Lost amidst all of the post-game punditry and Monday-morning quarterbacking following yesterday's vote in the House of Representatives on the financial bailout plan was any mention of the fact that House members from both parties who voted for the bailout have received a lot more money from the finance, insurance and real estate industries than those who voted against it.
So, was yesterday's rejection of the rescue plan evidence that House members heard loud and clear from rank-and-file voters that any bailout should be a good deal for average working folks and not just a sweet deal for Wall Street? Or was it just a fundraising ploy, a pointed message to the industries at the center of the financial collapse that they had better be a little more – OK, a lot more – generous to those House members who got less help with their elections in the past?
Much remains to be seen. But one thing is clear. It's hard to imagine yesterday's vote being the final word on the bailout. The high rollers at the heart of this mess have pumped $340 million into federal campaigns for the 2008 election alone and $2 billion since 1990. The big question is not whether they will get something approximating the $700 billion return on their "investment" that they are begging for, but rather what if any strings will be attached.
It's all about the strings now, if you ask me.