So I guess we’ll have a debate now

If one views McCain’s decision to suspend campaigning as a campaign gambit — and it’s hard, in this cynical world, to see it outside that context — it appears to be one that paid off.

Congress reaches a deal, he appears at the White House with an air of having gotten the job done (WITH Obama, thereby emphasizing bipartisanship over grubbing for personal electoral advantage), and he goes ahead with the debate Friday night, having made the gesture to put the nation’s business first, yet not having the painful choice of either a) blinking first and showing up without a deal on the bailout or b) being the cause of the absurd spectacle of Obama standing there facing an empty lectern.

If nothing else, he’s shifted the focus to himself more than otherwise — which can easily work against him still, of course. Instead of "leader who puts the country ahead of politicking" he can look like "reckless gambler who will risk it all on a throw of the dice."

But we’ll see. Things are moving fast today.

4 thoughts on “So I guess we’ll have a debate now

  1. Doug Ross

    I await factual information related to what specific modifications McCain has in the revised plan. Or was it all window dressing?
    So this is the McCain Bailout Plan now, correct? He either has to claim he was responsible for the passage or not.

  2. Brad Warthen

    Obviously, he’s drawn attention to himself with this grandstand play. But I think Obama is very conscious that if he stands up with McCain and Bush and congressional leaders and says “let’s do this,” which it looks like could happen momentarily, he can’t escape responsibility for it either (if he wants to).
    For the rest of us, a multilateral deal seems to me both a blessing and a curse. Yes, we need to pick a direction to march in rather than squabbling. But if everyone checks off on this, the next president — whoever he is — will be fully invested in this. In other words, we’ll have no alternative in this election, which is a bit scary.
    For Obama, that means not having the political luxury of saying, as he did on Iraq, that he (unlike Biden et al.) had nothing to do with it.
    Interesting. I wouldn’t be completely shocked if, in the next few minutes, Obama bugged out on the White House lovefest, just to give himself (and, one could argue, the nation) options.

  3. Doug Ross

    Under what other circumstances would the proper approach to a crisis be for two opposing entities working to reach a compromise plan? How can a compromise be the best solution? Is any member of Congress willing to stake his seat on the success or failure of the “bailout” plan? I think not.
    The best solution in this case would be for the government to do nothing and let the market sort itself out. Warren Buffett put his money where his mouth is. Nobody from Congress is willing to do that.

  4. just saying

    “Warren Buffett put his money where his mouth is. ”
    Since the government was already talking bailout, maybe he read the wind correctly and put the money down because he was pretty confident there would be a bailout.

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