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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Hissy Fit That Failed

by digby

The dog ate their homework and then threw it back up:

During the press conference that followed the Monday afternoon vote, Deputy Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) held up a copy of Pelosi’s speech, saying, “Right here is the reason, I believe, why this vote failed, and this is Speaker Pelosi’s speech that, frankly, struck the tone of partisanship that, frankly, was inappropriate in this discussion.”

Rob Collins, Cantor’s chief of staff, said on Tuesday that the speech itself didn’t switch votes, but the message that it sent poisoned the bipartisan tone that Boehner and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) set.

“Her unscripted attacks ran counter to our message of bipartisan unity ... I am not going to say her speech on the floor mattered, but it is a symptom of a larger illness with the Speaker,” Collins said.

During a Tuesday interview on Fox News, House Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (Fla.) did not mention Pelosi’s floor speech.

Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said on Monday evening the speech wasn’t the sole cause for members voting no, but tipped the scales for some who were on the fence.

“On those kinds of decisions [members] are often looking for that final reason to not do what they intended to do,” he told reporters after the vote.

Shadegg, who mounted failed leadership bids for majority leader, and later, minority whip, said he believes that “hurt feelings” following the lost votes caused Boehner and other GOP leaders to lash out at Pelosi in the moments after the 205-228 tally.

“It was embarrassing for leadership of both parties to lose the bill,” Shadegg said. “So they went out and made a stupid claim.”

During the MSNBC interview, Shadegg didn’t mention McCain, who echoed GOP leaders’ comments about Pelosi on Monday.

Freshman Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who was among the 133 Republican “no” votes, ridiculed leadership’s statements on Pelosi, saying on Monday, “We’re not babies who suck our thumbs.”

Some conservatives also ripped leadership’s claims. Richard Viguerie, a conservative activist, said Tuesday that Republican leaders reacted to the bailout vote “by giving Nancy Pelosi credit for killing the Bush-Paulson scheme, and by falsely accusing their own members of throwing a temper tantrum.”

Peter Wehner, a former speechwriter for President Bush, called the insinuation that the vote failed because of Pelosi’s speech “lame and adolescent” on National Review Online’s The Corner.

“Can they be serious? Do they realize how foolish and irresponsible they sound? On one of the most important votes they will ever cast, insisting ‘the speech made me do it’ is lame and adolescent,” he wrote. “Watching Boehner, Blunt, and Cantor blame the outcome on the Pelosi speech was an embarrassment.”

You can only shriek that the other side is being partisan and "politicizing" politics so many times before people notice that you are behaving like an hysterical maiden aunt at a Chippendales concert every time someone legitimately criticizes you. Eventually somebody is going to tell you to stifle it and go wait in the car.

They attempted to deflect all blame to Pelosi and it didn't work. I'm beginning to wonder if we aren't seeing change we can believe in after all.