Breaking: GOP walks out on bailout; WaMu seized.

Two stories breaking in the past 90 minutes...

The GOP has walked-out on bailout talks tonight, according to reports at Politico, and also on Reuters.

Additionally, the Federal Office of Thrift Supervision has formally seized the operations of the nation's largest savings & loan, Washington Mutual (WaMu), after a deal was struck between WaMu and JPMorgan Chase for the latter to acquire WaMu's depositor accounts.

Essentially, this means that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the entity that insures depositor accounts, will be required to obtain a significant, new round of capital to cover what's anticipated to be an ongoing stream of scores of bank failures in coming weeks and months. (117 banks are now on the FDIC's highly-confidential [they don't want the public to panic and withdraw funds from these institutions, so they guard the list's contents] "watch list," as I write this.)

Meanwhile, back to the story that shows that when it comes to the well-being of the voting public, the GOP never fails to amaze us when they demonstrate how low McCain's willing to go to try and change the campaign narrative.


Negotiations over a $700 billion Wall Street bailout plan broke down Thursday amid a round of partisan finger-pointing, with top Democrats alleging that Sen. John McCain and House GOP leaders may have purposely derailed the talks in order to score political points.

According to one GOP lawmaker, some House Republicans are saying privately that they'd rather "let the markets crash" than sign on to a massive bailout.

--snip--

"For the sake of the altar of the free market system, do you accept a Great Depression?" the member asked.

--snip--

"There is an agreement between Sen. Dodd and Chairman Frank," said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Steel reiterated that Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) -- who, as ranking member of the House Financial Service Committee participated in talks on the compromise -- "wasn't empowered to negotiate" any agreement on behalf of other House Republicans.

The Politico story also went on to mention that Treasury Secretary Paulson rushed back to the Hill late tonight to attempt to reconcile the increasingly apparent fracture within the Republican Party leadership there.

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Ohio is Clinton Country

It's official. For those that still have doubts. Ohio is Hillary Country.

The Lion's Den

The Lion's Den

Ohio is in the Bag!

It's in the Bag

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Boehner Can't Raise It, But He Can Spend It -- On Legal Defense

Earlier today I noted that House Minority Leader John Boehner was bemoaning the fact that his caucus is having a terrible time trying to raise money for the 2008 elections. Looking at the way he has been spending money, though, one might begin to understand a part of the reason why people have been reluctant to support House Republicans. Mike Soraghan has the story for The Hill.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) spent more than $110,000 in legal fees this year to deal with a Securities Exchange Commission investigation of possible insider trading at student lender Sallie Mae.

Four staffers interviewed by SEC investigators were later issued clearance letters indicating no action would be taken against them, but the investigation is ongoing and the link to Boehner could highlight his political ties to the now-scandal-tarred student loan industry.

[...]

The SEC is investigating whether Sallie Mae Chairman Al Lord had inside information about President Bush's budget proposal, which when it was released in February proposed cuts in subsidies for student loan companies.

[...]

On Feb. 26, Boehner's office was notified by the House Counsel's office that an SEC investigation of the transaction would include them, according to a source familiar with the situation. The SEC sought e-mails, notes, calendars and other records concerning Bush's budget plans for student loan subsidies.

As Soraghan notes, Boehner has been very close -- very close -- to the student lending industry over the years. Sallie Mae alone contributed enough money to Boehner's campaigns to make it his 13th largest contributor. Lord personally donated close to $10,000 to Boehner's leadership PAC at a time when Boehner was chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, which oversees the student lending industry. And there's more, as I noted more than a year ago.

Almost 80% of the money given to House education committee members by advocates for the student loan industry and for-profit colleges went to Republicans in the 2003-04 campaign cycle, according to an analysis by the Chronicle of Higher Education. More than half of the money went to two Republicans: then-Chairman John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), chairman of the higher-education subcommittee.

