Cloakroom Conversations

Cries from the House GOP leadership notwithstanding, the failure of the bailout package to pass the House had nothing really to do with Nancy Pelosi’s speech.

It wasn’t Nancy that upset them — it was Boehner and Blunt and Bush.

The disgruntled members of the GOP caucus were probably telling the leadership things like this in the cloakroom right before the vote:

Members: We’re screwed. We’ve been backing this administration unquestioningly for 7 years, and now it’s all going to get thrown in our faces.

Boehner: Nonsense. These are democrats. We’ll still be able to stick to them, because they’re going to be on the hook for this one too. They’ll be voting for it as well, so it’s all good.

Members: We’re not talking about this vote. We’re talking about all the crap that put us in this position. For crying out loud, Paulson is one of ours, right? He was head of Goldman Sachs until two years ago, right? That’s what the Democrats are going to hit us with: "You guys had the keys, and you drove the car not just into a ditch but over a cliff."

Boehner: Nonsense. We’ve always been able to spin better than they can on two subjects – national security and business. That won’t change. We can still beat them, even if we pass this bill.

Enough folks bought that in the cloakroom to make it look like the bill would pass. But when those folks heard just a hint of their own words coming out of Nancy Pelosi’s lips, all Boehner’s assurances went up in smoke.

Their anger is at Boehner for his incompetence, and also at themselves for going along with him and Bush too many times, all for the sake of party unity.

But they just can’t say that out loud, so the public target is Nancy.

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