I spoke to a sympathetic Hill staffer today who works for a Midwestern congressman. His boss isn’t too keen about voting for the billions and billions of dollars for European bank bailouts that Rahm Emanuel had tacked onto the War Supplemental. His boss had voted "yes" on the supplemental on May 14 when it first came up, not because he thinks it’s a great idea but because he bought into the Dave Obey premise that Obama deserves a year to get the Afghanistan situation under control.
It didn’t do any good to argue that the West has been trying–futilely–to get the Afghanistan situation under control since Alexander the Great got bogged down there in 330 BC. (Alexander took a few months subduing the world’s greatest empire of the day, Persia, but couldn’t overcome the unruly tribes of Afghanistan for years–until he finally told Hephaestion, his boyfriend and soul mate, to go sleep in another tent and married Roxanna, an Afghan chieftain’s daughter.)
Anyway, to balance the disagreeable nature of the foreign bank bailout, something likely to cost the Democrats at least a couple dozen House seats in 2010, Emanuel tacked on another piece of legislation–one that had already passed overwhelmingly and is absolutely essential for congressmen in auto industry districts, colloquially known as Cash For Clunkers. They can’t vote against what has turned into a real Frankenstein creation, even if it could also be a Democratic congressional caucus suicide pact.
Emanuel hoped that, by gratuitously attaching the car bill to the IMF bailout, he could count on holding onto a batch of nervous Democrats–and pressure some Republicans. Recall, 59 Republicans broke with Boehner and Cantor to cross the aisle on June 9th and vote for Cash for Clunkers.
Some of them are the exact targets Emanuel has been trying to woo away from the hysterical Cantor in the Supplemental battle, particularly Michigan Republicans like Thaddeus McCotter, Fred Upton, Dave Camp, Vern Ehlers, Candice Miller and Mike Rogers. Emanuel figured it could also give him a shot at John Shimkus (R-IL), Mike Turner (R-OH), Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), Mark Souder (R-IN), Don Manzullo (R-IL), Joe Pitts (R-PA), Tim Johnson (R-IL), Steve Austria (R-OH), Steve LaTouette (R-OH), Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) and a few other Midwestern Republicans whose constituents have been devastated by the auto industry collapse.
Of course, that goes for plenty of Democrats as well, particularly Midwest freshmen Mark Schauer (D-MI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Andre Carson (D-IN), and Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Debbie Halvorson (D-IL), Bill Foster (D-IL) and Steve Driehaus (D-OH).