Sadly, the bailout bill is no longer George Bush's. It's Barack Obama's:
Black lawmakers said personal calls from Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama helped switch them from "no" to "yes."
I'd say a pretty sad - though predictable - moment in Democratic Party history. The Democratic nominee helps ram a Wall Street giveaway through a Democratic Congress. At least with NAFTA, Bill Clinton relied on mostly Republican votes.
I have to say, this kind of thing just really bums me out - it takes my "hope" away, if you will. We are watching the first African American presidential nominee use his enormous power to pressure African American lawmakers - many from poor and working class communities - to vote for a bill that most experts say will either hurt the economy or not help it much, and will give away 5 percent of the entire economy largely to Manhattan and Greenwich billionaires.*
I think we all would have liked to see Obama state his principles and really fight for them on this, rather than taking a pass by simply lamenting the polarized process and then supporting a travesty. Because of Obama's behavior, I think we have learned an important lesson: We learned that this is precisely the kind of dynamic that will likely govern an Obama administration. The formula is clear: Make rhetorical gestures to progressives, while paying off Big Money with trillions. I'm not lamenting - this is the formula for a lot of Democratic politicians. But we should all make sure to have our eyes wide open and start administering some real pressure if we want any real results - Obama himself has warned us.
* Note to bailout/Obama apologists: You are going to have to get a different substantive argument other than saying "well, Paul Krugman supports it so I guess it's good." You would do well to actually read what Krugman has said, which is that: "To this day [the bailout proponents] have never been able to explain clearly why buying up bad mortgage assets at market prices will solve the credit crunch...The Wise Men, as far as I can tell, have never had a clear idea of what they're doing."