Thursday, September 25, 2008

McCain, Obama and the Bailout

I still haven't made up my mind out the bailout. Was it worth it? Should we have let AIG and other big companies fall, taking lots of others with them? Or should we commit nearly a trillion dollars to the national debt?

Regardless, my subject for today is McCain's decision to suspend his campaign to help work out the bailout. He challenged Obama to do the same but the senator from Illinois declined.

So, why did McCain do it?

Some people have suggested that it was a move made out of desperation. That he was behind in the polls and knew that he didn't have a chance otherwise. This isn't likely for several reasons. The most important is that he isn't that far behind in most polls. In fact, he is within the margin of error. He is on the wrong side of it but he is close. More important, the Electoral College doesn't look too bad for him. Granted he has lost a few states including Virginia but he is very close in several states including Pennsylvania. A one-point gain in a few states and the election is his.

Plus, McCain may already be ahead. There were several stories last week about how Obama is having trouble with white male Democrats. There is also speculation that he is polling higher than his real support. This isn't surprising considering the number of Democrats who have announced that the only racists will vote against Obama.

The first debate is on foreign policy which is expected to favor McCain. In fact, the debate in general is expected to favor McCain. He did better against a crowd of Republicans than Obama did against either a crowd of Democrats or Hillary by herself.

The safe thing to do would be to continue to campaign and count on a enough of a bump from the debate to put McCain in the lead.

Obviously McCain didn't do that.

Many people think that it was a political move. There is something to that. It never looks good for a candidate to have to follow the other's advise. At the same time, by not following McCain, Obama is giving some clear signals about his priorities.

The main thing here is that McCain could have easily continued running campaign ads while looking presidential in DC. He didn't which could cost him with the election so close.

So, what if McCain is serious about the need to put the country first? He is not only a candidate for president. He is also a senator. If this legislation is as important as President Bush claims then McCain's place is in the Senate.

What about Obama? He is a senator, also, but he has not rushed back to the capitol.
"This is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsible for dealing with this mess," Obama told reporters in Clearwater, Fla.
Ironically, Obama wants to someone else to deal with the mess for the next 40 days. He is too busy running for President to be part of the fix. He is perfectly happy to delegate the problem to someone else until he is sworn in. If McCain is putting country first then who is Obama putting first?

Note to Obama: The election may be in 40 days, but Bush continues in office in until January 20. You might have seen the 1/20/09 bumper stickers.

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