An unhappy House, divided

"As unappealing to those of us who will vote for it as it is to those who will vote against it."

Published September 29, 2008 4:27PM (EDT)

If your idea of fun is watching congressional politicians discuss what to do about "the most significant financial crisis of the post-WWII world" then CSPAN on Monday morning made for some absolutely riveting television.

The smell of fear and anger is in the air. Passing the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008" will be a historic act and the legislators know it. In 45 minutes, I heard four legislators, Republicans and Democrats, cite the Great Depression. Republicans attacked the "financial industrialists of Wall Street" while Democrats argued passionately in favor of a bill originally proposed by the Bush administration.

Conservative Republicans are not happy. "A vote for this bailout is a vote to ratify business as usual in Washington," said Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla., calling it "a gun to the head," and "extortion." Todd Akin, R-Mo., said, "If we pass this bill we'll be back here in another couple of months and the banks will still be failing."

But it's not just Republicans who are angry. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, who made news last week with her YouTube bailout sensation, also opposed the bill, declaring that it "bails out behavior" with "no reform." She also refused to accept the theory that this is "the worst financial crisis in modern times," stating that the 1980s were much worse.

Populist anger, a sense of foreboding, a stock market sharply down, and a vote coming soon.

UPDATE: Strange times alert: The far left, Dennis Kucinich, and the far right, Michelle Bachmann, are in agreement. They hate the bailout bill.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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