Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Stunning defeat of bill exposes failures of the US political system

By Rupert Cornwell
The Independent

"....His lack of clout was first exposed last Thursday when the bailout summit he convened at the White House degenerated into a blazing row. But that humiliation paled beside yesterday's. The President went on TV at 7.30am to plead for the measure that had been thrashed out over the weekend, to no avail. Then he called two dozen recalcitrant House Republicans, begging them to hold their noses and do their patriotic duty – but again to no avail.

When the vote came, his own party voted almost two to one against the bill, more than cancelling out the 140-95 majority of Democrats who did hold their noses to support the wishes of a President most of them despise.

Thus did US politics enter the world of Alice Through the Looking Glass. A president who prided himself on being a champion of free markets was urging the biggest state intervention in the economy in more than 50 years.....

However, yesterday already looks like Black Monday for Mr McCain. He returned to Washington last week as the self-styled statesman who would knock heads together for the country. But he, like Mr Bush, could not bring his Republicans into line. The tumultuous events of yesterday have only strengthened the feeling that America's worst financial crisis since the 1930s has doomed his bid for the presidency – just as the crash of 1929 doomed Herbert Hoover."

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