We have seen the call for consensus all week. If we don’t get the agreement by Friday, the bear will come out of the woods. It is as if consensus itself is the answer, and I’ve heard a former head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) say just that. Makes us all feel good about ourselves. This is not about Democrats and Republicans; this is about being Americans.

But it is just that fraternal nature that has reinforced bipartisan incompetence in Congress and even catastrophe in our times — especially when both parties rushed in a similar manner to approve George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq without, as West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd (D) said, so much as a brief discussion on the floor of Congress. Wasn’t time for discussion; needed to act fast before al Qaeda sneaked a dirty bomb into Cleveland or dropped WMDs into the porridge. They’re coming through the windows!

But there is a real division developing here now and if they don’t get an agreement by Friday it could well begin to subsidize a new political direction and possibly even a new political party. And it would begin with Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) who attended the meeting and said yesterday, "We will not have a deal."

I hope they pass the bailout, but seeing Nancy Pelosi, John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain: Harris 'sounded like a moron' discussing immigration Arizona AG Mark Brnovich launches Senate challenge to Mark Kelly Arizona Democrats launch voter outreach effort ahead of key Senate race MORE, Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden tries to erase Trump's 'America First' on world stage Queen Elizabeth will need to call upon her charm for Biden's visit Is Biden the new FDR or LBJ? History says no MORE and Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidNevada governor signs law making state first presidential primary Infighting grips Nevada Democrats ahead of midterms Lobbying world MORE all huggy-bear is no pretty picture in my mind. Nor it is at all reassuring watching the current worthies gather with history’s leftovers at the Clinton Global Initiative, where they shamelessly self-promote and preen in vanity’s yuppie equivalent of the court of Louis Quatorze and in make-believe pretend to solve the glut of world problems which they themselves created, including this one. We seem to have come in our times from citizen to consumer and now to a binary horde, our political and spiritual origins forgotten and our families and traditions abandoned for the pink and light blue ties of the unified corporate culture of Clinton Democrats and Bush Republicans.

In my neighborhood up here in northern New England people have suddenly started growing very large vegetable gardens. They bought out the country store’s stock of potatoes and onions on the first day of the season. They bought every wood stove available in northern New England. They even bought out stock of one-day-old baby chicks from national distributors, which is unprecedented in our time. They have lost faith. They are waiting for something.

There have been rumors of a third party for several years now, a good one supported by William Weld and Angus KingAngus KingSenior Biden cyber nominees sail through Senate hearing Pentagon chief: Military has already started 'over-the-horizon' operations in Afghanistan Pavlich: Democrat senators must oppose Chipman's ATF nomination MORE, possibly the most enlightened of recent governors in the Northeast, and a new back-to-gold movement by conservative libertarian Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

Say what you like, but up here the same fear they had of Ronald Reagan and the same scorn for Sarah Palin they display for Ron Paul, which if nothing more is a harbinger. Ron Paul had a clear plan in opposition to the two-headed Uniparty of Barack McCain. Nothing fancy, and in some ways as simple as hanging clothes out on the line to dry.

Paul was, of course, famously not allowed to appear at the Republican convention this year — too ornery and unpredictable. On Fox News shortly before, he quoted Upton Sinclair, who wrote that if America ever became a fascist country it would do so waving the cross and wrapped in the American flag. No telling what he’d say. But I couldn’t help notice that when Henry Paulson first rushed into the room, some of the first interview requests called in by the networks were for Ron Paul.

The other day Newt Gingrich said that what John McCain should do is oppose the plan. Obama embraces it and aligned himself with President Bush. Gingrich said it was a bad plan and the voters would know that by November. If McCain opposed, he would open a new direction in the Republican Party and take the day in November.

Too late for McCain. He’s all about not being on the Letterman show so’s to gird for economic war with the others. Are we not men? Too late for Obama, too.

And if they don’t have Paulson’s plan by Friday, Gingrich said, they will not have his plan thereafter.

Even Paul said that what has happened this week on Wall Street is the natural path for our economy as we have planned it in our times through the several decades, but you can’t just let it die overnight. You need a different economy, which he has proposed all along, but it will take time.

If we don’t have a plan by Friday we will begin to have a new direction; a new direction in politics, culture and economy, because they are all related. It will begin to be drawn by Newt Gingrich, Richard Shelby, Richard Viguerie, who pioneered organizational advancement for the Christian Coalition, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul.

“The word out of Washington this afternoon is that Congress and the Bush administration are very close to an agreement on The ‘Bailout,’ ” Huckabee said last night in an e-mail message to supporters. “I can't tell you how disappointed and disgusted I am with this news. Like most Americans I have no idea what this ‘Sweetheart’ deal will consist of, but I do know that forcing the American people to accept the secretive work of Washington politicians is just plain wrong.”

Although it has been largely unseen by Washington eyes, Viguerie, who brought the Christian Coalition to be a formidable political establishment at the rise of the Reagan era, has made progress in this election cycle in converging the culture of his constituents with the economics of Ron Paul. They have always seemed a likely alliance in the Jefferson tradition.

“Stop the bailout,” Viguerie said in an e-mail to supporters. “Congress and the administration are preparing to pass a bailout of Wall Street and of the corrupt and incompetent corporations that — along with Washington politicians and bureaucrats — are responsible for the current mess. It is going to cost each family in America $10,000, and perhaps much, much more. And that’s just the beginning.”

Viguerie and Paul together form an amorphous political culture waiting for a trigger event to make it happen. This could be it.

Visit Mr. Quigley's website at http://quigleyblog.blogspot.com.