President Bush's political capital is fully depleted, even with members of his own party. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has been inept at selling the financial rescue plan he cobbled together. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose partisanship and pettiness sank to a new low Monday, has shown herself to be a master of poor planning and bad timing. As the majority party, House Democrats have wasted the power given to them by voters, except to further their own political interests. House Republicans refuse either to lead or to be led, instead pouting over Pelosi's rants as the economy falls apart.
The editorial hits Obama for Rep. Andre Carson's vote against the bailout. You may recall that Obama endorsed Carson at a critical point during his crowded primary race this spring. The Star's editorial says Obama sat on the sidelelines, effectively voting present like he did hundreds of times on criticial issues when he was in the Illinois Senate:
Democrat Barack Obama failed to even try. Among the 95 House Democrats who voted against the financial rescue package Monday was Indiana's Andre Carson, who has served in Congress for all of six months. Obama, who endorsed Carson last spring, almost certainly could have switched the 7th District congressman's vote with a phone call. A handful of calls from Obama would have rescued the legislation fromLast week, Andre Carson said in an interview with NPR that he would vote for the bailout plan. Carson told the Star this week he would like to see some changes in the bill:
defeat. Instead, Obama engaged in the leadership equivalent of voting "present.''
Rep. Andre Carson, a Democratic member of the House Financial Services Committee from Indianapolis who opposed the bill, said changes he'd like to see include better mortgage protection for homeowners, more restrictions on corporate pay beyond what was in the proposal, and better assurances that the government will get back much of the $700 billion cost.
In other words, Carson wants to reward homeowners who took out mortgages that they can't repay by letting them off the hook and he wants government determining salaries for corporate CEOs. Note that Carson omits the demand he mentioned in the NPR interview that the legislation set aside a percentage of the asset management work to minority and women-owned businesses. Carson made some highly partisan comments earlier this week, blaming the entire mess on the Bush administration, forgetting that his grandmother as a member of the House Financial Services Committee sided with Democrats in opposing efforts to clean up Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and that she was a big proponent of the Community Reinvestment Act, which forced banks to make risky loans to people with poor credit histories in "economically disadvantaged" neighborhoods. Carson has collected $137,400 in campaign contributions from the financial industry this year, or more than 10% of his campaign receipts. Like his grandmother, he sits on the House Financial Services Committee. His background is in law enforcement.