A Wall Street Journal editorial this morning. Excerpts below but read the whole thing -
Congress lives up to its 10% approval rating. The Beltway Crash - WSJ.com
The 228-205 defeat reflects badly on all concerned, starting with the Democrats who run the House. The majority party is responsible for assembling a majority vote, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi failed in that fundamental task.
Her highly partisan speech on the floor -- blaming "right-wing ideology of anything goes, no supervision, no discipline, no regulation" for the financial distress -- is no excuse for Republicans to vote no. But it is indicative of the way she has governed for the past two years -- like Tom DeLay without the charm. The cynics are saying Ms. Pelosi deliberately tanked the bill by giving 95 Democrats a pass, knowing failure would hurt John McCain, and given her track record we can see why people would believe it.
House Republicans share the blame, and not only because they opposed the bill by about two-to-one, 133-65. Their immediate response was to say that many of their Members turned against the bill at the last minute because Ms. Pelosi gave her nasty speech. So they are saying that Republicans chose to oppose something they think is in the national interest merely because of a partisan slight. Thank heaven these guys weren't at Valley Forge.
Members may not believe Hank Paulson, but they ought to pay attention to markets. The financial system has a huge capital hole due to losses on mortgage securities and other assets, and private capital won't begin to fill it without the life preserver of public capital. Before it leaves town to campaign, Congress needs to act to defend and restabilize the financial system. After the last two weeks, and especially after yesterday, the Members also need to act to redeem their own reputations, to the extent they are still worth redeeming.