Cross-posted on OpenLeft
We are living in a very weird moment in history. An absolutely monumental and truly historic Presidential election- one that ranks on the scale of importance with the elections of 1860 and 1932- is a month away, and it's not the top thing on most people's minds, even the political junkies. I've been working 18 hours a day on the election and it's not what I read about first in the newspaper in the morning.
The question now is: which way does Pelosi and the Democratic leadership go to get the votes on this? Because you know that some version of this monster is almost certain to pass. With the combined weight of Bush, Paulson, McCain, Boehner, and Blunt unable to deliver bupkus, do they just keep banging away to bring over a few more votes on the same package? Do they move the bill to the right to pick up 15 right-wingers? Or do they move the bill to the left to pick up Democratic votes? Capitol Hill folks close to Pelosi argue they can't go in the progressive direction because they would lose more GOP votes than they would gain, but that is classic culture-of-caution politics. Pelosi and Harry Reid need to step up and say to Bush and McConnell and Boehner at the Wall Street lobby, "Look, you guys couldn't deliver shit, and we're going to have to go to the left if you want to get his done. There is no other choice now that you blew it with the House Republicans. You say we need this, we have to have this. Well, I'm going to get something passed that my caucus can live with, and you guys better back my play or we're done here."
Do I expect that to happen? Nope. But in every way- politically, policy-wise, morality-wise- that is absolutely the path Pelosi should be on right now. And if she moves to the right to try to pick up more Republicans, to hell with it- I hope even more progressives will flake off.
And by the way, the irrational beast, the stock market, is up this morning as of the time I'm posting this. So screw it, maybe we don't do anything at all.