09 January 2009

"A Bunch of Bitchy Little Girls" Part 2

I wrote about this yesterday, and Exodio took me to task. I want to answer him, but first here is a link and quote that bears out my claim that Feinstein has done a 180.

Feinstein, who as chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee will preside over Panetta's confirmation hearing, said Wednesday that she had spoken with Panetta by phone and that she would support his confirmation.

"I believe all systems are go," she said at the Capitol. "I'm going to vote for him."

Feinstein had indicated Monday that she might oppose Panetta's nomination because he lacked experience in intelligence matters.

Exodio's point, as he commented on my post was that:

Feeling you had your toes stepped on but then accepting the choice (in Feinstein's case) is not even close to feeling you had your toes stepped on and switching a vote on a very crucial piece of legislation are totally different. In Feinstein, she expressed her feelings, and Team Obama came to her and assuaged them. In the Bailout, the Republicans expressed their feelings by voting against a bill of possibly the biggest importance in a decade (since the Patriot Act).

I am going to give both sides the benefit of the doubt. Here is how The Hill reported the Republican balk:

House Republicans on Monday blamed a partisan speech from Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the failure of a massive Wall Street bailout measure.

“I do believe that we could have gotten there today had it not been for this partisan speech that the speaker gave on the floor of the House,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, adding that Pelosi “poisoned” the GOP conference.

Deputy Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) held up a copy of Pelosi’s floor speech at a press conference and said she had “failed to listen and to lead” on the issue.

The Speaker had blasted the Bush administration in her speech and Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) asserted that some GOP lawmakers, who had reluctantly agreed to support the bill, might have changed their minds following Pelosi’s remarks.

Pelosi had said that the $700 billion price tag of the measure “is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush Administration’s failed economic policies — policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system.”

Democrats noted that a majority of Republicans had opposed the bill, while a majority of Democrats supported it.

Now to analyze this, let us assume that there were Republicans who, on principle, and as a matter of politics, opposed the bailout in its form that night. They were assured by the leadership and possibly the White House that this was necessary, and it would be bi-partisan, so they would not be hung out to dry. When the Speaker made her rather extraordinary speech, they discovered that this was not a bi-partisan effort, but a set up for a lynching, and they balked. When the bill was altered, many of them voted for it. (I still dislike it, BTW. More on that in another post.)

When presented with a dicey political situation, they returned to their principles, and voted against the bill.

Feinstein expressed what I believe were principled objections to Panetta's appointment to be DCI. (I happen to agree with her.) She may also have been ticked off about the lack of consultation. But then the President-Elect, the VP Elect and the nominee have all called her, and, faced with a dicey political situation, she has turned from her principles to endorse Panetta.

Maybe I am reading this wrong. Maybe there were assurances given, or she and Panetta went over his resume or some other factor so that she stands by her principles but sees she was mistaken.

And as for the gravity of this appointment, I think that given the state of the world, the selection of a DCI, especially one who does not have expereince in intelligence, except as a consumer, is every bit as important as the TARP bill.

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