First, a video to set the scene:
This article in the Washington Post outlines McCain’s timeline and discussions that led him to decide to suspend his campaign and head to Washington to aid in the negotiation of the bailout plan.
The money quote of the article:
“We got a good sense last night, even more so this morning,” one top aide said. “Got in a position where Democrats were warily circling McCain — not going to commit to a deal unless McCain does. It was just a time for leadership. So he just stepped up.”
The aides said the concern mounted Wednesday morning, as McCain met with a panel of economic advisers and made phone calls with the Congressional leadership, including Sens. Hillary Clinton and Mitch McConnell, and Reps. Roy Blunt and John Boehner.
Yesterday, Harry Reid was reported as demanding that McCain must support the debated bill or he would not allow it to pass. Today, Harry reversed himself and said:
I understand that the candidates are putting together a joint statement at Senator Obama’s suggestion. But it would not be helpful at this time to have them come back during these negotiations and risk injecting presidential politics into this process or distract important talks about the future of our nation’s economy. If that changes, we will call upon them. We need leadership; not a campaign photo op.
Why is this important?
A few reasons:
First, Harry Reid is about to look like a really big fool. In his wildest imagination he didn’t believe McCain would actually get involved with this process. Reid thought he could use McCain to whip the Republicans into supporting a Democrat designed bill without McCain being anywhere near it. McCain called Reid’s bluff.
Second, McCain talked to Hillary Clinton about the ongoing debate. My bet is that McCain called Clinton. On the other hand, Obama has once again done nothing that was bipartisan except attempt to write a joint statement with McCain. That joint statement, by Obama’s own admission, was requested by Tom Coburn, it wasn’t Barack’s idea!
Finally, it’s apparent that the Republicans were ready to tube this endeavor. I believe McCain has come to the conclusion that something needs to be done. It may not be the plan as written but if “nothing” would have sufficed, he would not have left the campaign. McCain obviously believes something needs to be done and that he can help bring the Dems and the Republicans together to accomplish it.
I stand by my earlier post that calls McCain’s move an “OK Corral” moment. By the end of this weekend I believe one of the two candidates will be firmly etched in the public mind as the person best able to deal with economic issues.
I’m also increasingly optimistic that the person who will come out on top is McCain.
In his press conference explaining why he wouldn’t be suspending his campaign, Barack Obama said:
Given the fierce competition of this election and the enormous stakes involved, that, the fact that both parties agree that we need to focus on this problem on Capital hill and this is an issue that should transcend the typical day to day politics, I think that’s an important statement and one that I’m glad to be a party to.
Fancy word that “transcend.” Interesting that while John McCain takes action to transcend the day to day politics, Obama only talks about it
Later Obama said he told Congressional Democrat leadership:
If you need me, call me.
Who did Harry Reid call for to get bipartisan buy in for the bill? Nope, it wasn’t “The Transcendent One” himself, it was John McCain. Even Harry knows what a real leader looks like!