Why Pelosi gave the speech that she did
Powerline blog has this:
Everyone has heard about the weirdly partisan and inaccurate rant which Pelosi contributed to the debate on the bailout bill. But that speech did not take place in a vacuum. Public opinion is running strongly against the bill, and it required political courage to vote for it. If you look at the list of those who voted "No" in both parties, it is mostly members who are engaged in tough re-election campaigns. This is true on both sides of the aisle.
That being the case, and given the fact that the legislation was in fact a negotiated, bipartisan compromise, the first duty of the majority party is to line up its members to support the majority's bill. But evidence is growing that the Democrats did no such thing.
As of yesterday, the Democrats' House whip, Jim Clyburn said that he hadn't even begun "whipping" Democratic representatives, and wouldn't do so unless and until he got orders from Nancy Pelosi. Today, Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio told NPR that he never was "whipped" on the bill. So Pelosi evidently left Democrats to vote their consciences--which is to say, vote against the bill if they thought it was politically necessary--while counting on Republicans to put the bill over the top.
This is a classic Charlie Brown and the football maneuver. Pelosi gives a speech that frames the issue, falsely, as the result of bad Republican policies, then allows her own threatened representatives to do the popular thing while expecting Republicans to take one for the team by casting an unpopular vote. Which, of course, their Democratic opponents would use against them, thereby increasing the Democratic majority in the House.
UPDATE: Of course, it shouldn't be too surprising that "Poll: GOP blamed for failed bailout."