Bailout in Trouble?

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I’ll leave the debating of its merits and flaws to others. But a Hill staffer friend writes today to say the proposed administration bailout plan or variations thereof is in far more trouble on the Hill than media coverage is reflecting.

“I’m telling you, the coverage is not reflecting how much trouble a bailout is in in Congress. The leadership wants it to happen, and maybe it will. But I think [reporters] are getting their stories from leadership, plus the White House, who all want it to happen and play down opposition. But things are ugly, the rank and file – there’s just no way they are going to vote for this crap. It just seems to me the bailout is in deep, deep trouble.

“No way it’s going to pass,” he added in a later email. “It seems impossible. Maybe we will get lucky, we get through the election, the meltdown proceeds apace, and somebody comes up with a save that does not look like – and is not – a bailout for rich Wall Street malefactors. But that is the sine qua non.”

Update: Some press reports suggest that Senate Democrats have reached a deal with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, that could be announced Thursday.

Hill friend comments, “Look, we will see, it will be very interesting. One of two things is possible, but not both: either 1) the leadership knows what it is doing, and has some reason to be confident that their plan will pass (they’ve done whip counts etc) …. OR 2) the leadership has disastrously failed to understand where the caucus stands, despite getting chewed out by rank and file members, they just don’t realize that members are really and truly going to vote against it. And that will be an all around disaster. One can hope they know something I do not, and there will be no disaster.” Can vulnerable incumbents vote for it?

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