Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Biden vs. McCain vs. Obama - Voting Records for Votes that Matter

In the last month of political campaigning, there have been many references to the voting records of senators Joseph Biden, John McCain, and Barack Obama. Further, Joseph Biden, John McCain, and Barack Obama claim that they will bring change to Washington D.C. Specifically, all three senators claim that they have reached across the aisle to get things done and, thus, if elected, will continue to bring change in the future. I have analyzed the three senators' voting records from the 110th United States Congressional session, which is the session of Congress that serves during President George W. Bush's last two years (i.e., January 2007 - January 2009). Specifically, I have examined only the senate votes with a narrow margin of zero or one (e.g., 50-50, 49-48) because these are the votes where the three senators have had the greatest opportunity to reach across the aisle to bring change to Washington. It should be noted that ties are broken by the Vice President Dick Cheney.

Narrow Margin Voting Records (110th Congress)

I tallied the votes without showing any favoritism towards Democrats or Republicans. The tallying of the votes is delineated by instances in which Biden, McCain, and Obama voted with their party, against their party, or abstained from voting. In addition, the votes are categorized using an over-simplified topic or predominating theme (e.g., abortion, adoption tax credit). The results:

Summary of Biden, McCain, and Obama Voting Records

One of my professors from the Crosby MBA Program at the University of Missouri said "The best indicator of future performance is past performance." With that maxim in mind, it is time to summarize which senators put their money where their mouth is and is truthfully using the campaign slogan "that's not change, that's more of the same." In sum, the results are very disappointing because all three senators vote with their party a majority of the time during narrow margin votes.

Joseph Biden - Joseph Biden has been a party "yes man" voting with the Democrats 88% of the time on narrow margin votes.
John McCain - Over the last two years, John McCain has not lived up to his self-proclaimed "maverick" title because he only voted against his party 4% of the time in narrow margin votes.
Barack Obama - Considering he abstained from voting 44% of the time, Barack Obama can not be expected to bring change since he did not take a stance (i.e., vote) on many important issues; unless you consider abstaining as taking a stance. It should be noted that like Obama, 37 other senators did not vote against their party in a single narrow margin vote.
Apparently, presidential political strategy is for candidates to vote inline with their party or to abstain, neither of which provides much information to the voting American public. Unfortunately, comparing Sarah Palin's gubernatorial record to the three senators records would be like comparing apples to oranges so her maverick status must be determined some other way.

The Real Mavericks

Finally, the following spreadsheet highlights the senators who voted against their party the most during narrow margin votes and, specifically, the senators that crossed the aisle on important issues. Thus, this is the list of the real bipartisan mavericks. It needs to be noted that this list excludes the two independents Joseph Lieberman and Bernard Sanders, who are mavericks simply by being independents. Ben Nelson the Democratic senator from Nebraska and George Voinovich the Republican senator from Ohio have led the bipartisan effort over the last two years during narrow margin votes.


  1. Hound, how did you decide the definition of "narrow margin vote"? Would the analysis be different if you included 52-48 votes or 53-47 votes?

  2. Bangert, I searched the internet looking for data for congressional voting records. I did not find a download-able table of data but did find that The Washington Post lists votes by narrow margin. So, narrow margins is the Washington Posts definition not mine. Aggregating the Washington Post data was time consuming. Please let me know if you find data that is easier to analyze.

  3. You should check the 109th session. That way, you can remove any noise introduced by campaigning for president.

  4. Good idea, but I need easier-to-manage data if I'm going to do the analysis again.

  5. The Senate website shows the results of all of the roll call votes here:

    It is not in table form, but you could probably write a little program to modify the data.

  6. Bangert, thanks for the tip. Ideally, I'd be able to download all of the votes with one file.

  7. Yeah, ideally... I thought that you were a web developer. Can't you you just code up a program to scroll though all the links on the page and build the file you are looking or based on all the votes?

  8. Interesting, but I would be more interested to know why there were so many abstentions from both Obama and McCain. Considering how much extraneous 'stuff' that can get attached to a bill, it seems awfully difficult to find a real take home message.

  9. Among the 100 senators, abstaining was a rare occurrence. Obama and McCain knowing that they were presidential candidates must have considered it too risky to vote on certain bills. It seems like not voting in a narrow margin vote would disappoint that candidate's party since one vote has the potential to make a big difference.

