After first being described as a bail-out, the bill was now being called a rescue package, and all those lobbying to push it through were emphasising that this was meant to help the average American on Main Street, not the bankers of Wall street.
Wasn't this a dog of a bill? According to a strict application of the rules of analogy the partisans of pure neoliberalism disappointed by this bill could be compared to the supporters of the socialism of the third international, disappointed by the Nazi-Soviet pact. In both cases the directorate of a political tendency abruptly changed course and adopted a line wholly contrary to that which it had hitherto taken and the line advocated by its erstwhile supporters. Consequently in each case the directorate was revealed as less the providential expression of the will of its supporters than an appendage of other interest groups (respectively: Wall Street; the Kremlin). Nevertheless it would be unjust to make this comparison. While it is legitimate to consider the Republican Party and the PCF to be equivalent in the matter of disappointing their supporters, the existance of many generic similarities that are not consequential to the main point of comparison serves to blur a limited comparison into a general comparison. Hence one can suggest a general analogy between the Republican Party and the PCF without having to substantiate an explicit claim to this effect by establishing an accurate limited analogy.
The operatic struggle in the House of Representatives told us some things about the nature of the links between the economic and legislative powers in the US. Principally House Republicans fought to derail the bill or at least to gallantly appear among the defeated when it inevitably passed. The Democrats mainly caved in. The "rebels" could have framed their objections in the cold style of the professional economist but did not. They could have put together a credible manifesto and tried to defend it. The science of economics, as is well known, is hardly effective without the warranty of finance capital: of JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs etc. It appears that the Representatives took seriously their role as conduits between the people and the executive and framed their objections in folksy populism, to judge from the comments of those whose minds were changed:
Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Missouri who voted "no" on Monday, said: "America feels differently today than it did on Monday about this Bill."
Sue Myrick, a Republican, returned from her North Carolina district having changed her mind after an array of local banks told her that they were at risk of collapsing.
John Boehner, the House Minority Leader, held back tears: "I think most Americans realise we are facing a serious crisis. It's time to act on behalf of the American people. It's about their savings, about their jobs."
They have some autonomy but the gravitational pull of economic power makes real independence onerous, unpalatable, eccentric.