The candidates’ day jobs & the bailout

What do you think of McCain’s gestureto suspend his campaign?

Both presidential candidates do have day jobs they should not neglect. They are both Senators. It is surely appropriate that they leave the campaign trail to come back to Washington to thrash out such an important piece of legislation as the bailout of our financial system.

A commentator on FOX said that now John McCain can present himself as riding in on a white horse, delivering the Republican votes, and so saving the economy.

Another pundit said that McCain should oppose the bill and thus present Barack Obama and George Bush as being on the same side. Of course, that’s not going to happen. On this major economic issue, the two candidates offer the voters no choice between them. They agree. In fact, they have issued a joint statement asking all Americans to come together on this.

What do you think? Were you convinced by the President’s speech? Are you coming together?

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  • WebMonk

    Do I support the bailout?

    *BEEP* no!!!!

  • Manxman

    After Bush’s misrepresentations in justifying America’s going to war in Iraq there is nothing he could say or do that would make me trust him or the people surrounding him.

    We’ve only traded the neo-con empire builders for Bernanke & Paulson, and “weapons of mass destruction” for threats of economic disaster.

    We’ve been screwed and deceived again by a puppet for special interests who aren’t showing us all the cards.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    No Sale. I think folks ought to call their representatives today and let them know if they vote this through we will never vote for them again. No one but the government could dream up such a bad deal for the average citizen.

  • TK

    Off topic, I’m for whatever truly needs some sort of bailout. I’m not for throwing in, whole-hog, student loans and mortgages. This plan needs meticulous scrutiny and study…I’m all for suspending the campaign for a couple of weeks.

    On topic, If people doing their jobs (senators being senators) causes them to “present themselves as riding in on a white horse, delivering votes, and saving the economy”, then so be it. I cringe when I think of all the money wasted on campaigns and Americans still remained divided.

    The President’s words concerns me, but I also think he shouldn’t have delivered such a sanitized speech. I would have preferred a McCain-style speech, specifically citing failures and announcing some firings. America needs a vocal and unabashed leader who won’t spot-check himself in the mirror of polls. I think I have to go back to Reagan to find someone like that. Obama strikes me as a poll-checker; McCain does not.

  • Dave Sarafole

    Back to the original question. I think it was wise for McCain to do this for the simple reason that he is a U.S. Senator who has an obligation to participate in this debate. If he and Obama were to continue campaigning and preparing for the Oxford, Mississippi debate they would absent from the Senate for the pending vote. In my estimation to be AWOL from Washington at this time would be political suicide for either candidate.

    Remember his statement: “I would rather win the war in Iraq than and lose the presidency than lose the war in Iraq and win the presidency.” The same holds here: he would rather put his presidential aspiration in jeopardy by suspending his campaign to work on this problem than continue on the campaign trail while this problem looms over our nation. In each case he demonstrates his commitment to putting the country first.

    PS. I’m not a McCain fan and I didn’t vote for him in the primaries.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Maybe he wasn’t poll-watching so much as deal-protecting.
    If Congress isn’t going to hold some of its own members to account for their questionable dealings, and likewise some people who benefited richly from now endangered entities, Bush needs many of these same people to get something done.
    It’s a crying shame, but that’s reality. He can’t stipulate that certain Congressmen, Senators, or past moguls be left out. You work with what you have to work with.
    He strikes me as being more of a realist than a poll-watcher. Also as one who tries to not appear political, when more than politics is at stake.
    Mileage may vary, of course. Some see him as an ultimate political animal. I often wish that were so.

  • Ryan

    It is a proper and gutsy (courageous?) move. Here is a vote everyone will be watching. A candidate could open themselves up for severe criticism.

    A debate between two people can be rescheduled a lot easier than a vote of Congress.

    Good thing for Governors they have Assistant Govs to fill in!

  • It’s a proper move, and the media ought to be asking Mr. Obama why he’s collecting a Senate paycheck but not doing the job.

  • Sam

    McCain has not suspended his campaign. He’s still making appearances today and so is Palin. Indeed, Palin, as a governor, cannot participate in congressional negotiations. And since she’s so obviously a part of his campaign, wouldn’t a suspension of his campaign suspend her activities as well?
    No, McCain has not suspended his campaign.

