Friday, September 26, 2008
Earlier today, the Instapundit Glenn Reynolds had a poll up about Sen. McCain's determination to hold a meeting with his rival Sen. Obama and Congressional leadership to agree upon a financial package. The question was - McCain's Campaign Suspension is:
Brilliant and patriotic, OR A Dumb stunt, OR Both, OR I'm voting "present" on this one.
After laughing heartily, Porcupine voted - Both. It was totally high stakes, totally unexpected, and yet it was just about the only maneuver that would get that crowd (Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Boehner, Bush, etc.) into the same room on an informal basis. McCain had been saying darkly for days that there WAS no consensus, that there would BE no action, yet the financial markets would flounder without quick action. So he tried to force the situation by endangering what the Democrats wanted more than anything else - the Presidential debate in Mississippi where they presumed that Obama would wipe up the floor with him.
Going in a two o'clock, the Democrats engaged in a little histrionic eyerolling. Of COURSE there was an agreement in principle, of course legislation would pass - within hours! This was just McCain showboating, and while they would humor him, it really was poor form to try to make Congress look divided when everything was decided. Barney Frank went so far as to compare McCain to the late comedian Andy Kaufman, singing the Mighty Mouse song, "HERE I cooome to save the DAaaay..."
Early leaks sneered at McCain for sitting there like a lump and barely speaking, when HE was the one who instigated the meeting in the first place. But by four pm, the picture had changed.
The Senate Democrats, the President, Sec. Paulsen and Bernanke were all on the same page. The House members of Financial Services had apparently been well briefed by their Senate counterparts - the only thing to do was to add more 'constituent' protection in addition to properly punishing the Evil Korprorations. Free mortgage bailouts for all! In fact, Speaker Pelosi had begun to ruminate about getting rid of those credit card balances for the little people as well. And then the House Republicans spiked the entire deal, and it all fell apart.
It's interesting - Anyone who thinks that McCain has 'voted with' Bush by voting with the Republican leadership has been shown just how much control Bush has over Congress. McCain has served in Congress for decades, and knows people like Mike Pence and Boehnor who are adamantly opposed to the bailout. Both say they were never consulted about the bill, but were expected by the Senate and the President to just rubber stamp what was put in front of them. John McCain has actually performed a real service by making these people sit down together, sooner rather than later, and get Frank and Dodd to stop swanning around claiming the problem is solved just because THEY know what they want.
Once again, Obama has voted 'Present' by not knowing the temper of the Congress due to his lack of legislative experience and Congressional connections, and his insistence that trading rhetoric is more important than trading - and listening to - ideas and perspectives. Like the old joke about the tombstone that reads, "I TOLD You I was Sick!" , McCain sounded a necessary alarm and exposed a problem the cognoscenti though nonexistent.
Not that it was necessary or anything....