Written by Susan Mannella on .

Tom Waseleski

Don't look for any profiles in courage in the thundering vote to do nothing Monday on Capitol Hill. There was a strong connection between the House's failure to approve a financial rescue and representatives who are facing stiff re-election challenges.

Post-Gazette politics editor Jim O'Toole laid it out pretty well in his story today. In this end of Pennsylvania, Republican Reps. Tim Murphy and Phil English and Democrat Jason Altmire all voted no on the Wall Street bailout proposal. Something tells me if they were running unopposed or if this were an off-year for elections, they would have been counted in the yes column. As it is, too many representatives are more concerned about their political tails than doing what's right for the country.

Then there's America's self-proclaimed Maverick-in-Chief, John McCain. You'll recall he suspended his campaign last week to "work" on the bailout proposal. After he milked the political stunt for what it was worth, he resumed his election effort -- mission accomplished, right? -- so that Barack Obama would not have the debate stage to himself Friday night.

Yesterday morning McCain was taking credit in a speech for his bailout efforts, saying "I will never, ever be a president who sits on the sidelines when this country faces a crisis." Then reality, ironically in the form of his own Republican colleagues' opposition to the plan, intruded on his self-congratulations. Within hours the bill went down, taking a big chunk of the day's Dow with it. The Arizona senator fancies himself a Teddy Roosevelt Republican, but with political ploys like this he actually does a disservice to TR.


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