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Thursday, September 25, 2008


John McCain has his wish. He's a man of action again. (What else would you call a stuntman?)

We all now know what McCain's tried to pull: a "suspension" of his campaign to give his immediate and full attention to solving this economic crisis that we find ourselves in.

Oh, and he wants to suspend the first presidential debate, scheduled for tomorrow night. (The VP debate, too, natch.) Naturally, because spending two hours debating foreign policy would derail everything.

Never mind that he's not on the committee that actually addresses this problem.

Never mind that his steadily decreasing poll numbers spiked with a poll today showing him down 9 to Obama.

Never mind that his economic acumen could fit in a beer mug.

Never mind that no one but him seems to think that a) the debate will be postponed or b) that it even could at this point without the University of Mississippi from losing upwards of $5 million.

Never mind that the bailout deal was nearly done well before he announced his move.

Never mind that a much calmer, saner version of this move was actually proposed by Barack Obama yesterday.

Damn all that - it's John McCain to the rescue! He's going to rush into our burning economy to rescue us, the infantile populace victimized by the evil Wall Street! (Never mind that he lent Wall Street the matches and kerosene long ago.)

This has been dissected by so many by this point. First, the political angle, from James Fallows and Ezra Klein (emphasis mine):
The McCain campaign has politicized the bailout debate even as it volubly denounces politics. It is astonishingly reckless. In that, it is par for the course. Whenever the polls turn, they seek comfort in chaos. They speak of the experience and seasoning needed for governance but pick Sarah Palin. They call for an end to politics amidst crucial congressional negotiations then fling the crush of the presidential campaign atop an already-delicate process. In their attempts to define themselves as above politics, they will politicize anything.

That is the definitive proof that John McCain thinks that we're stupid. Nothing more needs to be said - if you'd vote for such a person, you'd get what you deserve.

But what's really damaging is the effect his grandstanding is having on negotiations that were damn near finished. No, he's not content with a photo op. Dana Chasin at TPM wonders what he's really up to:
So Johnny has come lately to the economic crisis. And now he feels compelled to rush to Washington to solve it - and incidentally cast his first vote in the Senate since April. Where has he been? And what is his plan?

Glad you asked, Dana:
House Republicans say that Senate leaders spoke too soon when they said a deal had been reached on a Wall Street bailout package.

In addition, a key Republican lawmaker stated that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) wants to explore new ideas, like loaning money to financial institutions or insuring the companies, rather than buying their toxic debt.

Earlier Thursday, senators and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said they had a tentative agreement, though they’re still negotiating a bankruptcy provision. They said the deal was ready to be taken to the Bush administration.

Not so fast, responded House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).

“There is no bipartisan deal at this time,” Boehner said in a statement. “There may be a deal among some Democrats, but House Republicans are not a part of it.”

That is key, because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said she won’t bring up the bill in the House unless a substantial number of Republicans, possibly a majority, agree to vote for it.

And people like Barney Frank are wondering why in the hell McCain didn't bring these ideas up well before the 11th hour:
Asked about Bachus’s ideas, Frank questioned why Bachus hadn’t mentioned them in negotiations.

“I’m disappointed he wouldn’t have raised them in the meeting,” Frank said.

Marc Ambinder has more:
During the White House meeting, it appears that Sen. John McCain had an agenda. He brought up alternative proposals, surprising and angering Democrats. He did not, according to someone briefed on the meeting, provide specifics.

Who needs those?
One the proposals -- favored by House Republicans -- would relax regulation and temporarily get rid of certain taxes in order to lure private industry into the market for these distressed assets.

But I thought he was now the Regulator!

Even as McCain's monkey wrench stops the gears, his people are out there claiming credit for the solution. Of course they are, because this wasn't about "Country First". It's McCain First.

In what hero story does Superman save Metropolis out of self-interest?

Honestly, I don't put anything past this guy at this point. I think he will do literally anything to garner attention, and to steer his wayward campaign towards the finish line.

As long as he doesn't have to actually debate Obama along the way. (Or at least, at a time at which the scheduled foreign policy debate would be less advantageous to him than a time at which this economic mess has faded somewhat from the headlines.)

John McCain wants to be a professional hero. It's who he was when he first escaped his father's shadow, and it's who he wants to remain in the American consciousness. He understands how pliant we are, how willing we are to hold up his halo while he's steadily kicking us in the balls.

He wants to play like he's really accomplishing something that he's not, only to have his arm raised as the victor by a childish American public in November - a public that sees an ever-present smile and feels that their hero will never fail them.

It's too bad we don't realize that while he's an action figure, we're just puppets.

  • I BEG YOUR PARDON.

  • I regret not commenting on this nonsense promptly, but I need 24 hours, minimum, to digest bullshit. I am, after all, a vegetarian.

    Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't share Letterman asking Johnny Come Late to tell how his ass tastes after dude up and lied to him:


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