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Bailout Politics: The Tools of Congressional Leadership

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THE HOUSE IS NOT A HOME The team

So, Democratic and Republican leaders in the House of Representatives actually followed through on their promise to deliver the needed votes to pass the big Wall Street bailout legislation this afternoon. How did they bounce back after Monday’s big defeat? By patiently explaining to reluctant members precisely how the legislation will prevent a catastrophic collapse of America’s financial system, right? Eh, something vaguely along those lines was probably mentioned in the last few days. But since a lot of votes went the other way on Monday because, even in the face of a grave national crisis, many politicians were concerned more about their job security than anything else, congressional leaders probably spent a good hunk of their time assuaging and manipulating concerns about the upcoming election. And that’s done not with wonk talk, but with blatant vote-getting gambits and other promises of political currency. Let’s take a look at what tools your congressional leaders may have used to flip votes in favor of the bailout.

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