The Bailout mess, where is Barack Obama?

My friend Bill Otis has this to say about the defeat of the bailout legislation:

No one likes this bailout, and there’s plenty not to like about it, starting with the fact that it does nothing to remedy the country’s addiction to debt which is the real problem. Indeed, it’s merely the next “fix” for that addiction, not to mention a bonanza for millions of foolhardy and/or dishonest people who took out mortgages they knew they couldn’t afford.

Still, Bush is right that the consequences of not having the bailout will be worse than the consequences of having it. Right now I’d say we are headed for a Depression. Almost no one alive remembers what that is really like. When they find out, there will be chaos. At least in the thirties the country was tough. Now it’s soft and pampered. People will be in for a shock when they find out the privation they’ve been (falsely) complaining about can be quite real, and is about to descend.

So, bottom line, the thing has got to pass. But it failed today in the Democratically-controlled House by 23 votes, with more than 90 Democrats voting against it.

Question: Where is Barack Obama? The man is the newly annointed head of the Democratic Party. He could tell his followers in Congress that for the good of the country, they have to vote for this, awful as it is. Has he? No. Why? Either because he doesn’t understand what we are actually facing, or because he sees it’s unpopular and hasn’t the guts to risk his lead in the polls by swimming against present opinion.

The country cannot abide such “leadership.” You can’t just vote “present” on this one. Nor would such a “vote” by Obama be honest, since in fact he’s not even present. . . .

His yammering inaction in the face of this financial crisis is bad enough. But it is yet more frightening to think about what he would do, or fail to do, in the face of the far more malevolent and lethal threat we will face if and when he occupies the White House.

Give me someone with some guts. For whatever his flaws might be, and they’re plenty, I believe there is someone meeting that description on the ballot this year.

PAUL adds: John McCain, of course, did not rally many conservative Republicans behind the bailout legislation. But McCain has never had much influence with the conservative wing of his party; there just isn’t sufficient ideological affinity. And he at least suspended his campaign in an attempt to help bring about a deal.

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