At 8am this morning, Barack Obama called John McCain and asked that the two collaborate on a statement on the bailout. The call was not announced to the press. At 2:30pm, McCain called back and accepted. The initiative made sense: Without some unity from the two campaigns, some linkage of their fortunes, the two parties would be too paralyzed attempting to ratfuck each other to actually pass a bailout proposal. The statement, meant to remove the interests of the two presidential candidates, is forthcoming.The last thing Capitol Hill needs to deal with right now are the ragged agendas and overblown hype of the campaign. John McCain and Barack Obama have no business going to Washington until it's time for them to vote on the completed legislation. The finance committees have their jobs to do, and the candidates have theirs. And one of John McCain's jobs this week is to get his butt to Mississippi and be presidential.
Later in the day, John McCain surprised the Obama campaign by going before the press and announcing a cessation of the campaign and a delay in the debate. There was no effort to plan a coordinated action with the other camp. Rather, he publicly demanded that Barack Obama follow suit...
...The contrast here is a clear one. Obama argued that the presidential candidates should recede into the background, agree on a common position and let Congress work without the impediment. It was a bipartisan stunt meant to construct a protected space for the congressional negotiations, where they could proceed without relative freedom from the presidential contest.
McCain loudly proclaimed the need to set aside politics, focused cameras by demanding a suspension of the debates, and promised that both candidates would fully insert themselves and their entourages and their media power and their electoral interests into the negotiations. The McCain campaign has politicized the bailout debate even as it volubly denounces politics. It is astonishingly reckless.
Quit trying to get out of the mid-term, Senator. Grab your No. 2 pencil and get to studying.
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