Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A victory for the backbenchers

The President seems ticked off chiefly that negotiating with "the leadership" isn't enough, that the backbenchers in each party acted yesterday as if they have minds, and constituents, of their own.

Mr. Bush's address this morning, at 8:45, began as follows: "Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted on a financial rescue plan that had been negotiated by Congressional leaders of both parties and my administration. Unfortunately, the measure was defeated by a narrow margin. I'm disappointed by the outcome, but I assure our citizens and citizens around the world that this is not the end of the legislative process."

It "had been negotiated." It was, you see, a done deal. Then those darned non-leaders got in the way.

Personally, I'm happy for its loss. It represented a lousy deal. The key for any revised plan ought to be a debt-for-equity swap, bringing in the bondholders of the major financial institutions as the holders of equity in the re-organized entities.

This thought is hardly an idiosyncracy of my own. A lot of people are making the debt-for-equity point, but no one within the beltway seems yet to have listened.

Sometimes you can't get things right until you break what is wrong. The backbenchers broke something wrong yesterday. Bully for them.

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