Friday, September 26, 2008

To kill a bailout deal

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I want to stress Creature's point from earlier today:

In its statement announcing that McCain would show up for tonight's debate, the McCain campaign not only (and predictably) attacked Obama but defended McCain's actions (i.e., his desperate political stunt, his interference in the bailout negotiations) by blaming everyone else for not getting a deal done:

John McCain's decision to suspend his campaign was made in the hopes that politics could be set aside to address our economic crisis.

In response, Americans saw a familiar spectacle in Washington. At a moment of crisis that threatened the economic security of American families, Washington played the blame game rather than work together to find a solution that would avert a collapse of financial markets without squandering hundreds of billions of taxpayers' money to bailout bankers and brokers who bet their fortunes on unsafe lending practices.

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.

Note: It's Washington's fault. "Washington played the blame game rather than work together to find a solution..." Yet it is the McCain campaign -- and hence McCain himself -- playing the blame game, blaming both the House and the Senate, as well as the Bush Administration, and presumably also both parties.

The message: McCain tried, he really did, hard, going up against "Washington" all by himself, the maverick above the fray, fighting the good fight on behalf of the American people but ultimately coming up short.

In other words, the McCain spin is all about feeding the Myth of McCain.

In other words, it's all a lie.

For in actual fact, there was a tentative deal in place before McCain arrived and interfered. Indeed, according to House Republican Whip Roy Blunt, the only positive purpose McCain served, from the perspective of the right-wing Republican renegades, was to contribute to killing the deal: "Clearly, yesterday, his position in that discussion yesterday was one that stopped a deal from, uh, finalizing..."

McCain, as usual, will take the credit but never the blame. And yet, on this, there is no one to blame but McCain himself. Which means he is either a right-wing renegade who genuinely opposed the deal or, more likely, he failed (because all he did was interfere), the deal fell through, at least for the time being, and he's rushing to get the hell out of town -- evil "Washington" -- leaving nothing but unfounded yet politically opportune accusations of blame in his wake.

There's your "maverick" for you.

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