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“And after the way the Bushies and their allies double-crossed the Democrats again and again in the aftermath of 9/11 — demand national unity, then accuse you of being soft on terrorists anyway — there’s no way Pelosi and Reed will do the responsible but unpopular thing unless the Republicans agree to share ownership.”
Krugman’s analysis of the politics is right. Democrats assume – and I expect rightly – that if they do the responsible thing and work with President Bush to pass a bailout plan, that Republicans will then campaign against the Democrats for doing so. John McCain, by sending signals of support for the House Republicans, increased the Democratic sense that if they do what President Bush is asking for, they’ll be punished politically.That’s why Democrats want a minimum number of Republicans to vote for it — to provide “cover.” They’re right to view it as a trap and possibly right to criticize John McCain for making a deal less likely.But the Democrats should walk right into the trap – even if they know it is one. If they believe it’s the right way to deal with the crisis, why don’t they have the courage of their convictions and run on that position? Democrats have internalized the idea that even if they are right on the substance, they’ll lose on the politics because Republicans are better at slashing the jugular. Isn’t that a bit pathetic?Part of earning political power is having the ability to not only be right but convince people you are. Democrats are showing they lack confidence in their ability to do so.UPDATE: Republican strategist Ed Rollins explains why the House Republicans are interested in blocking the bailout deal between the Bush Administration and the Democrats: