October 2008 Editorial Winner

Congress fails horribly on Wall Street bailout bill
By David Stringer, The Norman Transcript

Let's call this a mid-term grade for Congress on the Wall Street bailout/rescue bill. We'll give them an F.

As far as we're concerned they've failed horribly. The only reason we don't just fail them now is that there are signs they'll actually pull this off. However, what they've shown America in terms of their ability to put partisanship aside and deal with the crisis is little short of abysmal.

Let's start with how it got this way. The finger-pointing on whether it was the Bush or Clinton administrations that started this, isn't helping. Yet, there was an awful lot of lip service paid over the past year to the mortgage "crisis." If it truly was a crisis, why didn't they step up and do something to resolve it until it resulted in massive financial failure? In their true form, no real action was even attempted until severe damage had been done and more than $1 trillion had been lost, much of that in Americans' retirement savings.

And when they did attempt to do something, the leadership failed. Of both parties. Monday's vote was an embarrassment on a world stage. Without arguing the merits of the failed bill, leadership severely underestimated their ability to judge the public's sentiment as well as that of their own party's membership.

Now we move to phase two, where they can't help but load the Senate bill up with extras as they sacrifice substance for votes. We don't disagree, for example, that a revision is necessary on the Alternative Minimum Tax program, even if it has little to do with the situation at hand. But was the extension of a tax break for rum, one for wool products and wool research, and one for racing facilities really necessary?

Washington seems incapable of passing any kind of clean legislation, even in the midst of crisis.

And they wonder (at least we presume they do) why most Americans give them such a poor approval rating. Note to Washington: Your crisis mid-term grade's an F. You have a few days to cram to get a passing grade. Please. Show us something.