With an appalling record of supporting the for-profit student loan industry over students themselves, it's no wonder that younger voters have been flocking to the Democrats, whom they backed in House elections last fall by a 60 percent to 38 percent margin. And with the SEC sniffing around Boehner's actions -- and Boehner is not the only Republican these days to come under scrutiny for potential improprieties -- and Boehner spending big bucks to fight back such an investigation, it's little wonder why folks aren't lining up to donate to try to help make him Speaker in the 111th Congress.

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A Glimpse Into The 2008 GOP Playbook

The right-wing's reaction to Al Gore's winning The Nobel Peace prize on Friday was pathetic if somewhat predictable. The gist of their beef was that awarding it to him was politically motivated and that there were people far more worthy than he; according to John McCain, the Burmese monks should have gotten it, Fox News did their best to make the case for General Petraeus and National Review Online said Gore should share it with "well-known peace campaigner Osama bin Laden."

But this is much more than a case of sour grapes. Paul Krugman makes a keen observation about the root of what he calls the right's Gore Derangement Syndrome in his column today:

What is it about Mr. Gore that drives right-wingers insane?

Partly it’s a reaction to what happened in 2000, when the American people chose Mr. Gore but his opponent somehow ended up in the White House. Both the personality cult the right tried to build around President Bush and the often hysterical denigration of Mr. Gore were, I believe, largely motivated by the desire to expunge the stain of illegitimacy from the Bush administration.

And now that Mr. Bush has proved himself utterly the wrong man for the job — to be, in fact, the best president Al Qaeda’s recruiters could have hoped for — the symptoms of Gore derangement syndrome have grown even more extreme.

The worst thing about Mr. Gore, from the conservative point of view, is that he keeps being right. In 1992, George H. W. Bush mocked him as the “ozone man,” but three years later the scientists who discovered the threat to the ozone layer won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 2002 he warned that if we invaded Iraq, “the resulting chaos could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam.” And so it has proved.

This refusal to concede that Democrats are right on the issues that matter most to Americans extends to the right-wing's delusion about their losses in 2006. They'd like to think that it was merely a function of discontent with Iraq, the president and Republican corruption; the last thing they want to admit is that the American people have concluded that the Democratic Party is simply right and the Republican Party is simply wrong because they would then have to admit that conservatism as a governing philosophy is a failure. But that's exactly what John Boehner all but admitted yesterday on Fox News Sunday when he laid out his strategy for winning back the House.

HUME: What is your plan to restore your party to the majority?

BOEHNER: I think we've got to be the party of solutions. The American people don't care who's in charge of congress. I think they're tired of all the partisan bickering and all the noise here and they want solutions. And I think you'll see our party come forward with solutions on healthcare, and how do we get high quality health insurance to all Americans, how do we insure that they have good access to healthcare, what's our answer to global climate change, how do we get to energy independence? I think we as a political party need to provide solutions to those concerns that Americans have, but solutions built on Republican principles.

Let operation co-opt Democratic issues begin.

Certainly, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we should be flattered indeed. Perhaps the Republican leadership isn't as dumb as they look. They seem to finally have realized that the only chance their party has to avoid being relegated to electoral irrelevance is to engage on the mainstream issues people care about; in other words look and sound like Democrats.

Unfortunately for Boehner, the reason this strategy is doomed before it's begun is that an admission that Democrats are on the right side of the issues and of history is not something the right-wing will ever abide.

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Congressmen, Is It a "Small Price?"

The House Minority Leader John Boehner said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday that the blood shed in Iraq and the billions spent were a "small price." A lot of bloggers pounded Boehner for this and rightfully so, though many missed an important angle: Boehner is the leader of his fellow 200 Republican members of the House of Representatives.

So on Thursday, I called on the Republican members of Nevada's delegation (Jon Porter and Dean Heller) to answer one question: Do they think the death of Nevada's fallen soldiers is a "small price to pay?"

I also asked members of the 50-State blog network to do the same. Thus far five other blogs have done so.


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Diaries

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