As House Democrats and Republicans blame each other for the Wall Street bailout bill going down in flames, Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts mocked the GOP leadership for saying that it lost some votes because of a partisan floor speech by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi blamed the crisis on "right-wing ideology" and on Republicans following a "no regulation" mentality.
Frank, one of the major architects of the bailout package, said he was "appalled" that members of Congress would put "hurt feelings" ahead of the good of the country.
"Frankly, that's an accusation against my Republican colleagues I would never have thought of making," Frank said.
"Here's the story: There's a terrible crisis affecting the American economy. We have come together on a bill to alleviate the crisis. And because somebody hurt their feelings they decide to punish the country. I mean, I would not have imputed that degree of pettiness and hypersensitivity....But think about this: Somebody hurt my feelings so I will punish the country. I mean, that's hardly plausible. And there are 12 Republican members who were ready to stand up for the economic interests of America but not if anybody insulted them.
"I think they are covering up the embarrassment of not having the votes," Frank said increduously at a Democratic news conference.
Among Democrats, 140 voted yes and 95 no. Among Republicans, 65 voted yes and 133 voted no. In the Massachusetts delegation, Democrats John Tierney, Stephen Lynch, and William Delahunt voted no.
Frank remarked on the numerical "coincidence" that the number of "deeply offended Republicans" who voted no equalled exactly the number needed to reach the 218 votes in favor to pass the bill.
"I'll make an offer," he added. "Give me those 12 people's names and I will go talk uncharacteristically nicely to them and tell them what wonderful people they are and maybe they'll now think about the country."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.