Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More than just a slogan

John McCain is suspending his campaign to return to Washington to deal with the financial crisis:

America this week faces an historic crisis in our financial system. We must pass legislation to address this crisis. If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy. People will no longer be able to buy homes and their life savings will be at stake. Businesses will not have enough money to pay their employees. If we do not act, ever corner of our country will be impacted. We cannot allow this to happen.

Last Friday, I laid out my proposal and I have since discussed my priorities and concerns with the bill the Administration has put forward. Senator Obama has expressed his priorities and concerns. This morning, I met with a group of economic advisers to talk about the proposal on the table and the steps that we should take going forward. I have also spoken with members of Congress to hear their perspective.

It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration’s proposal. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.

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.

Why? Well, for all the reasons of political advantage, of course.

But that's not all. As ABC reported this morning, Congress seems paralyzed, waiting for McCain to act:

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos reports: If Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain doesn't vote for the Bush administration's $700 billion economic bailout plan, some Republican and Democratic congressional leaders tell ABC News the plan won't pass.

"If McCain doesn't come out for this, it's over," a Top House Republican tells ABC News.

A Democratic leadership source says that White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten has been told that Democratic votes will not be there if McCain votes no -- that there is no deal if McCain doesn't go along.

And here in video:

Charlie Gibson: "So this really rests on McCain's shoulders?"

George Stephanopoulous: "And it's not a free vote for him Charlie...if he goes no, this package will likely fail and he will bear the consequence for that."

So in suspending his campaign, McCain rises to the challenge, and rides in to the rescue.

But now Harry Reid isn't so sure:

A Democrat tells ABC News that in a phone call late this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., that it would NOT be helpful for him to come back to Washington, DC, to work on the Wall Street bailout bill.

McCain this afternoon suspended his campaign and said he would skip the first presidential debate in order to return to Capitol Hill to work on the log jammed Bush administration legislation, which as of Wednesday afternoon was in peril. ...

McCain had phoned Reid to ask about the prospects of him, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and others to sit down and work together on hammering out a bipartisan proposal.

"Sorry," Reid said to him, a Democrat close to Reid says.

Apparently McCain's campaign slogan of "Country First" is more than just a slogan, while Democrats like Reid have no idea how to operate outside of slogans, none of which include the idea of putting country first.

And yes, we'll probably hear, "He'd rather lose and election to save the economy, than win an election and lose the economy" more than a few times in the coming days and weeks.

As a slogan? Sure, no doubt.

But does McCain mean it outside of just a slogan? We think so.

Congress wants to put the weight of the world on his shoulders to lessen their collective burden in this crisis, and McCain is saying in response:

I’ve been an imperfect servant of my country for many years. But I have been her servant first, last and always. ...

I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.

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