Country first *UPDATED*

I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed as all get out by McCain’s decision to stop campaigning for a while and serve his country during what may be the most significant economic crisis since 1929:

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.

I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.

We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved. I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night’s debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.

Because of McCain’s consistent record of service to his country, this does not look like campaign grandstanding.  It looks like the real deal.

And because McCain has consistently sought to debate with Obama — and Obama has always run shy — it also doesn’t look as if McCain is running from the upcoming debate this Friday (which McCain has asked to have postponed).

Speaking of running from debates, this is one debate — the one where he’s standing opposite an empty podium — that Obama doesn’t want to miss.  He has refused McCain’s request that they set aside campaigning for a few days and get down to the business of helping this country through a major financial crisis.

Harry Reid’s statement supporting Obama was predictably stupid:  “Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid issued a statement saying the debate should go on because ‘we need leadership, not a campaign photo op.'”  If I understand this correctly, rolling up your sleeves and getting to work on an imminent crisis that needs to be addressed immediately is not leadership, it’s a photo op.  Appearing on a stage for a two hour debate that could just as easily be rescheduled to another day, is leadership, not a photo op.  Bizarro World, my dear readers, Bizarro World.

John McCain — Country First

Barack Obama — Obama First

John McCain — Country First

Barack Obama — Debates Only Without Opponents

John McCain — Country First

Barack Obama — Not Ready to Lead

(BTW, here’s James Taranto with some of the political manuvering that led up to McCain’s surprise move, which had it’s genesis in an Obama initiated effort to force McCain to sign off on a Democratic bill.  Not only did McCain refuse to do so, he also made Obama look incredibly selfish.)

UPDATEConfederate Yankee has a great suggestion for Friday’s debate, if Obama insists on going ahead with it.

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  • Allen

    Obama continues to make serious campaign mistakes. Being at the forefront of the action over the bailout is what a leader is expected do. Plus there would be all that free campaign coverage on the national stage. If his campaign had any sense and they wanted a foreign policy debate to occur on Friday; he should suggest their VP picks do it. Stand-in when needed, the VP’s job description.

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  • Mike Devx

    One thing I can’t stand about all the media: They never print the full statement. They could at least link to it!

    I have *heard* that Obama said, in his statement, “If they need me in Washington, they know where to find me”, or “If they need me in Washington, they simply will pick up the phone and call.”

    Did he really say that? I cannot find the full statement anywhere, yet.

    If he did really say that, doesn’t that make it clear that he’s not the leader of his party, and not at all important in the Senate? There hasn’t been a worse financials crisis since the Great Depression, and he’s not interested in leading the solution. He’d rather sit back and watch, and then spin it all afterwards. But oh so fluently, and glibly, and persuasively. And then put forth a blizzard of ads that are outrageously deceptive, using Alinsky tactics to tar and feather McCain with falsehoods and keep him so busy answering false charges that no one can focus on Obama’s total lack of leadership.

    It certainly would show a lack of leadership, and would show what an incredibly weak President he would be. Jimmy Carter’s pod person, as I’ve said before.

    But I can’t find the statement, so I’m relying on hearsay. Does anyone know if he really did say that?

  • Marguerite

    Maybe I don’t have the full story yet, but I think McCain sounds weak and mealy-mouth and what-a good-boy-am-I by pulling out of the scheduled debate. He hasn’t given a good reason why the debate can’t continue – Obama sounded strong saying we can talk and chew gum at the same time. It is the first time since I became aware of who and what BHO is that I’ve agreed with anything he has said or done, and I certainly would never vote for him because of who he is and what he believes. Come on John, you’re more than up to it!

  • Deana

    Hi Marguerite –

    I’m not fully up on this story yet but isn’t this Friday’s debate supposed to be on foreign affairs? If anything, that would be McCain’s strong point. Why would he want to get out of this debate when it is something he can shine on (potentially)?

    Or am I wrong? Is this Friday on economics (which, if you listen to the MSM, Obama has all sewn up)?


  • pondering penguin

    I agree with your conclusions, Book Worm! I thought the same thing. Obama wants a foreign policy debate only if he’s the only one on stage, after a 3 day cram session in Florida. He’s all for talking, just not doing anything.

