Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Senator John McCain is suspending his presidential campaign and heading back to Washington to help Congress fix the problem they created and could have solved back in 2005 with SB 190 if they'd listened to co-sponsor John McCain back then. Maybe they'll listen now.

In prepared remarks for a speech in New York City, McCain said he is calling on President Bush to convene a meeting with leadership from both the House and the Senate, including the two presidential nominees, in order to work toward a solution.
This is what leadership looks like. It doesn't look like sending Congress on vacation in August so Speaker Nancy Pelosi can start her book tour. It doesn't look like Obama retiring to sunny Florida to prep for a debate on Friday. It doesn't look like voting "Present". It doesn't say "I'm not on the clock until January 20, 2009."

Leadership recognizes what's most important and is ready to deal with it even if that means some personal risk. "County First" was all over the Republican Convention just three weeks ago. Today, McCain is walking the talk. Now some will say this is just a political stunt--I welcome a president who understands how to use all the tools available to get the job done. If this stunt saves the nation from having to bailout bad loans at the cost of some $7,000 per taxpayer AND shows Obama for the inexperienced lightweight I believe him to be, well, all the better.

Your move Obama. Lead follow or get out of the way.


N.S. Allen said...

You know, I might have been vaguely impressed by this move, if it wasn't such an obvious, political ploy.

For instance, why now? The rest of the country has realized that our economic situation is in serious crisis for a good bit of time, now, and John McCain was still saying that its fundamentals were strong, when the rest of us were gawking in horror at the banking fiasco. Why didn't McCain return as soon as the bailout was laid on the table, as opposed to now, when he's begun to get punched in the face by the polls?

Moreover, why move to shut down the campaign entirely? I'm all in favor of some leadership in the Senate, but why do we need to take ads off the air, take surrogates off the air, stop people from explaining what these guys are going to do, if they manage to win in November? That's not about promoting bipartisanship in the Senate - that's about trying to stop the decline in McCain's numbers.

And why this call to push back the vice presidential debate, as part of the "suspension?" Sarah Palin certainly doesn't need to be in the Senate, and if McCain's going to be off the campaign trail, why can't she stay on it? Or, at least, come before the American people to talk openly with Joe Biden about her plans?

If McCain had done this from the beginning of the crisis, it might have been a brilliant move, I'll grant that. But the timing and the implementation of the move, especially the shucking and jiving away from having a unified statement with Obama, is just going to make it obvious that this is the losing party desperately trying not to lose.

Eric said...

"...could have solved back in 2005 with SB 190 if they'd listened to co-sponsor John McCain back then."

Or Ron Paul in 2003:

Of course, the "conservative Republicans" never let it out of committee.

Nashteach said...

I'm not even going to touch the eleventh hour posturing. Too many facts to clear up.

First, on S. 190 The bill passed the House with both Democratic and Republican support. The bill died in the Senate. Never even voted on. Republicans controlled the Senate in 2005. So you're telling us that the God of all things bipartisan couldn't get Democrats to even put it up for a vote? When there was obvious Democratic support in the House? Also, the Bush administration was against the bill to prevent this bad debt.

Second, July: McCain co-chair Phil Gramm tells the American public the economy's trouble are a "mental recession" of the "whiners" some folks refer to as "ordinary Americans." Turns out the McCain co-chair and key economic advisor, Gramm, was

"a major player in its government affairs operation. According to federal lobbying disclosure records, Gramm lobbied Congress, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department about banking and mortgage issues in 2005 and 2006.

During those years, the mortgage industry pressed Congress to roll back strong state rules that sought to stem the rise of predatory tactics used by lenders and brokers to place homeowners in high-cost mortgages.

For his work, Gramm and two other lobbyists collected $750,000 in fees from UBS’s American subsidiary.

Just in case it's not crystal clear, "roll back rules that sought to stem the tide of predatory lending practices" means "allow businesses to continue and expand predatory lending practices."

So with a GOP President and a well-rewarded GOP lobbyist pushing the GOP-controlled Senate to kill any attempts to regulate, I believe your claim that Democrats stalled the legislation to be misinformed.

Also, here's the text of the S. 190 which llists Hagel, Dole, and Sununu as the Senators who introduced the bill. When did McCain add his name to it?

For all the times "conservatives" love to use the word "socialist," I've never heard a conservative- except Ron Paul- criticize the socialism that is George Bush. Trillions in prescription drugs, half a trillion for Iraq, and now $700 billion bailout that rank and file Republicans seem to abhor. George W Bush. He's the one wanting our money for this massive government purchase of private assets. Kind of like the little boy who cried wolf- "conservatives" quietly let it happen for eight years. The GOP put party first and refused to criticize Bush as he spent this nation in a way no President has in at least a generation. There is no fiscally conservative party in America.

But, John McCain got serious about this issue today. Not last week. Not yesterday. Today.

Eric said...

"The GOP put party first and refused to criticize Bush as he spent this nation in a way no President has in at least a generation."

I've not done a long-term comparison, but I do know that our federal spending is now TWICE what it was in 1996. TWICE!

Oh, and the budget still isn't balanced. All this spending was only made possible by the tax cuts, but the revenue was totally squandered, that is unless you count removing your shoes at the airport, rebuilding hurricane-destroyed property (again) and people in Iraq voting as real assets to the average American.

N.S. Allen said...

From a purely horse-race perspective:

What is wrong with John McCain?

Seriously, first the awful timing on this move - after he's already drawn criticism for his response to the economic downturn and after he's pissed off the media - and now there's reporting that he said "surprisingly little" at the meeting of the powers-that-be, along with no signs that the House Republicans are going to be brought on board by the supposed new leader of the party?

C'mon, he can do better than that. That's awful. I can accept that a guy who's been in the Senate for nearly thirty years has bad timing. I can accept that he's a little slow on picking up the present, political temperature. But to make that big of a move and then turn into one of the biggest sources of mass anxiety on the scene, with no clear indication of the direction you're going in? That's insane.

I'm not really sure what's wrong with Sen. McCain, right now. I don't know if it's age or poor handling from his staff or just panic as he nears the debates and the election in a downward slump. But there's something seriously messed up about this picture. In my wildest dreams, I wouldn't have thought he would pull off such a miraculous botch.

And it is a botch - polling of the move has been awful for him and actually made the economic crisis even more central to the news cycle.

(On a bipartisan note, Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank are...well, the terms I would use for them are not appropriate for polite, blog society. But, jeez, of all the women and gay men we could have bustling around Congress, we get this pair? The whining about the House Republicans' refusal to get behind a compromise plan is just sad.)

Kay Brooks said...

I can agree with your last paragraph. That's the problem when you vote in folks with an eye toward diversity over competence. I'd much rather have a competent man over an incompetent woman any day of the week. I'm looking for ability to do the job not 'looks like America'.