John McCain, dropping in the polls, makes another bold move. He responds to the call Monday from Sen. Harry Reid to get involved in the issue of the rescue operation for our economy. He cancels campaigning, goes to Washington to take part in the negotiations on the operation, invites Obama to do the same, and announces he will not take part in Friday's foreign policy debate if the rescue operation has not been nailed down. My own take - a chess move that is both risky and brings a reasonable potential of high reward. Patterico worries that this was a mistake. I disagree.
I have no way of knowing how much of McCain's decision is cold political calculus and how much is "country first," but I would suspect it is both. This move does several things for McCain. One, it gives McCain the aura of being decisive and serious about this economic crisis, making Obama, who I believe has yet to take a position on the rescue plan, appear yet again indecisive by comparison. In a game of one-upsmanship, McCain just did a slam dunk. Bush has since invited Obama to take part in the negotiations and Obama has accepted.
Powerline thinks it is a mistake for McCain to pull out of the Friday debate. I disagree. While this crisis is ongoing, the crisis would grossly overshadow the Friday debate which is on McCain's greatest strength, foreign policy and national security. McCain's action gives him a viable reason for pulling the plug on this debate right now and rescheduling it.
I do not see how Obama could realistically justify refusing to reschedule this debate, but then again, given that Obama has the full backing of the MSM, we have to wait and see. I can see Obama refusing to reschedule and the MSM doing their best to support him. If that were to succeed, it would be a net negative for McCain. But given that Obama has argued that the debate should go on in the face of the greatest fiscal crisis since the depression because a President should be able to multitask, as I post below, McCain has a counter-argument that ought to really sting Obama.
This move also halts Obama's momentum. McCain was taking a bath in the polls as this economic crisis grabbed ever more attention. Regardless of reality, public perception is that the left are better stewards on economic issues. Obama has gained on the economic crisis while McCain has been flailing in response, still not yet responding effectively. This move stops the Obama camp in their tracks from attacking McCain on economic issues while McCain is in Washington. To do otherwise would reflect very poorly on Obama.
And this is one of those rare events where even the far left is - and should be - deathly afraid of playing their usual political games. They are very clearly the root cause of the subprime crisis and they are desperately trying to hide it. If the public sees them as putting the screws to this one and risking a depression for partisan gain, the Democratic party will become not but a historical footnote. So in other words, regardless of how much they want McCain to lose this election, the hand they normally use to stab people in the back with for partisan gain is tied as tight as it will ever be at the moment.
The danger to McCain is that he is unable to rally the right and Republicans get tabbed as being the roadblock to a solution. That would end the campaign here and now. And one can rarely count on our existing group of Congressional Republicans to act with any sort of sanity. That said, while McCain may drive Republicans wild, and while conservative opinion may be against the Treasury plan, I see no other alternative with a hope of passing. If McCain is smart, he will go into negotiations with a requirement that the plan coincide with a reduction in capital gains taxes to preserve people's savings during the hard times ahead. This will make him a conservative hero of sorts and ought to have great appeal to all Americans.
All of this said, when these negotiations are over, it is an absolute necessity that McCain and Republicans tell the tale of how this subprime crisis came to be. McCain clearly does not like attacking his fellow Senators. In this instance, it is his duty to America that this be spelled out from start to finish. Anyone who believes that the left is better trusted with our economy than even the existing sorry group of Republicans in office has bought into a fairy tale - only in this one, Hansel and Gretel get eaten by the Democratic witch.
Lastly, if you have not followed the naked political manuevering of the incredibly inept Harry Reid, inviting and then disinviting McCain, do read up on it at Hot Air. This guy doesn't have the skills or principles be a high school class president, let alone majority leader of the Senate.
Many more links related to all of this at Memorandum.
Other posts related to Subprime Crisis (from oldest to newest):
McCain, The Fannie and Freddie Crisis, and Obamafuscation - Obama and the entire Democratic Party are trying to blame Republicans for the subprime crisis. But this crisis was created by Bill Clinton and protected against Republican efforts to reign it in over a decade – until it failed, nearly pulling out entire economic system into a depression.
A Washington Post Front Page Hack Job - The Washington Post does a hit job on McCain, grossly distorting his record on regulatory matters and ignoring his cosponsoring of legislation to establish much stronger regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Dodging a Depression - The NYT and WSJ document just how serious is the subprime crisis. Quite literally it brought us to the point of a complete and catastrophic stoppage of our financial systems as institutions lost confidence in their fellow institutions. This was not a stock market crash, it was a lending and credit crash. The WSJ describes the events of the week leading up to the crisis point.
Obama & The "Family" Of Fannie Mae - Documenting Obama’s relationship to Fannie Mae.
The Origins – And Foreseeability – Of the Subprime Crisis - A 1999 article in the NYT describes the Clinton Administration forcing subprime loans onto America and also forecasts that this will create a house of cards that will fall apart in a down market.
Covering The Left’s Fannie - The NYT tries to play up old ties of a McCain campaign worker with Fannie Mae while minimizing the fact that McCain himself, in 2005, co-sponsored legislation that may well have prevented the fiscal crisis we are in now.
The Left’s Subprime Meltdown - A post by the Anchoress discusses this subprime crisis as a creation of the left and a system that was protected to the end by the left. She adds additional sites, quotes and links to explain the mosaic.
Fannie & Freddie, McCain & Obama, Subprime & Wall St.
The WSJ discusses both how the subprime loan market came about and how Democrats, including Obama, were both the cause of the problem and the roadblock to a solution that would have averted this catastrophe. Dafydd at Big Lizard's explains how Mortgage Backed Securities worked on Wall Street.
A Doddering Fool & Charlatan - Chris Dodd is up to his ears in the subprime crisis. With our economy teetering on an actual depression due to the Fannie/Freddie/subprime loan crisis, it was not merely surreal to watch Senator Chris Dodd chair an emergency hearing of the Senate Banking Committee to evaluate the Treasury's proposed rescue plan, it was obscene.
Finally – Oversight - The FBI has finally announced criminal investigations at Fannie and Freddie.
When Will They File As A 527 – The NYT continues its wholly biased reporting on the subprime crisis, refusing to report on the genesis of the crisis and instead, reporting on the relationship between Fannie Mae and Rick Davis of McCain’s campaign team.