  10. Mr. Miller, what are the contents of those issues. just having taglines like "abortion" is sort of abstract and contains little substance. is either of these candidates expected to vote against their parties. After all they chose their affiliations based on beliefs. That's why McCain voted with Bush about 90% of the times. This is why, as an Obama supporter, I never looked at that attack point as having substance. I think that most Americans, R and D, expected that. An example of what I mean as having substance is the campaign add that accuses Senator Obama of wanting to pass legislation that wants to teach sex education to kindergartens. Eventhough it's a fat out lie, it's a concrete accusation. I guess I said all that to ask this question. Where can I find a more detailed descriptions of those issues that Senators Obama, Biden and McCain voted with or against their respective parties. I hope that I am clear in what I'm trying to express to you. My apologies if I am not. Politics is something that I started paying attention to after 9/11 and have just started get more in depth recently.

  11. Carl, great points. You can view the narrow margin votes in more detail at I agree that we should not expect the candidates to vote against their party. However, I was motivated to do this research because both candidates claim to have been different than average politicians in that they have worked with the opposing party on important issues and, thus, they claim that they will continue to lead bipartisan efforts. Unfortunately, neither candidate has done much bipartisan voting recently, at least not when it mattered (i.e., in a narrow margin vote).

  12. Thanks for the link. I did take a look at the narrow margin voting record and see where you make your point. However, the issues voted on in the narrow margin votes didn't seem to propose solutions that are as detrimental to the quality of life for Americans as the other proposals from the wide margin voting. Again, I wll disclose the fact that I'm an Obama supporter. I also think that McCain supporters would look at it in that perspective as well. if you don't mind answering, may I ask if you are an Independent?

  13. Yes, I am registered as an Independent. As a small business owner and MBA grad I like Republican tax policy and deregulation but lean more towards Democrats on social issues and foreign least for the moment :)

  14. check out this website for voting records: although it does not seem to differentiate between abstention and not being present.

  15. I just got an email from a relative pointing me to this page. While it's an interesting concept, and definitely a shout out to you for going through the effort, but to use this data to look for a pattern of whether or not a candidate crossed party lines and such, drawing a conclusion from this data would be an incorrect assumption for the following reasons:

    - The idea that only close margin votes are the most critical is a flawed concept. Just because a vote is close doesn't mean the issue being voted upon is important. There could be any number of reasons why both sides decided to get involved or not, and there is the possiblity that not a single one of those reasons could be deamed 'important'. For example, the vote to go to war with Iraq? This was arguably one of the most important issues in recent history, but from the data it wouldn't classify as a close margin vote because the vote was too loopsided (77 fore, 23 against).

    - While it's great to use the Washington Posts definition of close margin, who's to say this is right for the subject? Why isn't a 3 - 5 point margin considered close? This could drastically skew the results, but again, the concept that only looking at close-margin votes is flawed. Also consider that these results are ONLY for these cases. Hence each senator could have voted against their party plenty of times, but you wouldn't know from this data.

    - The concept that voting against your party is the only representation that you cross party lines is flawed as this isn't the only way to reach out across party lines. Each item that goes up for a vote is a very complicated collection of ideas and concepts that want to be put into law. Many times reaching across party lines is about negotiating that collection of ideas into something people can agree on and will vote on. Also realize that reaching across party lines is sometimes about trying to get the few extra votes you need to get something passed. Hence you're not trying to get the entire opposite party to agree to something, but you're looking for those key people that are perhaps on the fence, or undecided to vote with you. This metric has no way of representing this.

    - Length of tenure is not accounted for in this. Considering Obama has been in a presidential race for a good portion of his service, hence there's a lot of Non Votes on that list. If you look at McCain's voting record in the same time frame (about mid 2007 to now), he has about as many NVs as Obama. This is mostly due to having to be on the campaign trail and not having time to get fully caughty up on the issues being voted upon and such. This metric does not account for this.

    - Since a voting item is about a collection of ideas and concepts, sometimes there's 1 or a few of those concepts that are absolutely unacceptable and therefore a no, or a NV is used, regardless of how important the main issue on the item is. This metric does not account for these occurences.

    - One thing to keep in mind is also that voting order is not a factor. When reading this, it gives the impression that with these votes it came down to a very close call, and the candidates each had an opportunity to think about which way to lean to be the 'last vote' to make the difference. This is not the case as everybody goes in and votes in no particular order.

    I definitely think it's very cool that you put this data together, but it doesn't really tell us anything meaningful about the candidates. This part of being a senator is a very complicated process that can not be easily summed up by looking at a few statitics. The situations that each senator is in plays highly into how they'll vote. Also there are many ways to reach across party lines to try and get things done that can not be accounted for in a single statistic.