  • Bill

    Bike Bubba, while you’re at it, ask McCain (my senator) why he has missed several hundred votes in the US Senate since he began to run for president. How does his leaving AZ with one senator justify his paycheck?

  • Susan aka organshoes

    I don’t doubt that McCain is very serious, and not just posturing, in what’s he’s decided to do.
    Isn’t the first debate about foreign policy/national security? What American voter wants to hear arguments about dictators, war, and enemy combatant rights right now? Who doesn’t see financial security as part of national securty? Foreign policy seems so light years ago, and it’s so for every income level of American, whether people realize the impact or not.
    More important than what McCain has decided, though, is what Congress and Treasury decide. McCain’s gambit is just today’s news, but what comes of whatever is enacted will bind the next president–and the country–no matter what foreign policy points are won or lost in Friday’s debate.

  • Peter Leavitt

    McCain, while not unmindful of the politics, has made a presidential move to end the ephemeral campaign and take an active part in the resolution of this grave financial crisis.

    Bill Kristol today writes in the Weekly Srandard:

    That’s why McCain’s action Wednesday–announcing he would come back to Washington to try to broker a deal to save our financial system–could prove so important. The rescue package that was so poorly crafted and defended by the Bush administration seemed to be sliding toward defeat. The presidential candidates were on the sidelines, carping and opining and commenting. But one of them, John McCain, intervened suddenly and boldly, taking a risk in order to change the situation, and to rearrange the landscape.

    Of course his motives were partly election-related. But “the interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place.” If candidate McCain, for whatever mixed motives, ends up acting in a way that results in a deal.

  • Anon

    We can argue about the roots of the crisis, and what a Biblical response back at the roots might have been.

    Preventing a Great Depression is another matter. Our economy is so heavily based upon usuary and smoke and mirrors that even a Biblical forgiving of debts might cause tens of millions to be thrown out of work and be homeless. I don’t know, which is why I’ve asked elsewhere here what such things would do in the short term.

    McCain seems to want to make sure that there -is- a plan enacted, and that it provides relief for homeowners who acted in good faith upon what their bankers told them. He is not the only one, but he just may have the networking in place to pull it off, so it may well be the patriotic thing for him to do to suspend his personal campaigning and go to DC to make this happen.

    I don’t know what the best plan is. Here is an alternate that has some elements in it that I find interesting. I wonder what others think of it:

  • I respect Mccain’s decision to suspend his campaign. I agree with the President that we are facing a great depression if we don’t do this which will bring untold misery on America.
    I however think that a great depression is preferable to the moral hazzard involved in letting all these financial corporations off the hook for there bad decisions.
    I am not at all happy with the expansion of power for the federal reserve involved in this bailout/coverup.
    I would like to see us nationalize the federal reserve. The fed has too much power and too little accountability to the American people. Nationalize the Fed and subject Fed actions to congressional oversight and ratification.

  • Sam

    See comment @10. He’s not suspended his campaign, folks. His commercials still run, his aides/surrogates still speak, his mate Palin continues to tour; he himself gave a televised speech this morning. Sound like a campaign?

  • Don S

    So Sam, at 10 & 16, I take it that you want him to just fire all the campaign workers, pull down all the commercials, recall Palin, and give Obama the field? He’s not stupid. What he meant was that he was going to suspend his own campaigning and go back to D.C. and do his job as both a senator and the Republican candidate for president.

  • Sam

    Don @17. Thanks for conceding the facts I set forth @16. You ask what I want McCain to do. I want him to keep his word – or change his mind and say so.
    He said he was suspending his campaign, including his TV commercials. He’s not done so.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    oh sam.
    He said yesterday that this morning’s speech would go on.
    From NBC News’s website:
    RE: Suspend all McCain for President Advertising
    “As you are aware, the John McCain for President Campaign has suspended all campaigning to address the current national financial crisis. Effective 5pm today, September 24th, 2008, all advertising for the McCain for President Campaign must cease. Please notify your stations immediately.”
    Continuing from NBC News:
    A West coast media buying executive not working with the McCain camp tells NBC News that pulling ads isn’t quite as easy as sending out such a directive. “Stations are telling me it can’t happen,” says the exec. “The campaign knows that it can’t happen.” That’s because computer logs with already-scheduled ad placements may already be locked in.

