I’m not sure who is actually going to vote for Paulson’s bailout. Paulson is calling for a quick and clean bill. Anything else will drive GOP support away. But I can’t see the Democrats, as craven as they are, handing over nearly a trillion dollars with no strings attached and no goodies for the poor, suffering American people. I think that’s a dog that won’t hunt. This is an unusual situation where the most politically attuned people on both sides of the aisle are utterly opposed to Paulson’s plan. The conservatives don’t want new regulation and they’re opposed in principle to having the government buy up private/non-governmental businesses and assets/liabilities. The progressives just want to punish the idiots that got us into this mess.
It’s too early to tell how this will play out. Ideally, the Democrats would stall until next January, hoping to take total control of the situation. But this is too much of a financial emergency to allow for stalling. Ordinarily, that is a recipe for the Democrats getting rolled (think Patriot Act). But, this time, there is very strong opposition on both sides of the aisle and among activists of both parties.
I think the Democrats should pass what they want in the House, pass what they can in the Senate, and ignore all veto threats. Bush needs a bill. He will cave.