  16. WAY TO GO BENSON! That's exactly what my point was, but you were able to drive it home with much more precision.

  17. To Mr. Miller, other Inddys and especially to Repubs and Conservs. I wish that I could articulate this in the manner the Benson did(maybe he can hit a home run with this point too). I'm just the "Little Guy", so I'll try to make this short and simple. I support Obama for a couple of reasons. However, I'll point out why I don't support McCain. Four years ago the R's made great efforts to tell the American People, us, that just because a man wears the uniform doesn't mean that he can run our country(oh, don't forget about political flipflopping). Also, John McCain said himself that he voted with Bush 90% of the times. That's not a maverick that's a mimic. These two things don't bother me as much as the "do as I say, not as I do" mentality of the Repubs. They use morality as their biggest platform, yet a lot of them barely have morals themselves.
    John McCain married the woman that he cheated on his wife with. That's not morality that's reality (by the way, Palin allegedly had an affair with her husbands business partner). The R's use religon as their battle cry, yet the way they vote don't seem to Christian to me. They don't just want to reform social programs so that people that don't need them can't take advantage of them, they want to eliminate them completely. The main reason that I'm not voting for McCain is G.W. Bush.

    Putting John McCain wouldn't be trying to CHANGE the direction of our country(McCain is so much of a maverick that he couldn't come up with his own campain slogan. That's not a maverick that's a mimic). Electing McCain would be like me housesitting and babysitting for you while you're on vacation for a week. Then when you return home, your house is a filthy mess, your kids are starving, no food in the fridge and the money you gave me was spent on BS. You then tell me that I screwed up big time and get the hell out. then I say "I'm sorry. I can make it up to you. When you go on your vacation next year I can send my little brother over. He'll do 90% of the things that I did but he'll do a hell of a lot better than I did." Then you say "Have him to give us a call." Now which is more crazy, me offering or you accepting?

    McCain + Palin= More BU**SH**

  18. Benson, thanks for your comment. I agree that my analysis is over-simplified. The limiting factor in analyzing voting records is access to raw data that can be manipulated in Excel. I am going to take a look at bouldkim's link: . let me know if you find some raw data that can be more deeply analyzed. thanks.

  19. I think that McCain plus Palin will equal more Bush, but I think that's a good thing, not a bad thing, and here's why. What do most people complain about when they talk about the Bush Administration.

    1. Major Increase in National Debt.

    I agree, it's a huge increase in debt, but we are in a war, so let's compare our economy now to our economy in our last major war, which was WWII. It's actually significantly better, the debt versus the percent of gdp is less than half as much and under the average for the last half a century.

    2. The Tax Cuts

    The tax cuts did their job and increased tax revenue to 18.5% of gdp in 2007, which is above the 60 year average.

    3. War in Iraq

    Most people today will say wrong war because it was Al-Qaeda who attacked us on 9/11, please, we are fighting a war on terror, if we had that philosophy, it would mean we would have to wait for each different terrorist organization to attack us first before we took them out. We took on Iraq first because they had been a serious threat, were a serious threat, and would have always been a serious threat. We already had to go over there in the Gulf War, and would of had to of done something in the future. Saddam Hussein was an evil man, he hated America and would always be scheming against us, and he killed an estimated 2 million people while he was in power. Once everything in Iraq is finished, we will have saved a country and established a stronghold for us to assault terror in the future.

    4. Loss of American Lives in Iraqi War

    The thing that people never seem to mention is the fact that since 9/11, we haven't been attacked in the homeland by terrorists. You hear all these stories about mothers crying because they lost their sons in the war, don't get me wrong, it's very sad, but look. How many people died on 9/11, around 3000. How many American soldiers have died so far in the War, around 4200. On 9/11, 3000 people died in a matter of hours, 4200 have died so far in five years. If Bush wouldn't have done anything, we could of easily have hit those numbers in an attack on American soil, and we would still have crying mothers.

    5. Current Economic State

    The current economic state has nothing to do with the War in Iraq and the Tax Cuts. It has to do with more government involvement in the mortgage department by making it easier for everyone to get loans, which all started in the late 90s and kept driving the housing market up so that when it came down, it came down hard. I put everyone at fault for this, republicans, democrats, the president, and mostly congress. People need to remember that congress has the power, if you have a united congress, they can do whatever they want, no matter who the president is. One thing I wish Bush would have done better is tried to clean up congress from all the greed and corruption.