  • Marguerite

    Deana & Pondering – Good points. And I can entirely see BO, who I believe is a complete fraud, as desirous of setting the terms. I wish the debates weren’t so scripted and that the candidates could have more give and take where real knowledge and experience would be revealed. But I guess he (McCain) left an opening to resume the scheduled debate if there was a plan by Friday. Now we get to listen to the actors strutting on the Congressional stage fluffing their feathers for a while longer.

  • suek

    So…what’s wrong with having the debate in Washington?? Surely _someone_ could provide them with space…

  • Mike Devx

    OK, I have at last found this:

    in which Obama is quoted as saying,
    “If we both need to be in Washington, we both have big planes that we’ve painted our slogans on the side of. They can get us from Washington to Mississippi very quickly.”

    But it still is not the full transcipt of his statement, which I – still! – cannot find anywhere. I will at this point assume the quote to be true.

    Read his quote again, and ask yourself what he is saying about himself. It clearly reveals his importance within the Senate.

    You can be certain that he will put out another statement soon. It will likely say:
    “If there is no solution within Congress by Thursday evening, then I agree that at that point we must postpone Friday’s debate until, at the earliest, Monday.”

    It’s what he should already have said today. Better, he should have simply agreed with McCain. That a foreign policy debate *must* occur on a specific date is more important to him than seeking a solution to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression?

    That would make sense only if you’re unimportant in the Senate.

  • Oldflyer

    McCain had a novel idea. Let’s go and actually do the jobs that we are being paid to do.

    Only in the government can you spend extended periods interviewing/auditioning for your next job, completely ignorig your present job while drawing a check from your current employer.

    Now that I have learned that the first Presidential debate, and the only VP debate, will be moderated by PBS folks, I would just as soon they be canceled.

    Off topic. I had to leave the room during Sarah Palin’s session with the perky one this evening because I kept cursing and my wife kept telling me to shut up. Couric didn’t even pretend to be even handed–she had her claws out from the first question.

  • Quisp

    Mike D, I don’t have a transcript but audio is here:

    “If I can be helpful, I am prepared to be anywhere, anytime. Uh, I think the message is, if you need us, if I can be helpful, uh, I’m prepared to be anywhere at any point.” That leads into the truly inspirational “we’ve both got big planes painted with our slogans” line.

    Not exactly the courageous words of someone taking charge, and I can’t believe the media’s trying to spin it that way. 0bama had a plum time slot for his Foreign Policy debate, Friday night before a weekend news cycle. You think he wants to swap that for an early- or mid-week debate? Not no way, not no how.

  • loveparadiseforyou

    Hey whats up?

    Just wanted to share the following info –

    “Obama said McCain had jumped the gun by calling for postponing the debate in Mississippi.

    “My attitude is we need to be focused on solving the problem … but I think it is also important that we communicate to the American people where we need to go in getting us out of this situation,” the Democrat said.

    “I think it’s possible to do both.”

    The Illinois senator said he had spoken to McCain in the afternoon and had been under impression that their staffs were working together on a joint statement adding McCain had told him they should join a bipartisan effort to ease the crisis in Washington.

    “Now, when I got back to the hotel, he had gone on television to announce what he intended to do,” he said.

    Obama said he had been in constant touch with top congressional leaders on the campaign trail and said it was not yet necessary to go back to Washington.

    “I think that it is going to be part of the president’s job to deal with more than one thing at once”

    Will participate tonight.. at Work:)

  • Mike Devx


    Are you still of the opinion that McCain looked weak in saying he will not appear at Friday’s debate, and suggesting it be delayed until after the bill is passed?

    It is clear that as of Wednesday, the House Republicans were in open revolt. McCain was receiving numerous messages, even from slimy Harry Reid, also from Republicans and Paulson, indicating that McCain’s agreement was absolutely necessary for any bill to pass.

    Doesn’t it make perfect sense for McCain to say, “OK, if they are all demanding my agreement, I am going back to Washington to consult with my allies and ensure that I’m supporting exactly the bill I like? I need to be there to participate in the negotiations.” Of course he had to be there.