    The ad buyer adds that stations will likely have problems trying to stop ads from running tonight, and some may not be able to get off the air by tomorrow.

    Here ends the message.
    Now we know the rest of the story.

  • TK


    It seems like you are just trying to be contentious. To suspend something doesn’t mean to end it; it means to put on hold.


    Thanks for that information!

  • Sam

    TK, right. Suspend means to put on hold; not to continue. McCain’s ads still run, his surrogates still attack Obama, Palin continues to speak, etc. What’s on hold?
    I don’t doubt that McCain SAID he would put his campaign on hold; the evidence before my eyes, however, forbids to conclude that he has done so, memos to NBC notwithstanding.
    If pointing out inconvenient truth is contentious, call me contentious.

  • TK

    An inconvenient truth….hmm, I think that was a movie title, too. Sam, you don’t trust McCain…I get that. I don’t trust Obama. Yes, our country is divided and now broke. Joy. I look forward to the debate, whenever it is appropriate to hold it.

  • Sam

    TK, you’re politely calling me a liar, but the evidence is what it is. God help you to see it.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    I see: you’re impolitely calling McCain a liar, but you’re not, in spite of facts to the contrary of your premise.
    If you’re going to invoke God’s help in perceiving truth, let’s let God be God, truth be truth, spin be spin, but let’s let an election remain a choice between two sinners.
    Neither man is God’s proven pet, nor truth’s proven standard-bearer.
    You have a long way to go, though, in proving that one man’s dishonesty trumps another’s.
    However, you’ve achieved proving what truth and whose version matter to you.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Andy Kessler, a very savvy financial guy, makes a good case today in the WSj that over time this bail out will be a moneymaker for the government; he estimates between one and 2.3 $trillion. Check out the article, ThePaulson Plan Will Make Money For Taxpayers . I happen to agree with Kessler’s analysis, though the administration is wise not to go out on a limb with such a prediction.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    I don’t know from Andy Kessler (my ignorance showing), but then I hear conservative Republicans balking at the Paulson plan.
    One of the arguments against Kessler’s position is, no one yet knows the value of what the government’s offered to buy, so they can hardly project profits.

  • BIll, yes, that’s an issue. I’d simply argue that Obama is missing the boat even worse on his responsibilities.

    Of course, given that I disagree with about 99% of Obama’s votes and positions, I’d have to admit that I kinda think it’s a good thing that he doesn’t take his job terribly seriously. To a lesser extent, same thing with McCain.

  • WebMonk

    Sam, would you give it a day or two for the ads to get off their pre-scheduled slots?! If McCain continues his ads after that, then you’ll have something to grump about, but until then it’s apparently impossible to pull the ads completely on such short notice. Hold off for a couple days to at least give McCain an opportunity to do or not do what he said.

    Peter, I wish I had the time to give that article the fisking it deserves. Maybe tomorrow if someone doesn’t beat me to it. I’m not familiar with Kessler’s normal style and stances, but based just on that article he’s either a blatant liar or very badly mistaken.

    Quickest item – Paulson wouldn’t be buying the distressed assets for pennies on the dollar, he’ll be buying them for close to their paper value: 80-90% of their original value. For $700 billion, he’ll be getting maybe $900 billion “worth” of assets, but that worth is a funky thing.

    Even though on paper something that was originally $10 billion is still “worth” $9 billion, no one is willing to pay that much for it which is why they are rated at only 15-25% of their paper value. The govt can’t just resell it in a couple years for it’s “full” value. Besides, even if it could resell them it would have to deal with them in the meantime, and if you think that Congress is going to be able to stick to their guns and foreclose on the tens of thousands of foreclosure-ready mortgages that they will own, I have some ocean-front property in Arizona for you.

    It’s a longer explanation than I have time to go into now, but suffice it to say Kessler is putting out a snowjob, either from ignorance or intent.

  • Question: Why didn’t he say – I’m putting my public appearances on hold while I handle this issue in Washington, but my campaign mate will take over my appearances where possible?

