You know how it is. Holmes and Moriarty wrestling on a cliff edge with the Reichenbach Falls thundering behind them...
This Bail Out Wall Street drama is actually becoming quite - is 'exciting' the right word, or is it 'comical'? No,no, no, not half sombre enough, surely! But you can't be entirely sombre at a cliff-hanger. It's either suspense or laughter.
I came home from a late class at the university (just as a lot of people were arriving to hear the late Cherie Blair speak in the Lecture Theatre) to the news that the House of Representatives had voted down the big $700 billion bail-out scheme. It seems the Republicans voted it down, not because they thought it was a bad idea - in fact they were all prepared to support it - but because nasty Nancy Pelosi had the gall to blame the current administration for the mess. How could she do such a thing! The administration had only been in power for eight years!
What she said towards the end of her speech, recommending the measure, was..
"[W]hen was the last time someone asked you for $700bn? It is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush administration's failed economic policies — policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything-goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system."
...and other stuff like it. Well, you can't go around saying things like that when it's a bipartisan bill and it is clearly nobody's fault, nor ever has been, especially not the administration's. "If she's going to say things like that, we're just not playing!' said enough Republicans to sink the bill, as a result of which the Dow has dropped a record 700 points. But it's a matter of principle. Sooner let it fall twice as much as have your record so much as referred to!
It is hard to believe the Republicans could have been so stupid, because it is going to play very badly for them in the press. Obama has already taunted them with preferring party pride to the interests of the country. I can't quite see the escape clause out of that one. That is unless the Republicans can turn round in one extravagant gesture and accuse the Democrats of having effectively finessed them out of office by betting on their stupidity, a bet they won.... but then, er..
Note: Mark Granier at Lightbox has posted a very intelligent, well argued response to my comments about Damien Hirst. I will follow that up as soon as I can.