Today’s vote on the $700,000,000,000 “bailout” was a great illustration of true leadership in action.
Although our entire congressional delegation voted against handing the federal government more of our money to reward the irresponsible behavior and incestuous relationship between Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and their congressional supporters, the motives between our Republicans and Democrats could not have been clearer.
Republican Congressmen Rick Renzi, Trent Franks, John Shadegg and Jeff Flake all did the right thing. They stood on principle and for the interest of their constituents. This was expected of them and they deserve our gratitude and appreciation.
Both Ed Pastor and Raul Grijalva are in “safe” Democratic congressional districts. They have nothing to worry about when it comes to getting re-elected. They obviously wanted a lot more in this bill and whey they didn’t get what they wanted, they voted against it They know that this bill will be back on Thursday or Friday and they’ll get their fully-loaded bill on the next vote.
That leaves Gabrielle Giffords and Harry Mitchell. Both freshmen Democrats are in districts where voter registration is tight and their respective races are even tighter. Both also have to explain votes they made earlier this year that expanded the power of GSE’s like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to make costly financial mistakes.
But the picture becomes a whole lot clearer when we learn what really happened on the floor of the House today while the vote was taking place. According to an account reported by the Associated Press,
Still, a few lawmakers, among them freshman Democrat Harry Mitchell of Arizona, hung around in the well, potentially ready to switch. Registered as a “no,” Mitchell held a green “yes” voting card. Also from Arizona, Democratic freshman Gabrielle Giffords stood nearby.
One can only imagine what was going through the mind of Harry Mitchell has he held in his hands a vote for the bailout and a vote against the bailout.
It takes real courage and leadership to walk down to the well with only one vote on your mind. Somehow Mitchell’s comments reported earlier in the press doesn’t seem to reconcile with his meandering down at the well.
If there is one defining characteristic that both Giffords and Mitchell demonstrated today, it was a deficit in leadership. And that means there is only one solution for the voters this fall when it comes to this “political bailout” and that’s to place Gabrielle Giffords and Harry Mitchell on the sidelines where they belong.