September 26, 2008
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss
A John McCain-related timeline:
Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me.
I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.
We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved. I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night’s debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.
I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.
Thursday, September 25: “McCain’s ‘Straight Talk Air’ landed at National Airport just after noon, and McCain’s motorcade sped toward the Senate. But by then, senior Democrats and Republicans were already announcing that a deal in principle had been reached.”
At 4 pm, both McCain and Barack Obama met with President Bush to discuss the issue. However,
for most of the afternoon, McCain has not visibly been part of the action on the issue. He was not present when House and Senate negotiators emerged from a two-hour meeting to declare success. That announcement was made by Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Robert F. Bennett (Utah) and [Rep. Barney] Frank.
McCain, by contrast, spent some time in his office with several Republican colleagues, briefly stopped at Boehner’s office, then left for lunch at the Capitol’s Mansfield Room before returning to his office in the Russell Senate Office Building.
Thursday evening: Jeffrey Toobin on CNN:
Who says he suspended his campaign? He didn’t suspend his campaign. He’s been campaigning all day. He gave a speech in New York. He’s giving interviews all night. He’s raising money. His surrogates are attacking Barack Obama.
I think this is posturing of being apolitical. And, frankly, I think we’re being kind of gullible in falling for it. He didn’t stop his campaign. He’s campaigning. Now whether it’s successful or not…
…His ads have been on. And he’s done exactly what Obama has done all day. And Obama admits that he’s campaigning. It’s the middle of the campaign. I don’t see why we should treat what he’s doing as anything different from what Obama is doing.
Both parties in both houses of Congress and the administration needed to come together to find a solution that would deserve the trust of the American people. And while there were attempts to do that, much of yesterday was spent fighting over who would get the credit for a deal and who would get the blame for failure. There was no deal or offer yesterday that had a majority of support in Congress. There was no deal yesterday that included adequate protections for the taxpayers. It is not enough to cut deals behind closed doors and then try to force it on the rest of Congress — especially when it amounts to thousands of dollars for every American family.
The difference between Barack Obama and John McCain was apparent during the White House meeting yesterday, where Barack Obama’s priority was political posturing in his opening monologue defending the package as it stands. John McCain listened to all sides so he could help focus the debate on finding a bipartisan resolution that is in the interest of taxpayers and homeowners. The Democratic interests stood together in opposition to an agreement that would accommodate additional taxpayer protections.
Senator McCain has spent the morning talking to members of the administration, members of the Senate, and members of the House. He is optimistic that there has been significant progress toward a bipartisan agreement now that there is a framework for all parties to be represented in negotiations, including Representative Blunt as a designated negotiator for House Republicans. The McCain campaign is resuming all activities and the senator will travel to the debate this afternoon. Following the debate, he will return to Washington to ensure that all voices and interests are represented in the final agreement, especially those of taxpayers and homeowners.
So, now we’re ostensibly back to business as usual as far as the Presidential campaign is concerned. I can’t help but wonder what McCain accomplished through all this. As you can see in the comments on the above article containing the announcement that he would be suspending his campaign, some Americans saw the “suspension” of the McCain campaign as a noble thing, John McCain putting his country before himself. For the most part, however, I think people saw the move as the political maneuvering it was. The McCain campaign was not truly suspended. What if McCain had done everything exactly the same this week, but had left out the whole “I’m suspending my campaign” business? Wouldn’t that maybe have seemed more impressive than all this posturing? (Oddly enough, that puts me in mind of a passage from a book I once read, a book McCain would claim to be pretty keen on…)
On the other hand, I guess it got us talking about something other than the issues this week… again…