From NRO Campaign Spot blog:
Pelosi has 235 members. She needed 218. She could spare 17 members and still pass the bill.
The GOP spotted her 65 members, for a bill that made most Republicans’ skin crawl in both broad outline and in terms of detail.
That meant Pelosi could afford to lose 82 Democrats.
She lost 95.
Bush and Paulson were never going to pass this bill with House Republican votes. It had to be palatable to the Democrats, and Pelosi and Frank said that it was.
We know the GOP was unhappy with the bail-out. What we didn’t know was that 43% of the Democrat house members couldn’t stand the bail-out either.
This means House members across the board were hearing from their constituents, and their constituents hated the idea that the taxpayer be saddled with a $700 billion bail-out of the financial industry.
Why wouldn’t the Democrats go along? Because they feared their constituents more than Nancy Pelosi? Or because they agree with their constituents? Either answer is bad news for the Democrat leadership, especially a month before an election.
Ninety-five Democrats bucked their party leadership today precisely because Nancy Pelosi made it cost-free for them to do so. By refusing to make this a “party loyalty vote” — and thereby giving a clear signal to every Democratic member of the House that there would be neither carrots nor sticks applied by the House leadership — Speaker Pelosi ensured that even the mere dozen additional Democratic votes needed for passage wouldn’t be there.
The indisputable fact is that the Democratic leadership of the House consciously declined to use the tools available to them that would have ensured the passage of this bill. Period, end of paragraph, and end of the story for today. This is a matter of simple arithmetic and standard party practices. It is not a matter that can even be seriously debated. It is only a matter that Democrats like Majority Leader Hoyer can attempt to conceal, as he does in the statement quoted above, by misleading the public about how hard the Democratic leadership actually tried.