Inquiring minds are considering the Wall Street Journal article How Voter Fury Stopped Bailout
Left-Right Combo By Opponents Put Plan on the Ropes.
The defeat in Congress of a proposed $700 billion economic-rescue package followed an intense outpouring of voter anger, fanned by politicians, interest groups and media on the left and right, that overwhelmed calls from the president and top lawmakers to pass the deal.
Voters opposed to the deal deluged Capitol Hill with letters, emails, phone calls and faxes over the past week. Some 23,000 signatures were collected over two days by Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent, calling for a five-year, 10% surtax on the wealthiest Americans to help fund the bailout. Some prominent conservatives and bloggers criticized the deal as an unwarranted intervention in the free market.
On his Web site in recent days, Rep. Issa has posted letters and emails from some of the more than 2,000 constituents he said had contacted him about the proposal, including one from “Greg” in Temecula, Calif., who called the proposal “poorly thought out and rushed to the floor.”
“I am 45 and a husband and father of 4. I am outraged and appalled at the arrogance of my President and the lack of regard for what is right,” the message said.
Among prominent conservatives who publicly assailed the administration’s proposal in recent days was former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich. But Mr. Gingrich said in a statement posted on his Web site Monday that he would “reluctantly and sadly” vote for the proposal if he were still in office.
“This bill is not the best proposal for solving the housing crisis. It is not even a good proposal for solving the crisis,” the statement said. “However, it is the only proposal Secretary [Henry] Paulson would support, and his support was essential in this setting.”
Mr. Gingrich then capped his tepid endorsement with a call for Mr. Paulson’s resignation, saying that “having a former chairman of Goldman Sachs preside over disbursing hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall Street is a terrible concept and inevitably will lead to crony capitalism and the appearance of — if not the actual existence of — corruption.”
The proposal’s defeat was also cheered on by a number of blogs that in recent days have posted links to lawmakers’ telephone and fax numbers and urged citizens to oppose the plan. They included stopthehousingbailout.com, a Web site organized by a 37-year-old Los Angeles attorney named Morgan Ward Doran, and globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com, run by Mike Shedlock, an investment adviser at SitkaPacific Capital Management. Mr. Shedlock said in an interview Monday that his site had received 1.7 million page hits this month, which he said was half a million more than normal.
On his Web site, Mr. Shedlock has derided the proposed rescue as “a rush to judgment” that would benefit “high-flying financiers who chased big profits through reckless investments,” and as “a complete waste of $700 billion.”
“A number of people emailed me to say this was the first time that they’ve written, faxed or phoned their member of Congress,” said Mr. Shedlock, a 55-year-old resident of Prairie Grove, Ill. “Were going to phone and fax every member of Congress who voted against this to thank them. … Everyone who voted to pass this bill, we’re going to actively organize to oust them.”
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