  • Peter Leavitt

    WebMonk, your assumption that the bailout entity will be paying 80 to 90% for this distressed paper is probably way off. Thain of Merrill sold $35 billion of this paper to Lone Star for 22 cents on the dollar. Buffet just invested $5 billion in Goldman Sachs on the assumption that its not inconsiderable distressed paper will over time be made good. The Treasury will be in a good position to acquire this distressed paper at distressed prices.

    Kesler is well known for taking his Velocity Fund from $100 million in ’96 to a $billion in ’01. Take a close look at his well considered assumptions and let us know where you think he is off.

    My guess is that Paulson, another savvy Wall Street investment banker, has made assumptions similar to Kessler, though, given the uncertainty and risks involved, he is wise enough to stay quiet.

    What we do know is that the financial firms in distress will haggle but eventually cave due to the large hole in their capital structure and that the government can sit on the distressed paper long enough for a housing market turnatround. Too bad that the credit markets were in such meltdown last week that the government, rather than the hedge funds and surviving investment banks, had to step in to this scene, though we can be reasonably sure that Paulson et al will take full advantage of this on behalf of the American Treasury. I assume here that the Democrats get some but not all of the Christmas tree goodies that they’re plumping for.

    The notion that Paulson and Bernanke [and Kessler] are involved in some sort of conspiracy is merely a typical Dogpatch theory.

  • Sam

    Scylding @ 29, I ask the same question. It would have been perfectly proper for McCain, a sitting US Senator, simply to go to DC to deal with legislation. I suspect that he had to “suspend” his campaign to maintain the fiction that he was taking a break from partisan activities, such as tomorrow’s debate.
    Webmonk @28, I’m not talking just about adverts, but also about such campaign activities as McCain’s televised speech this morning and appearances today by Palin and his surrogates, etc. — all while his campaign is, supposedly, on hold. I tired of the ruse. Why could he not have been more honest?

  • I’m beginning to wonder whether, if McCain murdered a poor person on live TV, some here would celebrate his “taking bold action to help reduce the number of people on government handout programs like welfare and Medicaid.” Just saying.

  • Bill

    Bike Bubba @27, the truth is, it’s McCain who has missed more votes this session than anyone else, as of late May, before the summer recess.

  • Don S

    tODD @ 32: Huh? Where’d that come from? McCain got brow-beaten by Paulson, Reid, Pelosi, et al. to get back to D.C. and help get Republicans on board for this bail-out. The terminology used created a dire picture for the economy if the deal wasn’t done ASAP. Warren Buffett, Obama’s prominent supporter and financial guru, “called the $700 billion U.S. bailout plan ‘absolutely necessary’ to help pull the financial system out of an ‘economic Pearl Harbor’.” (New York Post, 9/24/08).

    I don’t know if all of these dire warnings are justified or not, and I suspect McCain doesn’t either, but for whatever reason, he thought responding to the call to assist on this issue of dire importance was something he was obligated to do, as an American, a sitting Senator, and the Republican standard-bearer. Seems reasonable to me. I see healthy skepticism on the part of many McCain supporters on this thread, but also a willingness to at least see how it plays out before condemning him for, … well, … not getting all of his ads pulled within an hour of saying he was going to “suspend” his campaign. Maybe not equivalent to “murder”, wouldn’t you agree?.

    On the other hand, for Obama, it’s politics as usual. He’s crammed for three days on all of this foreign policy stuff, and it’d be a shame if he had to wait until next week when he might’ve forgotten a lot of it again. And, gee, it sure isn’t fair if, while he’s running his campaign full bore, he still has to occasionally hear about that Palin gal out on the trail, and see a McCain ad once in a while.

    Rather than worrying about what McCain is or isn’t doing, if I were you or Sam I’d be wondering why my guy doesn’t think he’s needed or wanted in D.C. during a crisis which is consuming 100% of the entire government’s attention, and whether his priorities are in order.

  • Anon

    I would have thought it obvious that what McCain meant is that he is suspending -his- campaigning, including the debate, putting resolving this crisis first in priority.

    But politics in this country seems to be getting dangerously close to riots in the streets, so I suppose any lie will do.