    Consider that a debate requires at least two days of intensive preparations to have all the correct arguments in place. You do *not* want a major flub on the stage, especially in an extremely passionate and close election.

    McCain would have been involved in closeted debate prep Wednesday-Friday, leaving him incapable of devoting considerable time to the solution to the worst crisis in the American financials industry since the Great Depression. The solution being intensely debated in the Senate. Of course he had to be there!

    And yet, conservatives across the board are criticising McCain today. Krauthammer The Elite and George Will The Elite are slamming McCain and deriding him and calling this just another “Hail Mary pass”. I am getting so sickened by these so-called conservatives that I keep wanting to head to the toilet to vomit. Tonight Laura Ingraham chimes in, disagreeing strongly with McCain’s decision to participate. I don’t understand these people! You can disagree and still defend McCain; they’re all refusing to explain or defend him at all.

    Today, the Democrats engaged in frantic, panicked negotiations as McCain arrived in Washington. The Democrats desperately wanted to announce a full agreement prior to McCain’s involvement so they could continue to sabotage what he was about to do. And just who is playing politics with the emergency? The Democrats out-and-out lie, saying it is McCain, when it is clearly them.

    The Democrats all rushed to the cameras at noon, saying, yes, we have an agreement… in principle. Desperate to show that McCain is a Johnnie-come-lately, and totally intrusive and unnecessary. McCain just smiled and went into the consensus meeting with Obama, Bush, Paulson, and House leaders.
    Just who is playing politics with the national emergency? The Democrats. And yet they continued to lie and lie and lie about McCain.

    In the consensus meeting, the Democrats selected Obama to lead them. The Democrat contingent degenerated into shouting and confusion. Obama, whose attempts at leadership have *never* resulted in even one success that he can claim as his, failed yet again. It must have been extraordinarily embarrassing. Oh, to be a fly on THAT wall!

    So now this evening, McCain is deeply involved with his Senate allies, and he is meeting and directly communicating with the Republican House conservatives, who are in open revolt. I don’t know McCain’s position, but he’s deeply involved, as he should be.

    Or should he be instead closeted away, doing his two-day preparations for the debate? Please reconsider.

    It’s clear McCain made the strong leadership decision that was absolutely necessary. I wish my Washington Elite, so-called Republican media leaders could see this. I can’t understand why they are submaring this courageous man. I can’t understand it.

  • Bookworm

    Do you get the feeling you’re watching a horrible, giant game of chicken, with both Democrats and Republicans racing inexorably to the cliff’s edge, hauling all of us in their sick wake?

    Here are some good links about the politicking going on:

    What’s sad is that, while we political junkies pay attention to these telling details, the average American relies solely on the MSM, which simply replays Reid’s and Pelosi’s and Frank’s talking points as if they’re actual news.

  • Mike Devx

    Oh, Book, that last link was so wonderful! The first and best news I’ve had in these dark three days. I hope you don’t mind if I quote from it to give others a better chance to not miss it.

    While Obama himself is refraining from knocking McCain, his campaign certainly isn’t:

    So make no mistake: John McCain did not “suspend” his campaign. He just turned a national crisis into an occasion to promote his campaign. It’s become just another political stunt, aimed more at shoring up the Senator’s political fortunes than the nation’s economy. And it does nothing to help advance this critical legislation to protect the American people during this time of economic crisis.

    There’s some indication that McCain backs something along the lines of the House GOP’s plan:

    [A] key Republican lawmaker stated that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) wants to explore new ideas, like loaning money to financial institutions or insuring the companies, rather than buying their toxic debt…

    Rep. Spencer Bachus (Ala.), the ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, attended the meeting at which some say a deal was reached. But he later issued a statement saying he wasn’t authorized to negotiate or approve any deals for House Republicans…

    He added that McCain is interested in using loans or insurance rather than having the government purchase the toxic debts of Wall Street institutions.

