Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Like an Albatross, or Maybe a Noose

Posted by MEC on September 30, 2008

McCain tried to grab the credit for saving the economy — or maybe just grab a few headlines.

Even the AP recognizes how badly he screwed up. The defeat of the bailout bill might have been seen for what it was, resistance by members of both parties to supporting a bill that their constituents overwhelmingly oppose. McCain’s grandstanding, however, makes the failure his failure, not just because he associated himself with the House Republicans but because he claimed ownership of the bailout.

McCain bragged that he was an action-oriented Teddy Roosevelt Republican who did not sit on the sidelines at a moment of crisis. The implication: that he played a critical role in building bipartisan support for the unprecedented bailout.

Within hours, however, the measure died in the House mainly at the hands of McCain’s own Republicans.

The implications of this political debacle are all bad for McCain:

* He can’t wield influence in Congress, so he’d be a weak president.

* Since he claimed responsibility for the bill, he’s responsible for throwing the markets into a panic.

* He can’t deliver on his promises.

Then there’s the damage he did to what remains of his reputation as a “Straight Shooter”:

* He said he was suspending his campaign, but he didn’t close his offices, pull his ads, cancel his speech the next day, or tell his surrogates to keep quiet.

* He said he wouldn’t debate as long as there was no solution to the credit crisis, and then he did.

* He and his surrogates bragged that he didn’t “phone it in”, but that’s literally what he did over the weekend, sitting in “one of his homes” (thank you, Rachel Maddow, for that reminder!) or his campaign (!) headquarters and making phone calls over the weekend.

* He made what amounted to a self-congratulatory victory announcement about the bill’s passage before the vote began, and then the bill didn’t pass.

* He blamed the bill’s failure on Obama, and in the very next sentence said this was no time to be placing blame.

There’s an old saying: When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

It seems like all McCain has is a shovel, and everything’s looking like a hole.

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