Friday, September 26, 2008


First, he suspends his campaign because he can't walk and chew gum at the same time. Whilst, of course, it actually looks as if his campaign is continuing the whole time.

McCain’s flunkies are all over TV attacking Obama. “McCain Campaign Still Active Across The Country”…..And then there’s this:

The McCain campaign, however, has not “temporarily set politics aside.” In the five hours after McCain’s speech, aides Nancy Pfotenhauer, Tucker Bounds, and Mike Duhaime appeared on Fox News and MSNBC five times, frequently criticizing Obama and Democrats…

Ambinder again:

My colleague Nora McAvalnah tells me that sources close to Senate Democratic leadership now fear that McCain’s true motivation for calling off his campaign and coming back to DC is simply to cast a “no” vote against the bailout, despite his private statements to the contrary.

Then he flies to Washington and does this:

But once the doors closed, the smooth-talking House Republican leader, John A. Boehner of Ohio, surprised many in the room by declaring that his caucus could not support the plan to allow the government to buy distressed mortgage assets from ailing financial companies.

Mr. Boehner pressed an alternative that involved a smaller role for the government, and Mr. McCain, whose support of the deal is critical if fellow Republicans are to sign on, declined to take a stand.

That's leadership? He flew all that f@#king way and then "declined to take a stand". That's what's needed when your country stands on the edge of a financial abyss?

When one reads reports on this, one really has to wonder why McCain felt his presence there was necessary at all:

At the bipartisan White House meeting that Mr. McCain had called for a day earlier, he sat silently for more than 40 minutes, more observer than leader, and then offered only a vague sense of where he stood, said people in the meeting.

In subsequent television interviews, Mr. McCain suggested that he saw the bipartisan plan that came apart at the White House meeting as the proper basis for an eventual agreement, but he did not tip his hand as to whether he would give any support to the alternative put on the table by angry House Republicans, with whom he had met before going to the White House.

Why insist on going all that way, demand that the debate be delayed, and then decline to give your opinion? Why refuse to say whether you back the bailout or not? Whether you are for or against Boehner's plan? This is the opposite of leadership. This is getting to Washington - in the hope that you can claim to have fixed things - whilst actually doing very little at all. If McCain wants the bailout to work he needs to persuade Republicans to come on board, but from his resounding silence he seems utterly unwilling to do that.

And even Paulson is under no illusion about who is pulling the plug on this deal:

In the Roosevelt Room after the session, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., literally bent down on one knee as he pleaded with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, not to “blow it up” by withdrawing her party’s support for the package over what Ms. Pelosi derided as a Republican betrayal.

“I didn’t know you were Catholic,” Ms. Pelosi said, a wry reference to Mr. Paulson’s kneeling, according to someone who observed the exchange. She went on: “It’s not me blowing this up, it’s the Republicans.”

Mr. Paulson sighed. “I know. I know.”

Maybe he really is that cynical. Maybe McCain went all the way to Washington to oppose the bailout because he knows it's unpopular. Or maybe he sits there and simply doesn't know what he's doing. Or because he's frightened of alienating Republicans who have strong opinions on this.

In either case, this is the antithesis of leadership.

Is he seriously ready to watch financial mayhem unleashed simply in the hope of advancing himself in the polls? And this is the old bugger who claims that he puts country first?

He needs to say something, anything; but he certainly needs to come off that bloody fence he's nailed himself to.

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