Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Team Barry appears to have been caught off guard by John McCain's announcement today that he was suspending his campaign to work on solving the financial crisis. Meanwhile, Harry Reid has painted Obama's campaign into a tough position. According to Roger Hedgecock, yesterday, Harry Reid was calling on John McCain to return to Washington to ensure that enough Republican votes get delivered to pass the administration's bail out package. I couldn't find the link to the direct quote, but here is Harry making this clear through surrogates. Now, Harry is backtracking with statements like "We need leadership, not a campaign photo op."

The problem for Obama is that McCain has again grabbed the headlines and taken a leadership role. I am praying for McCain to come to his senses and offer a package that breaks sharply with Bush socialism and embodies free market principles. That would be both best for the nation, see yesterday's post and burnish his credentials as the "maverick" and better able to bring real change. Also, it would put Obama in the tough position of being on the side of Bush on an important issue.

Meanwhile Obama looks churlish for saying the debates must go on. Further, his statements that Presidents must be able to work on more than one thing at a time looks out of touch. Both candidates are senators, and the action right now is in Congress, so to suggest that the campaign and debates must go on, plays to Obama's weakness, that he is all talk and no action. This is also a tough sell after Biden's comments that Bush should emulate Roosevelt and get on TV to talk about the 1929 stock market crash. (But Joe is in a lot of trouble with Suit already, or maybe not; there is a theory that he gaffes so often, it's not newsworthy or damaging to Obama.)

Meanwhile, we have normally sensible Republicans like KT, pushing for passage of this bail out on the theory that there is no other way out and it won't really cost that much. Some action is needed, after all the government created this problem in the first place through low interest rates, Fannie Mae's practices, and the push to give home loans to the unqualified. But the massiveness of the intervention and the nationalization of an entire industry are incompatible with finding long term solutions.

I finally found the quote I was looking for. Here is Obama answering a question on the debates and the crisis sans teleprompter:

QUESTION: Do you plan on attending the debate on Friday? And is Senator McCain playing politics with this by saying (OFF-MIKE) not go to this debate?

OBAMA: Well, let me say this. Just to go through the chronology today, I called him this morning with the intent of issuing a joint statement. I got called back around 2:30. We had a conversation. I made the suggestion to him. He agreed to that suggestion.

He then suggested, in addition, that we need to have a meeting in Washington with the congressional leaders and potentially the president. And what I told him is, well, why don't we get the joint statement out first to enunciate the principles that both of us agree to and to send a clear signal to the members of Congress that this, in fact, is something that should not be bogged down by partisan politics?

And, now, when I got back to the hotel, he had gone on television to announce what he intended to do. I believe that our staffs are still working on this joint statement.

I -- I think the important principle at this point is to send a clear signal to members of Congress, as well as the country, that this is a serious problem that has to be solved and not -- should not be subject to the usual partisan politics.

With respect to the debates, it's my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who, in approximately 40 days, will be responsible for dealing with this mess. And I think that it is -- it is going to be part of the president's job to deal with more than one thing at once.

I think there's no reason why we can't be constructive in helping to solve this problem, and also tell the American people what we believe and where we stand and where we want to take the country. So, in my mind, actually, it's more important than ever that we present ourselves to the American people and try to describe where we want to take the country and where we want to take the economy, as well as dealing with some of the issues of foreign policy that were initially the subject of the debate.

What the heck did he just say? I listened to it first, now I see it in writing, it's scary. Tell us your position, say something intelligible, convince us you're not an empty suit. Also hat tip to Roger Hedgecock, who points out that neither McCain nor Obama will be President in 40 days.



K T Cat said...

My support for the bailout is kind of based on the time scale involved. The free market solultions seem to be like telling an obese man who is going through cardiac arrest that he needs to have a healthy diet and exercise more, but not doing anything else. He won't survive to put the plan into action.

The credit markets are siezing up and without credit, you're looking at a severe downturn. I think we're in a position where our options are all bad, but the RTC concept is the least bad.

K T Cat said...

The Infectious Greed blog has this to say. The guy who writes Infectious Greed was at Blogworld and was pretty impressive.