Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wow! The AZ Congressional delegation can agree on something besides postal facility namings...

Of course, even on those rare occasions when AZ's federal legislators are on the same page, it's for very different reasons...

As has been reported in many places, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected the $700 billion bailout bill for Wall Street investment firms, and the entire Arizona delegation voted against it.

Note: more info on the bailout is available from the House Financial Services Committee here.

Their reasons were varied - from the Dems hating it because it didn't contain enough protections for taxpayers to the Reps hating it because it contained some protections.

A number of MSM pundits and writers have opined that the measure was defeated by members of the House who are facing tough reelection battles (AP via TriValleyCentral.com). There may be an element of truth in that idea, but an examination of even just the AZ delegation's situations belies that the notion is universally accurate -

Ed Pastor (D-CD4), Raul Grijalva (D-CD7), and Jeff Flake (R-CD6) are totally safe in their races.

Trent Franks (R-CD2) is close to safe in his, too.

Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) is facing a solid challenger in Tim Bee, but she is solidly positioned herself, and should retain her seat.

Harry Mitchell (D-CD5) is facing a tough fight because of his district's demographics (40K more registered Republicans) and John Shadegg (R-CD3) is facing the fight of his political career (a super-strong challenger in Bob Lord and his retire/unretire two-step earlier this year).

Rick Renzi (R-CD1) isn't even running (something about a federal indictment and upcoming trial).

So only two of the eight AZ Congresscritters who voted against the bailout are facing serious election threats (apologies to supporters of Tim Bee and John Thrasher, but that's the way I see it), yet all eight voted against it.

Simply put, the Bush Administration's bailout proposal was just a bad idea, even for people who believe that a government response to the turmoil in the markets is appropriate.

After all of the finger-pointing dies down (publicly, anyway), look for some sort of bailout proposal to come out of the House, probably with a price tag that's much lower than the Administration's desired $700 billion blank check, and also with some serious safeguards for the taxpayers' money.

At this point though, any changes will probably appeal more to Democrats looking to protect taxpayers' interests than appeal to Republicans looking to use this crisis as an excuse to further deregulate the financial markets.

Don't expect the AZ delegation to be in so much agreement next time.

On the Democratic side, the AZ Star on the reasons that Reps. Grijlava and Giffords voted against the bill here; the Ahwatukee Foothills News on Rep. Harry Mitchell's objections here. Bob Lord's (D challenger in CD3) press release here.

On the Republican side, Rep. Shadegg's op-ed in USA Today is here; a Rep. Flake quote is here (Phoenix Business Journal).

Note2: I'd have linked to the websites of Reps. Giffords and Pastor, but the House website is still experiencing problems related to its heavy site traffic on Monday, and couldn't access those pages.

Note3: ever-loyal (and perceptive!) reader and frequent commenter Elizabeth noted in an email that after the failure of the bailout on Monday, followed by the stock market's precipitous drop, the Washington Post ran this story on the front page of their website.

It chronicles what is truly the greatest crisis facing American society today - the decline in home run totals in Major League Baseball.


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