    Here's why I'm voting for McCain over Obama.

    1. McCain is going to keep the Bush tax cuts and give more tax breaks to middle class families, like if you have children. Obama is going to give tax cuts to the middle class and increase tax rates for the upper class, which overall will increase taxes.

    Increasing taxes during a recession is a terrible idea, and history shows it. Hoover did it during the great depression, and we all know how that turned out.

    2. Fact, McCain has more experience than Obama. Fact, McCain is more likely to die while in office than Obama. Fact, Biden has more experience than Palin and Obama. Fact, Palin and Obama have about the same experience, but in different areas.

    So just on that note, you would vote for McCain because for everyday that McCain is in office, Palin will get more experience, and if McCain dies, Palin will have more experience when she becomes President than Obama would if he becomes President.

    3. McCain and Obama say they have crossed party lines and will continue to do so. They also say they want to cut spending.

    Obama didn't start preaching this until McCain did and McCain has a much better record to back that up than Obama.

    4. There is a lot of news stories about the backgrounds of Palin and Obama, not as much about McCain.

    There are so many stories, who knows what's true and what's not, but I'll just go on the fact that if some of them are true, Obama is going for president and Palin is not, so I'll go with McCain.

  20. Chris, thanks for your comment.

    Regarding "Fact, Palin and Obama have about the same experience, but in different areas.", Obamba is leading in the polls because he is doing the best job of articulating a thorough understanding of America's problems. Palin on the other hand has shown only a surface-level understanding of America's problems. So, they might have the same amount of experience but they certainly do not have the same quality of experiences.

    On a side note, I don't understand McCain's health insurance plan that involves a $5,000 tax credit. Do you know how that would work? Seems like it might add confusion to an already confusing health care system :(

  21. Pay close attention Chris, TAKE OFF YOUR POD PEOPLE GOGGLES AND SEE CLEARLY. I think it's really shameful that people will allows rhetoric to dictate how they make choices. Everything you used to outline your reasoning for voting for the McCaine/Palin ticket are the same 'ol talking points of the same 'ol talking heads. WAKE UP.

    First off, the idea that America hasn't been attacked since 9/11 because of Bush's decision to go into Iraq is a joke. Anyone that takes the time to think for themselves instead of finding security and convenience in what they want to hear knows this. We had not been attacked for the 60 years prior to 9/11 going back to December 7, 1941. So make that argument 54 years from now. Furthermore, whether it's 3000 lives in five hours or 4000 lives in five years doesn't matter. Life loss is life loss. Answer this honestly. How many innocent lives do you think have been lost in addition to the lives of our soldiers in Iraq. To be the Pro Life Party they sure don't seem to mind tallying up on the body count. My fault, Pro Life means from the womb to the cradle to them.
    The state of the economy is not be because of the war in Iraq. However when our country is literally bankrupt, spending $10 billion per month in Iraq seems irrational and irresponsible. We are losing the war against poverty right here at home.

    Your logic on Obama's and Palin's experience doesn't need to be addressed because it's not logical at all.

    As for as the tax cuts, under Obama's plan, families earning over $250,000 won't see a tax increase they just won't get the tax cuts that those making less than that will get. Also, Obama's plan will allow for all citizens to get the health care plan that congress gets. EVERYBODY. McCaine wants to give a $5000 credit for healthcare while taxing employers for it. Anyone who pays for health insurance for the whole family, as I do, knows that's no different than what's already being done. In Fact, it may prove to be worse. Is the employer going to keep a quality plan or settle for a plan of less quality in order to offset the cost of being taxed for the plan. Also, McCain says you will be able to cross state lines to get care if your not satisfied with the care provided in your home state. Sounds good, but what if your neighboring states have higher halth care cost, and if there is no reciprocity between the states where does that leave you.

    Here's the bottom line, Chris. I can appreciate the fact that you have what I think is genuine concerns for our country, but stop working against your own best interests and realize the position Bush and the Republican Party has put our country in. We used to be the country that other countries aspired to be like. Because of the poor decisions of the incumbent party the other countries are passing us up. A vote for Mcain and Palin is a vote to keep us lagging.

    However, we will move forward because Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States of America thanks to those of us that want to see the greatest country in the world return to the head of the class. This "grounds breaking" election will tell the rest of the world that once again we lead by example. Lets move forward full steam ahead.


