Empty Throne

by digby

There are probably many reasons why Republicans in the House didn't back the Paulson bill, but this has to be one of the biggies:

For McCain, a major hindrance has been his perceived ties to the deeply unpopular Republican president. Slightly more than half of voters, 53 percent, said they think McCain would lead the country in the same direction as Bush, a small move up from a Post-ABC poll following the GOP convention earlier this month. Voters who see McCain's candidacy as a continuation of Bush's policies overwhelmingly back Obama.

The connection with Bush is a growing problem, as the sagging economy has added to the drag on public assessments of the president. Bush's approval rating has now dropped to an all-time-low in Post-ABC News polls, with just 26 percent giving him positive marks for his performance and 70 percent giving him negative reviews.

Only two modern presidents -- Harry Truman and Richard M. Nixon -- have had lower approval ratings; none has had higher disapproval numbers. On the economy, just 22 percent said they approved of the way he is doing his job. That too is a new career low for the president.

Nearly three in 10 voters singled out Bush as the principal reason the country is in its current economic straits. Wall Street financial institutions and banks followed closely on the blame list. Voters also mention the federal government, Congress, Republicans, Democrats, overextended homebuyers and others as root causes.

Unfortunately, voting against the bill only deepened their problem:

As for Monday's ill-fated House vote, by a 2 to 1 margin, voters hold congressional Republicans more responsible for Monday's rejection of a $700 billion rescue package supported by President Bush, congressional leaders of both parties and both major party presidential candidates.


Almost all voters see the current financial situation as a big problem, with a majority, 52 percent, describing it as a "crisis." And in a question asked of a parallel sample of randomly-selected adults on Monday evening following the House's rejection, voters were also nearly unanimous in their concern the vote would deepen the country's financial downturn.

These Republicans are between a rock and a hard place now. They have to run away from Bush and they have to run away from McCain and they have to run against Obama and the Democrats. Unfortunately, they are also being held responsible for defeating a bill that citizens didn't much like but are concerned that its failure will cause the country to fall further into crisis. They've got themselves in a vise.

You can see a real weakness in our founder's vaunted system right now. A parliamentary system would allow the government to have a vote of no confidence immediately and put someone in charge who had some credibility. We are stuck with this lame-duck functional moron (h/t Bill Maher) for nearly four more months and the vacuum of leadership is a serious problem. Meanwhile, the conservatives have so degraded the country's faith in its government institutions that nobody believes there is even an adequate bureaucracy to carry out basic tasks anymore. It's a dangerous thing for the most powerful country in the world to be without specific knowable leadership at a time of crisis in the middle of an historically important election. But that's where we are.

The most amusing thing about all of this (if there's anything amusing at all) is that the Big Money Boyz seem to have awakened and realized that the party they've been supporting all these years has been taken over by a bunch of dogmatic rubes who, when push comes to shove, refuse to support their masters. And after all they did for them ...