26 September 2008

Sure McCain ruined the bailout deal, but so what?

Democrats are talking as if the bailout deal on the table yesterday was a good thing. Some of us don’t think it was.

Dick Morris thinks McCain’s “insertion” of himself into the process was a stroke of genius:


McCain has transformed a minority in both houses of Congress and a losing position in the polls into the key role in the bailout package, the main man around whom the final package will take shape. He arrived in Washington to find the Democrats working with the Bush Administration to pass an unpopular $700 billion bailout. The Democrats had already cut their deal with Bush. The Dems agreed to the price tag while Bush agreed to special aid to families facing foreclosure, equity for the taxpayers, and limits on executive compensation. But no sooner had McCain arrived than he derailed the deal.

Knowing how unpopular the bailout is with the American people, the Democrats are not about to pass anything without broad Republican support even though their majorities permit them to act alone. Instead of signing on with the Democratic/Bush package, the House Republicans are insisting on replacing the purchase of corporate debt with loans to companies and insurance paid for by the companies, not by the taxpayers. That, of course, is a popular position. McCain would be comfortable to debate this issue division all day. And, if the Dems don’t cave into the Republican position, that’s probably exactly what he’ll do on Friday night’s scheduled debate in Mississippi.

But the Democrats are not about to be stubborn. They know their package is a lemon and need the political cover of Republican support. So the Republicans can write their own ticket…and they will. John McCain will be at the center of the emerging compromise while Obama is out on the campaign trail kissing babies. If the deal is cut before Friday’s debate, my bet is that McCain shows up in triumph. If it isn’t, he shows up anyway and flagellates Obama over the differences between the Democratic package and McCain’s.

I don’t know about a stroke of genius. But the deal was unpopular, and if McCain really did derail it (apparently, just by showing up and not really saying much) then so much the better.

Also, since Senators Obama and McCain are still senators, I don’t consider it a vice for senators to show up in Washington every now and then to do their jobs. They are still drawing salaries, are they not?

It’s fitting for Democrats to think people should still draw salaries for work they are not doing.

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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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