So neither party’s House leadership was able to deliver the votes to save the bailout. As Erick noted above, John McCain fought valiantly but came up short in trying to find support in his own caucus, while Barack Obama sat on his hands:
Mr. Holtz-Eakin said Mr. McCain had made “dozens of calls” on the bill, some to House Republicans who opposed it.
Aides to Mr. Obama said he had not directly reached out to try to sway any House Democrats who opposed the measure.
It seems to me that if the deal is to be saved, and the McCain camp wants to get the credit, it may be time for a last-ditch effort to combine leadership with pure political theater, and send in Sarah Palin.The ideal resolution here would be to get the whip count from Roy Blunt of the most-wavering Republicans, the people who might yet be persuaded to change their minds, and have Gov. Palin burn the phone lines and round up 12 House conservatives who voted against the bailout but could be talked into switching now that we have seen the ugliness that followed Monday’s vote. Given suddenly softening public opposition to the deal after yesterday’s market crash, this may yet be possible, and given that the holdouts include a lot of rural/small town Republicans, Gov. Palin may be just the person to speak their language. Surely, she could fairly promise in return to campaign in their districts and defend their decision to skeptical voters. Then, hold a joint press conference hailing them as heroes for biting the bullet to switch their votes and save the economy and, while she’s at it, explain to the media that she has learned as a Governor that being a doer matters more than being a talker. “Nancy Pelosi, here are the votes you couldn’t deliver in your own caucus. Now, let’s get beyond finger-pointing and do the people’s business.”
That would be a political masterstroke. Unlike many other solutions now being mooted about, it could be accomplished entirely by conservative Republicans without the assistance of a single Democrat or wobbly moderate. It would instantly stand the entire blame debate on its head and totally and immediately remake Gov. Palin’s reputation going into Thursday’s debate. While there’s no guarantee that Democrats wouldn’t find another way to stymie the bill, they’d at least then have to take full responsibility for doing so.
Of course, dramatic gestures of that nature are easier said than done. But I can’t see why it would not be worth a try.