Monday, September 29, 2008


It didn't have to happen this way. He didn't have to jam himself into the process last Thursday in a lurching attempt to distract attention from his now understood as horrific first "Presidential" decision to choose Sarah Palin as his running mate. He didn't have to act like he had the power to reschedule the first debate and then show up anyway. He didn't have to act like a contemptuous old man all throughout the debate.

But most of all, he didn't have to take credit for passing the $700,000,000,000 finance bailout bill this morning, several hours before it went down in flames on the House of Representatives floor.

With even North Carolina trending towards Obama, I shudder to think what party Johnny will try to crash next. In the meantime, the stock market crashes the largest point loss in history, a rather novelistic 777 points, something like Gamblin' John likes to roll 'em, and the Republican Party appears to be entirely leaderless.

To rephrase that, there is no single individual leading the Grand Old Party. President Bush may try to speak tomorrow (before the West Coast even wakes us), but no matter his address last week, he's a ghost, unable to control the flow of events, let alone communicate in a clear, credible and compelling fashion to America why this piece of legislation he seems to so desperately want is anything more than the largest transfer of public money to the privately wealthy. He's leaving the U.S. as many of us predicted he left Harkin Energy back when he was a "businessman" -- in financial collapse.

House Minority Leader John Boehner seems to be a semi-leader, any more or less than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Semi as in not really.

And in a system where each nominee assumes control of their party's hearts, minds, direction and apparatus, McCain is clearly flying without controls. He's casting blame on Obama in yet another attempt to distract from his distraction from the uber-distraction of choosing Palin. While claiming that this isn't the time to assign blame. Weird.

Meanwhile, y'course, Obama continues to be calm, centered, smart and rational while calling firmly for renewed action by our elected representatives.

The fact is that there were a lot of real reasons to vote against this hastily assembled bill, and hopefully there will be a more incremental solution, by proportion if still staggering in number, as Robert Reich predicts, hopefully with accuracy. There's even a chance (shudder!) that McCain could have seized victory from the jaws of defeat should a better bill be enacted and the stock and credit markets recover quickly enough, say by the election. But that's tough now that he put his foot in it this morning, seeming to glom credit, even as now he tries to distract away blame.

I'm not one for the hardcore Libertarian position of allowing total bankruptcy, as I've seen pictures and movies of the 1930's breadlines. I'd rather see an equity solution (oh, horrors, how socialiste!) where the taxpayers get the most brutal deal for the spoils, since we're being asked to take the risk.

In the short term, i.e. through the election, this may have been a bold stroke on the part of the Dems, to set up an adult solution nobody wanted to vote for just before their own re-election days and then let the President's party take the fall for not supporting the President's plan. For the rest of us it may mean no auto loans, massive job loss, inability to finance new businesses. For John McCain it may mean the end of his Presidential hopes.

And, most of all, for George W. Bush it means that he's the disastrous frontrunner for Worst President in the history of our Democratic Republic.

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