  • Don (@34), come on — it (@32) was hyperbole, as well as an attempt at humorous snark. The point was that some here seem ready to defend any nutty stunt McCain comes up with (I’d guess because he’s the Republican candidate). Would that I had a time machine and could go back to last week and ask his fans what they would think of Obama calling for a suspension of the campaigns until this crisis were solved. Do you think the McCain fans would say Obama would sound “wise”? “Proper and gutsy”? “Courageous”? Would they laud Obama’s call as “a presidential move”? Please.

    And “McCain got brow-beaten by Paulson, Reid, Pelosi, et al. to get back to D.C. and help get Republicans on board for this bail-out”? I didn’t read that! I’d love a source for the Reid and Pelosi claim, at the least.

    My understanding (which is weak — like McCain, I admit I do not have a great grasp of economics) is that this was largely in the hands of the banking committee in the Senate (where Obama and McCain nominally work, right?). Am I wrong?

    Anyhow, we’re just trading partisan talking points (or at least completely predictable, biased readings) at this point, but if you’re going to knock Obama for not wanting to waste his foreign policy prep time, then I’ll point out how convenient it is for McCain to want to skip the debate (maybe he didn’t get enough prep time), and even more convenient for him to want to reschedule it at the time when the VP debate was going to be. Perhaps the VP debate can be rescheduled for November 5th? 🙂

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Isn’t that a weak argument, and one made for the sake of argument alone, suppositions about how we’d have reacted if something that didn’t happen had happened?
    Is that all you’ve got?
    How is McCain’s action merely a nutty stunt? Sec. Paulson asked him to get on board, Sen. Reid thought (on second thought, or third) both ought to return to work, and House Republicans gave him a standing ovation.
    Apparently,members of his own party put lots of stock in what he has to say and in his ability to get things done. In his leadership; especially apparently House Republicans, who’re balking at Paulson’s plan and cobbling one of their own. (They risk, I read, scuttling the deal, perhaps to our detriment, if their plan isn’t considered. Sounds like a job for….John McCain)
    I think reacting to his return as if he’s a savior or white knight is over the top, but I haven’t really seen that reaction from anyone. Just that, as the major figure in the party right now, he and his political skills and might are crucial.
    So, dismissing it as a nutty stunt is pretty interesting, being as how Obama also went back to DC, is now planning on staying overnight, contrary to his original plans, and seems to want to be around for a final deal.
    As for nutty stunts, how about inviting yourself to Europe to make campaign speeches to non-voters, and getting admitted into the offices of vaunted ‘world leaders’ and having your photo taken with them, and going to visit troops in the hosp….oh nevermind.

  • Don S

    tODD @ 32: what makes you think McCain was engaging in a nutty stunt? Clearly this thing is THE ISSUE, acknowledged by both sides. Agreed that a lot of what we are all hearing now is partisan spin, but there is no compelling reason to doubt McCain’s statement explaining his reasons for returning to D.C. There is also no compelling reason to think that McCain would shy away from a foreign policy debate with Obama. He would be standing on his home turf in that arena — he knows it cold. It is Obama who turned down the invitation for a series of townhall meetings.

    I’m pretty sure, as well, that the campaign will be glad to move ahead with the VP debate. Biden’s a gaffe-a-matic and we will look forward to hearing yarns about President Roosevelt on TV in 1929 and how we don’t want any of that clean coal in PA, OH, and WV! 🙂

  • Susan (@37), and Don (@38), I’d still like answers to my requests/questions (@36), notably those in the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs. Anyone?

    First of all, I call this a “stunt” because his request to suspend the campaigns has little to no bearing whatsoever on his claimed need to be in D.C. Even if we assume for the sake of argument that McCain is uniquely a leader of presidential caliber, the only one who can save Congress from itself, who is so desperately needed in this time of crisis, this darkest hour when The Maverick, his arms clad in the purest shimmering samite, will hold aloft His Proposal from the bosom of the Tidal Basin, signifying by Divine Providence that … wait, where was I going with this? Oh yeah.

    Anyhow, even if we assume all that hoo-hah, why do ads have to stop running? Why do campaigns have to be suspended by all the other campaign members? And why doesn’t McCain seem to have done a very good job of suspending his campaign — even if you ignore the TV ad issue — if it’s so very, very important? Do ads running on TV somehow distract McCain from Acting Presidential … er, I mean coming up with a solution?

