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The American people deserve better.
At a time when the economy is hanging in the balance, all many of this nation's so called leaders can seem to do is bicker, blame and practice partisan politics.
They all should be ashamed.
There's little doubt something needs to be done about the financial crisis that rocked the stock market this week and threatened to rock Main Street. Monday's inaction led to a record point drop of the Dow Jones industrials, amounting to a $1 trillion loss to the economy. Making that loss back up won't be easy, even if some agreement can be reached later this week.
What makes this all so shameful is the political posturing that has been taking place while the economy goes in the tank.
For example, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., took the time before Monday's vote to blast the Republicans, just prior to what was supposed to be a bipartisan vote on the $700 billion emergency rescue package for this nation's financial system. If she had really wanted to have the legislation pass, she should have been seeking common ground for the common good. Instead she chose that moment in history to rant and rave against President Bush and the Republicans, stating, in part, that the staggering price tag of the bill tells us only the costs of the Bush Administration's failed economic policies policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything goes mentality... Her speech, however, proved to be reckless in its timing and poisonous to the political process.
Republicans, on the other hand, if they were going to vote for the bill prior to Pelosi's rant, should have let the words fall to the ground, rather than voting against it because their feelings got hurt. There's too much at stake for such a playground response. The alleged 12 who changed their vote because of that speech should have voted their conscience, not their wounded pride.
That being said, there was even worse political posturing at play on Monday.
The bill failed on a 228-205 vote. Reports noted that prior to the vote, lawmakers were flooded with emails and phone calls from constituents opposing the measure. That's no problem if the 228 Democrats and Republicans who voted against it felt the legislation on face value deserved defeat. So be it. Get to work and craft a better bill. But the implication after the vote was that many House members voted against the bailout legislation not because they thought it was bad for the country but rather because they felt it might be bad for them at the ballot box on Nov. 4.
That's politics at its worst.
To vote one way simply on the grounds of how it might impact the upcoming election in a few weeks is selfish and irresponsible. Lawmakers should take the right actions, no matter the cost. Lawmakers from both parties were guilty of this and should hang their heads in shame.
Topping all of this off is the fact that both Barack Obama and John McCain took Monday's failed vote as an opportunity to blame each other for the problem. The American people deserve better both from the lawmakers currently in office and those running for president.
The American people are sick and tired of elected leaders playing politics with this nation's future. If they can't, they should get out of office.