Following yesterday’s vote on the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac bailout, two things should be clear to the American people: Barack Obama is a sideline watcher and Nancy Pelosi cares more about playing hyperpartisan politics than she cares about doing what’s right for the American people.

When John McCain jumped into the mess last week, 4 House Republican were on board with the bailout. When the final tally was counted yesterday, 65 Republicans voted for the bill. John McCain’s jumping into the fray meant another thing: House Republicans got a seat at the table, allowing them to negotiate into the bill some meaningful provisions that would’ve protected taxpayers to a certain extent. John Boehner worked hard to get Republicans on board. That’s the picture of leadership.

By comparison, Barack Obama wanted to stay away in the worst way. He only returned to Washington because President Bush invited him. That isn’t the picture of leadership. The minute the meeting ended, his jet was winging him away from Washington. He didn’t lift a finger over the weekend. Yes, he stayed in touch with Secretary Paulson but he didn’t call House Democrats urging them to vote for this bill.

He essentially voted present again. That’s unacceptable, especially considering the fact that this was supposedly the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. In my opinion, there’s two reasons why he isn’t interjecting himself into this crisis.

I think the main reason is because he isn’t a leader. There’s a reason why he voted present 130 times in the Illinois Senate. I think it’s because he doesn’t have the courage to stake out a firm position on anything. Duane Patterson noticed that, too, in this post:

Senator Obama, on the other hand, showed up to the White House only when invited, spoke in platitudes, left, got beat in the debate Friday night, spent the weekend speaking in more platitudes, and did not lift a finger to dial the phone of any of his Democratic colleagues in the House to try and persuade them to consider supporting a bill Obama was half-heartedly on board with for the good of the country.

Hugh Hewitt interviewed Rudy Giuliani yesterday. This exchange highlights Sen. Obama’s unwillingness to work hard for the American people:

HH: Should Obama be out there right now demanding that this pass on Thursday, Mayor?

RG: Of course. He should be working the phones. That’s what a president…this is what our great presidents do. They work the phones. It just doesn’t all happen because you make a speech and say change. It just doesn’t happen because you have a catch phrase or you happen to be able to have sort of a rock star effect on people. Politicians don’t care about rock star effects on people. They care about are you negotiating with me, what you are going to do for me, how are you going to get it done. I passed a lot of legislation as Mayor of New York City. It didn’t happen because I’m a rock star. It happened because I could negotiate with people, and I could work with them to get it done. John McCain can do that. Remember, when he went to Washington, with all the Democrats attacking him, he took the Republicans from four to 64. When Barack Obama went to Washington, it looks like the Democrats disappeared.

Sen. Obama isn’t the only person who disgraced themself yesterday. Nancy Pelosi took an ‘I don’t give a damn’ approach to passing this bill. Based on her past statements, this bill should’ve been the highest priority since gaining the speakership. Instead, she didn’t even bother having James Clyburn whip the vote. Anyone who wanted a free pass on a tough vote got one.

This was a golden opportunity for her to have a significant accomplishment since claiming the Speaker’s chair. Instead, she chose to play the role of a petty tyrant, which is what she is. Her vitriolic speech on the House floor right before the vote was unprecedented in the history of the Speaker of the House. Yesterday was a time when bringing people together and magnanimity were needed. Instead, she told her members to go their own ways. Instead, she was vitriolic, not gracious.

It isn’t a stretch to think that she wanted this bill to fail. It isn’t a stretch to think that her plan was to let the bill fail, then blame it on Republicans. The problem for Speaker Pelosi is that the American people will find out that she didn’t lift a finger to get this bill passed. She didn’t pressure Democrats to pass the bill.

It’s obvious that Pelosi share at least two traits with Sen. Obama: Both are comfortable voting present when the pressure’s on and both are comfortable not lifting a finger to get important bills passed. That isn’t leadership.

That’s a Jimmy Carter disaster waiting to happen.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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