The buck starts here

Congress fails to pass the $700 billion bailout bill and the stock market plummets 777 points. There was more blame than concern on Capitol Hill yesterday. Some Republicans said they voted against the bill because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave a poisonous partisan speech on the House floor prior to the vote. Boss Lady hurt GOP lawmakers’ feelings. These Republicans are sooooo sensitive. The Democrats, meanwhile, were their usual spineless selves. They needed GOP support for cover (their actual word, cover) because the bill was unpopular. Voters should be stepping over each other to get to the polls in November.

The two presidential candidates aren’t faring any better. Obama was promoting his usual calm — but he’s starting to look like he’s getting ready to conduct the band on the Titanic. McCain was for the bailout before he was against it on the same day. That’s gotta be a new record. You could almost hear him saying, “My friends, I know a little something about bailouts. I was a Navy jet pilot shot down over Vietnam and I had to bail out.” But after the vote was defeated, he took credit for the failure. Or maybe he was just getting prepared for election day.

If it’s any consulation, W. finally didn’t get what he wanted — even though it was at our expense. W. couldn’t even get a majority of his Texas delegation to go along with him on the bill. We can now refer to W. as President Punxutawney Phil — he’s like that groundhog who pokes his head outside his White House hole and sees his shadow and runs back inside for cover because there’s going to be six more weeks of incompetence.

Where was the Congress voting against what W. wanted in the past — like the Iraq War? Lawmakers without command of leadership shouldn’t even be allowed to pick their battles.We used to have leaders who’d say “failure is not an option.” Now we have members of both parties whoare so afraid of losing their manhood, they thinktheir constituents will believe being bipartisan means you swing both ways.

Harry Truman is in the afterlife somewhere with Jack Kennedy — and neither one can find a current-day profile in courage.

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