Gonna be an interesting afternoon for Western civilization

[UPDATED BELOW] As I’m typing this, two things appear to be happening — the bailout package has enough no votes to fail, and the stock market is tanking. I’m wondering if the latter will reverse the former. There have been two problems from the beginning with the proposed rescue plan.  First, it was labeled a ...

[UPDATED BELOW] As I'm typing this, two things appear to be happening -- the bailout package has enough no votes to fail, and the stock market is tanking. I'm wondering if the latter will reverse the former. There have been two problems from the beginning with the proposed rescue plan.  First, it was labeled a bailout, which is a really, really bad public opinion frame.  (Let me add that neither presidential candidate has helped.  McCain's interventions seem to have bolstered the House Republicans who said no; Obama's frame of Wall Street vs. Main Street made it easy for voters to believe that a financial meltdown would not affect them in the slightest.  Second, the idea of the package was to prevent a financial mewltdown.  But here's the thing -- no one gets credit for stopping a meltdown if it doesn't happen.  To use a security analogy, think about what would have happened if either the Bush or Clinton administrations had killed the leadership of Al Qaeda and the Taliban prior to June of 2001.  Even if they had claimed that they were foiling a terrorist plot against the United States, no one would have known about it, and it would have been pretty easy to attack either administration for belligerent unilateralism.  In other words, it was only after 9/11 that the American public was ready to take the actions that would have prevented 9/11.  I'm wondering if ther same thing will happen now.  If the public, or House members, sees how Wall Street is reacting to what they are doing, they might have time to change their mind (I'm not sure how long the vote will stay open).  Will the evidence of a meltdown be sufficient cover for politicians to do what they have to do?  Or will the meltdown be sufficiently melt-y to make government intervention futile by that point?  You might see several members who were opposed to the bailout financial rescue before they were in favor of it.  Developing..... UPDATE:   Oh, s**t -- and the House will not vote again today.  And the TED Spread increased by 22%.  More quick reactions on the House rejection from Megan McArdle, Paul Krugman, Brad DeLong, Jim Manzi, and Tyler CowenThis Yglesias post leaves me gobsmacked.  ANOTHER UPDATE:  I'm enough of a politics junkie to wonder how this will affect the presidential campaign.  Ramesh Ponnuru thinks that it's going to hurt McCain:  "He was trying to get House Republicans on board, after all, and he failed. Blaming the Democrats for the failure will not and should not work, given the ratios on both sides." Ezra Klein has a pretty succinct summary of what happened:  "the Republicans killed this bill. Without their cover, the Democrats couldn't save it, because politically, they couldn't take ownership of it." Ben Smith has the latest spin from both sides.  This is interesting:  "Partisans on both sides noted that, in prepared remarks today, each candidate acted as though they thought it was a done deal." I think the big question is what happens next.  Will Obama decide that he needs to lean on the Democrats who voted no?  Will McCain do the same thing on the GOP side?  After what happened last week, can he?  Will they act in concert?  Developing.... LAST UPDATE:  Further thoughts here

[UPDATED BELOW] As I’m typing this, two things appear to be happening — the bailout package has enough no votes to fail, and the stock market is tanking. I’m wondering if the latter will reverse the former. There have been two problems from the beginning with the proposed rescue plan.  First, it was labeled a bailout, which is a really, really bad public opinion frame.  (Let me add that neither presidential candidate has helped.  McCain’s interventions seem to have bolstered the House Republicans who said no; Obama’s frame of Wall Street vs. Main Street made it easy for voters to believe that a financial meltdown would not affect them in the slightest.  Second, the idea of the package was to prevent a financial mewltdown.  But here’s the thing — no one gets credit for stopping a meltdown if it doesn’t happen.  To use a security analogy, think about what would have happened if either the Bush or Clinton administrations had killed the leadership of Al Qaeda and the Taliban prior to June of 2001.  Even if they had claimed that they were foiling a terrorist plot against the United States, no one would have known about it, and it would have been pretty easy to attack either administration for belligerent unilateralism.  In other words, it was only after 9/11 that the American public was ready to take the actions that would have prevented 9/11.  I’m wondering if ther same thing will happen now.  If the public, or House members, sees how Wall Street is reacting to what they are doing, they might have time to change their mind (I’m not sure how long the vote will stay open).  Will the evidence of a meltdown be sufficient cover for politicians to do what they have to do?  Or will the meltdown be sufficiently melt-y to make government intervention futile by that point?  You might see several members who were opposed to the bailout financial rescue before they were in favor of it.  Developing….. UPDATE:   Oh, s**t — and the House will not vote again today.  And the TED Spread increased by 22%.  More quick reactions on the House rejection from Megan McArdle, Paul Krugman, Brad DeLong, Jim Manzi, and Tyler CowenThis Yglesias post leaves me gobsmacked.  ANOTHER UPDATE:  I’m enough of a politics junkie to wonder how this will affect the presidential campaign.  Ramesh Ponnuru thinks that it’s going to hurt McCain:  “He was trying to get House Republicans on board, after all, and he failed. Blaming the Democrats for the failure will not and should not work, given the ratios on both sides.” Ezra Klein has a pretty succinct summary of what happened:  “the Republicans killed this bill. Without their cover, the Democrats couldn’t save it, because politically, they couldn’t take ownership of it.” Ben Smith has the latest spin from both sides.  This is interesting:  “Partisans on both sides noted that, in prepared remarks today, each candidate acted as though they thought it was a done deal.” I think the big question is what happens next.  Will Obama decide that he needs to lean on the Democrats who voted no?  Will McCain do the same thing on the GOP side?  After what happened last week, can he?  Will they act in concert?  Developing…. LAST UPDATE:  Further thoughts here

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

More from Foreign Policy

A worker cuts the nose off the last Ukraine's Tupolev-22M3, the Soviet-made strategic aircraft able to carry nuclear weapons at a military base in Poltava, Ukraine on Jan. 27, 2006. A total of 60 aircraft were destroyed  according to the USA-Ukrainian disarmament agreement.
A worker cuts the nose off the last Ukraine's Tupolev-22M3, the Soviet-made strategic aircraft able to carry nuclear weapons at a military base in Poltava, Ukraine on Jan. 27, 2006. A total of 60 aircraft were destroyed according to the USA-Ukrainian disarmament agreement.

Why Do People Hate Realism So Much?

The school of thought doesn’t explain everything—but its proponents foresaw the potential for conflict over Ukraine long before it erupted.

Employees watch a cargo ship at a port in China, which is experiencing an economic downturn.
Employees watch a cargo ship at a port in China, which is experiencing an economic downturn.

China’s Crisis of Confidence

What if, instead of being a competitor, China can no longer afford to compete at all?

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies in the U.S. Senate in Washington on Sept. 24, 2020.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies in the U.S. Senate in Washington on Sept. 24, 2020.

Why This Global Economic Crisis Is Different

This is the first time since World War II that there may be no cooperative way out.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang applaud at the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 11.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang applaud at the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 11.

China Is Hardening Itself for Economic War

Beijing is trying to close economic vulnerabilities out of fear of U.S. containment.