    These are the main principles of the House GOP alternative, which Paulson has said he doesn’t think will work:

    1. Government should be providing mortgage insurance instead of buying up toxic debt
    2. The companies that hold the assets should be paying premiums for that insurance, not taxpayers
    3. Cut down on regulations and taxes that are keeping capital on the sidelines during this crisis, allowing for private investment to come into the market instead of just tax dollars
    4. Temporary tax relief for companies to allow them to invest and create jobs

    I was becoming convinced that McCain was going to support the purely Democrat solution (Paulson, Bush reluctantly, all Senate and House Democrats). A bailout whose unknown risk parameters is laid entirely on the taxpayers, putting Washington politicians in control of managing of a huge part of our American system. And as everyone knows, control of management = POWER.

    There is hope that moving forward into the election, we will have a genuine conservative ticket that we can enthusiastically support. Go McCain! Go Palin!

    Please pardon me while I let out a rip-roaring YAAAAAY! YAAAAAAAAY! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

    This is a great way to end my day after yesterday’s sleepless night. (I finally crashed 1pm-7pm.)

  • Bookworm

    I benefit from your sleeplessness, Mike. You leave great comments: thoughtful, lucid and informed.

  • Mike Devx

    This is important, because the $700 billion package is looking more and more like just another Paulson pipe dream. Why does Bush keep relying on these jokers?

    (And yes, SEC chair Chris Cox should be one of those to be shown the door. McCain was right, and George Will and Charles Krauthammer and Mark Levin are WRONG.)

    Today it appears the FDIC is also severely undercapitalized. Ha – this means of course that they do not have enough money to cover themselves. If there were a run on the banks, of people withdrawing money, there is no telling what might happen. Yet another case where our financials systems are so broken, and no one is telling us.

    The FDIC is supposed to have all bank deposits insured and guaranteed for up to $100,000. It is clear that that is nothing more than a hollow statement, with nothing to back it up. Everything is illusory these days!

    The total price tag for stability across the market is now estimated to truly be $2.2 trillion, not $700 billion. The Paulson package is likely to fail, just like his every other attempt over the last three months has failed, even as he and Bush keep coming out with statements about how *this time* they’ve got the right solution.

    I am becoming skeptical that the $700 billion bailout will work. It will likely only lead to the next crisis another month from now. And with the system in place, they will simply double the $700 billion. And then the next crisis. And again, another $700 billion.

    And we hear that this bailout will actually be a taxpayer boon. Heh. Pardon me while a guffaw. The government seizing control of vast portions of any nation’s economy has always been shown, in the past, to fail. My hope has been that the $700 billion bailout might be worth it because it looked likely to work. I don’t think so anymore.

  • Marguerite

    Mike Devx – No, I’m not of the same opinion now! But I do wish he would have just let someone else make the announcement and just gone – that would have eliminated my issue w/what-a-good-boy-am-I. I should refrain from posting when it’s about something that I have so little background in. My heart just sinks when I think that (according to polls) half of this country is ready to elect a complete fraud who is worse than John Kerry. And some of them are my friends! My God – Al Gore could be named to his brand new cabinet Department of Climate and Carbon Footprint Exchange!

  • suek

    Here’s a good article to check out. Not too long.

    It raises the fact that _one_ – just one, mind you – of the reasons that the Repubs don’t like the Paulson plan is that it guarantees 20% of “profits” for ACORN!!!


    >>I should refrain from posting when it’s about something that I have so little background in.>>

    Maybe…but on the other hand, you have to start somewhere. If you have no background in something, you may know it, but often we just don’t realize how ignorant we are about a topic. If you make a comment that plainly indicates that you lack information, it seems to me that on _this_ blog, at least, people will direct you to information that will help you correct the situation. In fact…often you’ll get information to several opposing positions!!!
    So…spit it out! It makes us all work a bit harder to clarify what we know and what opinions we hold.

  • Mike Devx

    Hi Marguerite,
    Yes, it is amazing to me too that half the country is ready to vote that way. “You get the government you deserve” is a truism. Conservatives – and, yes, liberals too – are fighting the fight for what they think is right. There seems to be no middle ground, both sides are so far apart.

    >>I should refrain from posting when it’s about something that I have so little background in.>>

    Heck, no! Post as best you can! I try to indicate in a post where I think I’m weak, or I ask what others think because I’m unsure. Book’s comments area is a great place to post my best take on a situation even when I’m struggling. Or, especially when I’m struggling. For my attempts to grasp a particular situation, the followup posts often help me out a great deal. Go ahead and post!