September 29, 2008
The Bailout Vote: Cowardice or Venality?
Posted by Gordon Smith

The story being told about the bailout vote is simple: common folk hate the idea of a bailout, so the representatives with tough elections on the near horizon voted against the bailout bill.

If you favored the bailout bill, you might tend to think of votes like this as cowardly. Where is the leadership on this crucial issue?

Anthony Ha uses the data at (a website dedicated to "illuminating the connection" between money and politics) to tell another familiar political story. Looking at this page, Anthony observes:

Overall, bailout supporters received an average of 54 percent more in campaign contributions from banks and securities than bailout opponents over the last five years. The disparity also held true if you look at individual parties. In fact, the 140 Democrats who voted for the bailout received almost twice as much money from banks and securities as the 95 Democrats who voted against it. (The difference was closer to 50 percent for Republicans.)

The usual disclaimers apply, but the data give us an intriguing alternative story.

Of course, there is also the possibility that the "nay" votes were heroic.

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