Among some of the bill's unappealing aspects: Voting for the bailout means renouncing the psychological architecture of the free market's system of risks and rewards, securing the personal portfolios of predator-class financial professionals and paralyzing the government with debt and deficit for another generation or two. The rub is that voting against it would probably have worse consequences. As Steve Pearlstein wrote in The Washington Post, "You can try to prevent a financial meltdown or you can teach Wall Street a lesson, but you can't do both at the same time." Knowing all this, competent practitioners of statecraft don't allow a vote on a bill until it's greased. The president, apparently out of mojo, left the arm-twisting to Henry Paulson; the man they called King Henry for a couple misguided days not only was a legislative rookie, but he ran the Mother of All Investment Banks before joining the administration. His arm-twisting didn't work. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for her part, thought it would be cool to make a shrill, partisan floor speech right before the vote. That really helped. The minority leader, John Boehner, was busy trying to placate rightfully rabid Republicans who would probably dethrone him if he got rolled by the administration without putting up a free-market fight. So there was no greasing for this vote. -Dick Meyer (link)
Meyer gives a great summary of what's happened so far, and a fantastic comparison to how the government handled Hurricane Katrina. It would seem everyone is fighting to get their way.