Friday, July 25, 2008

Tiberi Getting Nervous?

I was going to make a crack about how when Bush was against the housing bill, Pat was against the housing bill, then when Bush decided that the bill was better than nothing, Tiberi decided the bill was better than nothing. Easy, fits the narrative, etc. I also toyed with the idea of pointing out that the money Pat gets from the Finance/Insurance/Real Estate Sector ($358k so far this cycle) dwarfs the money he receives from any other sector, and how a bailout might be in their interests. Also easy, also true.

But the quotes in this AP article are pushing me away from the easy shots...

I'm sure that the Tiberi campaign will point at this vote as an example of breaking with the GOP when the 'interests of the district' give him reason to do so. It's the sort of vote he and his supporters would have you believe is his hallmark, when in reality it is actually pretty rare. More support comes from the public disagreement with John Boehner, Minority leader and Tiberi's mentor/bff. From the AP article:

"To ask the 94 percent of people who are paying their mortgages on time to pay additional funds so they can bail out scam artists and speculators and, frankly, banks who may have made bad loans is not fair," Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio, the Republican leader, told reporters Thursday.

"Getting our party to stand on principle is a critical part of what we have to do in order to earn our way back."

That used to be Pat's line, almost word for word. But now?

"There were a lot of things I didn't like about the bill, but this was the last train leaving the station. ... This was take it or leave it," said Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, one of 21 Republicans who originally opposed the housing measure when it was approved in May, but backed the final version on Wednesday.

Tiberi, whose district has experienced high rates of foreclosures, said he supported the measure because he thought, "The impact on the markets if we did nothing would be a far greater risk than the bad policies."

So Pat is abandoning conservative principles to support what he thinks is bad legislation, because not supporting it would not go over well in the district. That's not something one does when one is comfortable with one's chances in November.

More than the Bush-following, more than the PAC loyalty, it's the calculation and lack of confidence that are striking here.

That's my takeaway, anyway.

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