If there was ever a clearer illustration of why the Republican brand has tanked, I don’t think I’ve seen it. It seems the Republican caucus wants no part of this bailout package, and anyone paying attention should know why.
They do not lead.
Public opinion on the proposed bailout is split, with more people against it than for it. It is a complicated matter, one that cannot be boiled down to a catchy slogan that people can recite easily or slap on their bumpers. If you have no experience keeping your constituents informed on why you made a particular vote on a particular issue, helping the nation avert a total economic meltdown may not be the issue upon which to cut your teeth. If you have not been transparent in the past, it won’t look like transparency, it will look like pandering. In short, if you haven’t really lead your people, but merely gauged their opinions and took the path of least resistance, you don’t have the tools in your bag to be of much help.
I’m all for a bailout, provided that we, also known as The Collective, approach this process as if the shoe were on the other foot. If, for some reason, the United States Treasury were to approach the banking and finance industry for an emergency loan, I’m pretty sure that they, having the upper hand, or leverage, if you prefer, would ensure that they received, at a minimum, the following:
1. Control over how the money was spent.
2. A stake in the “company.” Percentages can be determined later.
3. A healthy return on their investment.
4. A hedge fee for making the loan in the first place.
Approach it as a business deal. Have Congress announce that it will provide a bailout measure to calm nervous investors. Explain that in a business transaction of that size, due diligence is required. Go home and explain to your constituents what is at stake if we do nothing, then lead them, regardless of what impact that decision has on your chances of re-election. That, my friends, is leadership.