  22. thank you robert, for starting this post. there is prolly more info just in the comments here, than we see on the news in a week. your info is pretty invalid but its not your fault. its because there is so much to consider its impossible to break it down really. who knows how much anything of what our congress votes on benefits us more than corporations in the first place? these bills are so long and full of complicated terms, as the average person have no idea what they are even about when i try to read them. all you can do is take the opinions of "experts" on what it is really about. and unfortunately most of them are paid by corporate america. thats why im here i like real peoples opinions and ideas on the issues.
    on that note: can i just ask why people think obamas lack of experience is so bad? it might not be fair but i am going to just assume that anyone in congress, after so long, would give into the money being thrown at them. how long could you all resist? i think obama is prolly on the verge but mccain sold out long ago
    as for my dear misguided friend chris: have you taken into consideration that our recent major inflation would increase our overall tax revenue? if things cost more. tax would be greater, correct? and could this recent inflation be due to bush's corporate tax cuts? if im a disgustingly rich corporate fat cat and i get a tax break, im gonna raise prices, cut wages and benefits taking money while i can. i hope none of this happens to you sir, but your facts are meaningless unless you take everything into consideration.
    i do agree with you however, i wish bush would have cleaned up washington. he should have gotten rid off all the garbage that has been around for 20 years or more. do you honestly think mccain is going to clean up the mess it took him 26 years to make, once he is pres?
    and i would like to also say, why does anyone think its ok for these people to not be voting? we pay them tons of money to be there to represent us. them getting elected for thier own special interests should come second.
    i am rooting for obama but not voting for him. i think he is a puppet and doesnt know it yet. and i am rooting he will pull that hand out then slap all these corrupt corporations and congressmen across the face with it.
    i am not convinced at all by mccain and not fully by obama... so why vote for either of them? i think lots of people feel this way yet choose one anyways. its crazy to think we have to do that. i personally have been most impressed with ron paul and am going to write him in.... i am curious if any of you like someone else more, such as one of the mavericks from roberts list, or someone you wanted in the primaries? and why you wouldnt just write them in? doesnt it seem ridiculous and a disgrace to what this country is about bein forced to choose out of only 2 candidates?
    also i would like to say that i am from utah, the majority vote pretty much always go rep. and something amazing has happened this year: i think because tons of people registered as reps this year to vote for ron paul in the pres primaries. when the rep primaries for our congress came around we voted out chris cannon, who has been there over 20 years. how huge is that? now we get someone new either way. isnt this a whole new plan of attack? just thought id throw that out there... thanks for your time.

  23. Nice try Obewan, but no cigar. I am one of the biggest supporters of a Third party, have been for a few years. However I know as well as everyone else does that a vote for "Other" is, in this election, may as well be a vote for McCain. Making a statement about a Third Party isn't a statement to be made in November of an election year. On November 5th, you and I can start campaining for an effective Third Party nomination. Until then, my vote is going for Barrack "Who's sane" Obama. (Got that one from a caller to the Mark Thompson Show on Sirius Left earlier today. Think it's a good one.)

  24. well i voted for both gore and kerry just to vote against bush. and look what that got me. my vote is a waste anyways. the electorial college is all that matters. also i am in utah and even though mccain is pretty much the same as bush im sure my state will vote for him just like we did bush. plus obama is going to win anyways.
    a statement is my best hope at making a difference in the election. and i just want to see enough people write in ron paul it makes the news. maybe people might wake up and realize there are other choices. then if they actually listen to other candidates they might realize that both dems and reps are corporate sellouts.
    and its even more than that. the rep party is falling apart. they have just been using moral issues to swing votes for too long and people are forgetting why they were rep in the first place. conservative used to refer to spending and government, not morals. and they cant preach morals when its appearant none of them have any.
    ron paul ran as a rep and was pretty much laughed at. but he actually represents what a true rep should be. the parties started out as rep against federalists. as ron paul still does, the reps used to fight to preserve the constitution and limit fed gov.
    the rep party has got to be fixed or it will fall apart, and if ron paul can grab enough attention it could be the awakening reps need. if that makes any sense at all?

  25. It makes sense in theory. However, this is too much of a historical and controversial election for the Third Part to get the attention it needs to raise that awareness. The first African American President and the first female Vice President nominees are on opposite sides of the table. Too many people on both sides want to see their party make history and they want their vote to help achieve that goal. So, Obewwan vote for one or the other based on what you believe in and what you want for your family and country. If you believe that Obama is going to win, then cast your vote for history. Believe me when I tell you this. After the way George W. Bush has caused us, the U S,to be alienated from the rest of the world, we need this to send the message that "we are back".

