member, or group of members, of the House, voted for or against the bill. All I'm saying is that if you are trying to rally the House to pass an emergency bill, you make it seem like there is AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY, which more or less precludes partisan attacks. To the extent any Republican voted against the bill because of Pelosi's speech, it may not be a question of them being offended by her partisanship, but the perspective that if Pelosi thinks that the situation calls for partisanship, it must not be a serious emergency, because leaders simply don't engage in such antics when a true emergency is at hand. For that matter, if I were a Democrat skeptical of the bill, Pelosi's speech may have discouraged me from voting for it for the same reason.

FURTHER UPDATE: Here's a cynical take from commenter Bart:

Pelosi was not acting out of stupidity, but out of malice to obtain partisan electoral advantage.

The woman knows how to count votes. She has kept several bills from coming to votes over the past Congress because she knew she was short on votes and would lose.

The woman knows how to follow polls. Obama was losing to McCain until this mess emerged a little over a week ago. Now Obama has a 5 point lead.

One has to be willfully blind not to see that Pelosi was attempting to dump on Bush and pick a fight with the GOP to ensure that this rescue plan lost and the partisanly advantageous crisis continues.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Speaking of Leadership:
  2. Pelosi's Speech: