Whether you agree with a bailout — or, as others are calling it, a rescue — of Wall Street or not, there is no question that something should be done. And while it might seem ludicrous that Congress is leading the way in fixing a problem that it helped create — with Senate Majority Leader Harry “No One Knows What to Do” Reid in the lead — it’s what’s going to happen in some fashion.
To the surprise of some and the disgruntlement of others, John McCain suspended his campaign to head back to Washington to do his part in dealing with the crisis, asking that the first presidential debate scheduled for Friday the 26th be rescheduled. Obama’s initial response? No way, Jose. And Harry Reid made his feelings about McCain’s involvement clear:
“This is a critical time for our country,” says the Reid statement. “While I appreciate that both candidates have signaled their willingness to help, Congress and the administration have a process in place to reach a solution to this unprecedented financial crisis. 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. If there were ever a time for both candidates to hold a debate before the American people about this serious challenge, it is now.”
Interesting. Yes, Obama and McCain are both running for president. But they are both still senators, drawing a paycheck from the American people to do the business of the American people.
And Bill Clinton, who is supposed to be stumping for his fellow Democrat, advises us not to look too closely at McCain’s request to postpone the debate:
“We know [McCain] didn’t do it because he’s afraid because Sen. McCain wanted more debates,” Clinton said, adding that he was “encouraged” by the joint statement from McCain and Sen. Barack Obama.
“You can put it off a few days; the problem is it’s hard to reschedule those things,” Clinton said. “I presume he did that in good faith since I know he wanted — I remember he asked for more debates to go all around the country and so I don’t think we ought to overly parse that.”
Ouch! That’s gonna leave a mark.
Obama then made a grand offer, saying that if he was needed back in Washington, just give him a ringy-ding-ding:
As I said before, I think that one of the things we have to determine is how we can be most helpful. It’s my sense that the most helpful thing we can do right now is, uh, to let everyone know this is a sufficiently important problem. I can be helpful, and I am prepared to be anywhere, anytime. So, uh, I think the message is, if I can be helpful, I am prepared to be there at any point.
That’s right, Mr. President. If you need me, I’m just a phone call away. You can count on me to back you up whenever you might need me. You do have the number to my direct line, right?
So, is anyone else reminded of this comment by Obama when discussing his position on Iraq?
I’m surprised at how finely calibrated every single word was measured. I wasn’t saying anything I hadn’t said before, that I didn’t say a year ago or when I was a United States senator. (emphasis added)
Presidential politics have no place here? Please. The reaction of the candidates speaks volumes about their readiness to react to crisis. Remember the difference between McCain and Obama when Russia invaded Georgia? At the time, voters trusted McCain on the issue by a two-to-one margin. And as of this writing, the small gain by Obama in the polls over the last week or two has eroded, putting the candidates in a dead heat once again.
Is this proof that Americans still prefer a man of action to a man of words? We’ll find out in November. But McCain saw an opportunity to tout his leadership credentials and Obama was caught with those jeans that make reporters swoon down.
Watch out for the draft, Barry. It can be a mite chilly.