  26. im sorry to dissapoint you carl but neither obama nor mccain are a safe choice for me and my family. im not going to play into the fear that americans have of another country attacking us. i see that for what it really is, fear propaganda. the greatest threat to america is not another country, its the world banks. you know, those people that just made tons of bad loans and are now bein bailed out by the american people. and the more afraid americans are the more willing they are to spend into debt, on such things as war. crash the economy to the point people start rioting and i bet they could get americans to support a ban on guns.
    do you even realize that when all these people file bankruptcy on thier houses and lose them to the banks in foreclosures. then we bail out the banks with all this money. the banks will then be in control of all the property and money in america. mccain and obama both supported the bailout, most of obama's campaign funding is from the banking industry. although i think he is a good guy and i hope he will stand up for americans over the banks once he is pres, that is not a chance i am willing to take. i am doing the truly patriotic thing and voting for someone that is already speaking out against the federal reserve and the banking industry.
    also i would like to say that it doesnt really matter who becomes our pres. he still has to go up against a congress full of corruption. we need to help the pres by finding out who is corrupt and getting them out of congress too. here is a link to help you decide....
    as you can see utah is looking pretty good actually. the only congressman we had vote for the bailout, is the one i mentioned earlier that we eliminated in the primaries. how is your state looking for congress?

  27. let's be clear. there's nothing you can do to disappoint me. your vote is your right and you should cast it in the best interest of your family. as for Missouri, it's turning blue across the board which is fine by me. Now to the issue of whose supports the bailout, that's one of the reasons I can't wait for the repubs to get tossed out into the cold.

    So many people are quick to say they're upset that both candidates supported the bailout yet they don't realize why they had to support the bailout. Part of me said let them crash and burn, but the knowledgeable part of me said otherwise. The importance of the bailout is real and I'll get to that in a minute. First, though, George W. stepped behind the podium and gave the same doom and gloom press conference that he did about going to war with Iraq. the difference is that a few key words and phrases were change and this time the "panic button" really needed to be pushed. Problem is that his "cry for wolf" about Iraq has his constituents questioning the "emergency" of this bailout. Here's where I get to that.

    Remember that knowledgeable part of me mentioned earlier? Well, he's a professional truck driver. The banks were bailed out because the "credit markets" were frozen and in real danger of crashing. That will not be good at all. Everything that you see in your home and neighborhood malls and such was delivered on a truck. Everything we haul on these trucks are paid for and delivered by using credit. Example, the company I drive for is one of the last trucking companies that pays drivers for deliveries before they receive the paperwork that they use to bill the shippers. Simply put, they pay me before they get paid. My point is, if these trucks stop, this country stops. You can't use a plane, train or boat to deliver to a mall dock or a construction site. So, Obewan, I understand if your frustrated about the bailout but it really was necessary. I'm more upset that this current administration has used our country as it's personal "johnny on the spot" and alienated us from the rest of the world in the process.

  28. and all i would say to that is that we should be bailing out the trucking industry then. not the banks. same as buying the loans on mortgages first. before people lose homes. the gov't had no plans at first to do these things. then after people were outraged they threw in a few bailouts to homeowners. but most the money is still going to thier friends the banks. and actually according to that link i posted more dems supported the bailout then reps. at least in congress i havent checked the senate yet.

  29. You aren't clear about what I said. The trucking industry doesn't need a bailout. The banks bailout was the trucking industry's bailout. They are hand in hand except in one aspect. Bailing out the trucking industry doesn't work if the banks credit accounts are frozen. what are the trucks going to haul if corporations can't get credit to buy products to ship. That's the beginning of the "domino effect", and that's why so many Democrats were for the bailout. Think about it, Obewan. When has Congress been fans of working after normal government hours and weekends? That's how dire the situation was. In fact, some credit markets are still frozen. Furthermore, you're right about the mortgage crisis. This is where Obama and McCain differ. McCain wants the government to buy up the bad mortgages and give them to homeowners at affordable rates. Obama knows that it sounds good on the surface, and pointed out that this is just another way for those preditory lenders to make out like bandits. If the Government buys up all these mortgages they'll be buying them from the same people that took payments from borrowers and then took their homes. McCain wants to move "quickly" on this. Hmmmmm, I wonder why. Obama said that it would be best to purchas those defaulted mortgages a significantly lower price so that those preditory lenders don't make a profit from the bailout. Makes sense to me.