Thursday, September 25, 2008

McCain: Confused Or Self-Serving?

On Wednesday, September 24 John McCain decides to "suspend" his campaign (except for local and state offices, campaign surrogates, some advertising, fund-raising through his official campaign website, and Sarah Palin). Says he's rushing down to Washington (where he hasn't cast a vote since April) to save the country from financial collapse and, 26 hours later (following a speech, non-political, I'm sure, to the Clinton Global Initiative) , arrives in the nation's capital.

Meanwhile on Thursday, House Financial Committee Chairman Barney Frank, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, and a group of Senate Republicans and Democrats reach agreement, according to Politico, "on the framework for legislation authorizing the massive government intervention," as suggested by statements of GOP Senators Robert Bennett of Utah and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the latter close to the White House and representing Senate Republicans on the bill. Once in Washington, McCain attends a meeting with House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and other House Republicans, at which an alternative plan is presented. McCain avoids commitment. President Bush convenes a meeting- requested by McCain- which is attended by McCain and a campaign aide, Barack Obama and a Senate aide, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Congressional leaders, and others. As {Politico's David Rogers noted, "the whole sequence of events confirmed Treasury’s fears about the decision by Bush, at the urging of McCain, to allow presidential politics into what were already difficult negotiations."

As ABC News has repoorted, House Republicans now have an alternative plan but "the group acknowledged briefing McCain on the plan, but Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., said that it was not a product of the McCain campaign and that the GOP presidential nominee had not endorsed it." Nevertheless, ABC News reports McCain has an alternative plan featuring "fewer regulations and more corporate tax breaks for businesses." This, of course, is largely what got us where we are now.

So the Repub presidential nominee goes to Washington, helps scuttle a rescue plan with the nation's economy in crisis, then refuses to commit to an alternative, and then changes his mind (though this is unconfirmed). This is grandstanding. It's not leadership. And it's not "Country First."

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