    Susan, you said, “I think reacting to his return as if he’s a savior or white knight is over the top.” Well, of course — that’s the sort of thing only Democrats should be accused of! He’s no savior, it’s just that he’s The Only Person Who Is Truly Needed Right Now in D.C. To Help Save Everyone Because No One Else Takes Action Like Him.

    Also: “As for nutty stunts, how about inviting yourself to Europe to … [etc., etc.]” Just wondering: Have you ever responded to a criticism of McCain from a non-Republican with anything other than “Oh yeah? You think McCain is ____? Is not! But you know who is ____? Obama — that’s who!” Feel free to point to where you did if I missed it.

    Anyhow, what, exactly, has McCain accomplished with his Not-a-Stunt? Let’s see:

    Both candidates made the rounds on network evening news programs after meeting on the crisis with President Bush and bipartisan congressional leaders at the White House. McCain did not participate in late-night negotiations on Capitol Hill but worked the phones from his Virginia home. A senior McCain official said McCain hasn’t signed on to any one proposal, though he does agree there needs to be a greater protection for taxpayers. … As McCain returned to Washington at midday, Democratic and Republican negotiators emerged from a closed-door meeting to report an agreement in principle. An Obama campaign official said the Illinois senator called into the meeting. McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said McCain didn’t participate, but held talks with Republican leaders afterward. [1]

    wow, thank goodness he’s in D.C. solving the criss, working the phones for his campaign and not participaing in negotiations! Of course, he doesn’t have to actually negotiate — the mere fact of his physical presence somewhere in D.c., and the aura of leadership that exudes from it, gives every good Republican girl and boy a sense of hope.

    “It was McCain who had urged Bush to call the White House meeting. … McCain spoke surprisingly little after asking for the meeting. [2]”

    “McCain, who dramatically announced Wednesday that he was suspending his campaign to deal with the economic crisis, stayed silent for most of the session and spoke only briefly to voice general principles for a rescue plan. … Neither Bush, McCain nor Obama have been deeply involved so far in this week’s scramble to hammer out a package.[3]”

    Look, if you can give me any evidence whatsoever that John McCain’s physical presence has achieved something, that he has taken the lead role in these negotiations, then I will reconsider my assertion that this is a stunt. But making impetuous decisions and pretending it’s leadership, all the while sitting in on meetings where your own party is rebelling against the idea of consensus* … how is that helping anyone except McCain and his flagging poll numbers?

    [1] “McCain-Obama debate prospects uncertain” by Liz Sidoti,, 9/25/2008, 11:44 PM
    [2] “Wild day, no deal” by David Rogers,, 9/25/08 11:58 PM
    [3] “Amid GOP revolt, bailout deal breaks down” by Jennifer Loven and Julie Hirschfeld Davis,, 9/24/2008, 11:58 PM
    * For the record, from what little I understand of the matter, I may actually side with the rebellious (and actually conservative) Republicans in this matter, not Bush and the “Let’s just pass something, no matter how stupid or expensive” Democrats. That doesn’t mean that McCain needs to “suspend” his campaign or be in D.C.

  • Anon

    Let us stop responding to Alinsky-style “thuggery” that the Obama campaign has been pushing, including on the blogs.

  • FW

    i don´t see the value in McCains declaration other than a political one. mcCain is not on the committees that will be deciding these things, he is not plugged into the senate and house internal debates so will be entering them midconversation. he will probably be more hindrance than help.

    the debates are at 9pm . both candidates have big planes to take them from miss to dc in about 3 hours when necessary.

    conclusion: grandstand.

  • Anon (@40), you realize you’re not actually not responding to me, you’re just responding in a passive-aggressive manner. As well as using a stilted tone, but hey, that’s your choice.

    And I’ve said it before, but I know you don’t read my posts (you just … respond to them?) so: I don’t work for the Obama campaign. I haven’t given any money to the Obama campaign. There is even a chance I won’t vote for Obama.

    I know it’s much more exciting to perceive me as some kind of pure evil you can brush aside with your high and mighty rhetoric, but I’m just a commenter like you. Oh, except I’ve been here several times longer than you have.

  • Don S

    tODD @ 39: I responded to you on today’s new thread. Susan has posted over there as well.