Posted on the Campaign Spot at National Review at 2:19 today

What Just Happened?

What the hell was yesterday’s smiling press conference all about? Why were Hoyer, Frank, Pelosi and the rest of the House Democratic Leadership smiling yesterday? Did they have any sense of their own caucus?

Sure, two-thirds of House Republicans voted against it. But they were always against it, complaining about it from the beginning.  You heard Boehner, he described the bill as a crap sandwich; nobody should have expected a lot of Republican votes for this. But the House GOP Leadership did get on board, and encouraged their rank-and-file to do the same.

Pelosi said she needed political cover. A third of House Republicans ought to be enough cover.

How the hell does Pelosi’s bill not carry 40 percent of her caucus?

Earlier today, the Dow was down 700 points, which would have been the biggest single-day drop ever. Now it’s down about 500…

UPDATE: A reader asks,

You don’t fault Boehner for his less than ringing endorsement.   Yo don’t fault him or his cohorts for voting their conscience (or in their perceived political interests, whatever).  Boehner is to be lauded for delivering 1/3 of his caucus for controversial legislation, but Pelosi is to be criticized for doubling that number. 

Because it is a you-know-what sandwich of a bill. I happen to think it’s a necessary you-know what sandwich. But the GOP is supposed to be opposed to market interventions in the abstract; what is the Democrats’ excuse?

The House Republicans didn’t want to buy any of these assets, they wanted to set up an insurance system, and they’ve been treated like lepers in the negotiations. The party that controls the chamber is ultimately responsible for getting the bill through that chamber. Pelosi could and should have been able to pass this without a single Republican vote. She got 66 yeas from the GOP, and she still couldn’t do it.

If this is really the right idea, then it’s not republcian or democratic, it’s just right.  One side shouldn’t be expected to like this more than another.  (Implicit in this crtiicism is that republicans can’t claim “fiscal responsibility” anymore.)

House Republicans were never going to to approve spending $750 billion to rescue banking institutions by a wide margin. But what is the Democrats’ philosophical objections? They don’t oppose the idea in principle; they oppose the details, presumably…  Pelosi, Frank, and Hoyer got to write the bill based on Paulson’s template, along with Dodd and Schumer. Judging from this, the House Democratic leadership never had any idea how their caucus felt about the bill, which is a reckless way to negotiate…

likewise, your criticism of the presidential canidates is equally slanted.  Obama could get on the phone and get Dems to support the legislation. John McCain could do the same.  One could argue that J-Mac has more at stake -because of his campaign suspension (I’m goign to washington to lead) and the fact that more republicans are hold outs.  Is this leadership?  If he can’t get his party on board, how can he lead the country. 

Be objective.  Are you a reporter or a blogger?

Both. Throughout the negotiations, everybody knew the House GOP hated this rescue in concept and detail; McCain’s mission of persuading Republicans was exponentially harder. But last week he did go to Washington to get their ideas included. What, precisely, did Obama do to get the House Democrats on board?

UPDATE: I’m told Chris Matthews is railing against McCain and Republicans for tanking the bill, saying Democrats “overwhelmingly” voted for it. Sixty percent is overwhelming?