What's All This Then?

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Friday, September 26, 2008

It becomes clearer every day. The President and the Republican candidate for that office care less for the good of the nation than they do for holding on to power. It was bad enough - and obvious enough - when McCain pulled the first leg of his campaign suspension charade. But it became a lot worse when he and Bush corralled Obama into becoming part of the backdrop for the stunt by issuing an invitation to come to the White House for a "top level meeting" - something he could have flatly refused to do if this country was populated by rational beings who would understand the decision. Unfortunately, we have a mixed bag of people and there are those who might actually believe that there was a top level White House meeting that required the two presidential candidates to be there and to contribute their wisdom to the negotiation of legislation to bail out our financial markets. It wasn’t so of course and even some Republicans are willing to say that far from making any positive contribution, the injection of presidential politics into the negotiations was an unwanted distraction. E.J. Dionne said it all in the headline of his Op-Ed piece in today’s Washington Post - The Photo McCain Wanted!! A photo op! McCain playing Mighty Mouse. Even though he was getting in the way rather than saving the day.

I sometimes wonder if it becomes increasingly difficult for defenders of all things Republican to keep defending every nutty thing this man does or whether they are so devoted to the basic cause of radical conservatism that they see what rational people can’t see. They do it with straight faces - the Limbaughs, the Hannitys and the McCain campaign surrogates. Even when they’re insisting that Caribou Barbie - as Stephanie Miller calls her - is ready to step in as president if McCain is elected and becomes disabled or worse. It boggles the mind. I even heard someone in local radio in Chicago - not one of the extreme right pundits - insist that tonight’s scheduled debate was "just a television show" and that every member of congress should be in Washington hammering out a package to save the nation from financial disaster. One hundred Senators and 435 Representatives around a table without a bathroom or nap time break until they’ve saved the day. It double boggles.

But I have to give a tip of my blog hat to the Republicans who are holding up any "deal" to bail out the Wall Street Gougers - a perfect name for whatever team the warden might insist they form to play the "regulars" if they ever get transferred to where they belong. I neither know nor care about their motives. I just think it makes sense to make sure that in the administration’s desired rush to do something - they don’t do something that makes a bad situation worse. In so many ways, the administration’s posture mirrors the days leading up to the unfortunate resolution that congress passed on October 11, 2002 which gave Mr. Bush the authority to invade Iraq. There was pressure on every member of Congress to be "resolute in the face of great danger" - and it worked. It passed in the House 296 t0 133 and in the Senate 77 to 23.

I don’t know what the tentative numbers are of those favoring or objecting to the "agreement in principle" that was there one minute and gone the next - but in the face of the present "great danger" - many members of Congress are being pressured by their constituents NOT to be so quick to give the president what he wants. A great number of the people calling their Representatives and Senators are saying no deal at all. Let the S.O.B’s go down the drain. I doubt that that will happen or that it should happen, but if pressure from constituents pushes members to carry the discussions into next week - and even beyond if necessary before arriving at a bailout deal, I think we’ll all be better off. The sky isn’t going to fall on Monday morning even though McCain virtually predicted that it would by saying that a deal needed to be in place before the stock market opens on Monday and the President’s speech echoed the same kind of panic and probably contributed to the run on WaMu that brought that bank down. NO bank can survive if everyone wants to withdraw their cash at once - the "It’s A Wonderful Life" story notwithstanding.. McCain’s agreement to participate in tonight’s debate of course takes the edge off the implied dire predictions. It was all a tactical ploy. He was always going to debate - unless he had been successful in conning Obama into going along with his "suspend everything" charade.

This is being written at 2 p.m. Chicago time. By this evening or tomorrow or Sunday there may be a deal that can garner enough votes to pass. If it happens that fast, you just have to hope that Paulson and Bernanke are right and that all of the economists who have doubts or think it’s totally the wrong approach are wrong.