Dems run away; McCain shows leadership

I’m sorry…my jaw is ON THE FLOOR at this headline:
Democratic Congress May Adjourn, Leave Crisis to Fed, Treasury

The Democratic-controlled Congress, acknowledging that it isn’t equipped to lead the way to a solution for the financial crisis and can’t agree on a path to follow, is likely to just get out of the way.

Lawmakers say they are unlikely to take action before, or to delay, their planned adjournments — Sept. 26 for the House of Representatives, a week later for the Senate. While they haven’t ruled out returning after the Nov. 4 elections, they would rather wait until next year unless Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, who are leading efforts to contain the crisis, call for help.

One reason, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday, is that “no one knows what to do” at the moment.

I suppose you might call it “admirable” of the Democrat leadership to admit they have no idea what to do about the economy just now; some might say, “well, if you’re not going to lead, get the hell out of the way!” But running away in fear of making a mistake does not exactly show leadership in a time of crisis. When the nation is in crisis, you don’t run away because things have become difficult. It sends a terrible message to the nation – “run, run! Save yourselves!” By Jesus, do these people not understand the absolute fundamentals of leadership?

If the Democrats have forgotten how to lead, then they need to look to NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani on 9/11, and pattern some leadership based upon how he responded to the challenges of that day. It’s the most basic lesson of leadership, but the one that matters the most: When there is a serious problem, you acknowledge the gravity of the situation, and then – even if you are discreetly looking for outside expertise to address the crisis – you STAY WHERE YOU ARE and you deal straight with the nation, and keep them apprised of the rescue and recovery operation. It’s okay to admit you don’t know anything…but you tell the nation, “we’re going to come through this, and we’ll be the stronger for it; we’re going to work together to make sure everything that needs seeing to is seen to. We are here; we know this is bad. Trust us to understand what you need. Yes, this is frightening for us, too, but we are here to lead; we will not abandon you.”

The Democrats are saying they can’t do that. They’re saying they have not the tools to lead. To obstruct, yes, to vilify, yes, to blame, yes…but not to actually lead us out of an economic ground zero. They’re admitting they can’t lead us out of the hole; they’re just running to make sure they can stay safe.

I am very glad to read Reid’s admission that “No one knows what to do”…except it’s not really true. I’m going to reprint the address John McCain just made today in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, today. Please read them in full. The man is showing leadership. He is not telling you “we don’t know what to do.” He is not telling you “there are no answers.” He’s telling you this is going to be hard, but we’re going to get through it. He is being Rudy Giuliani on 9/11. Read it. Let’s finally get serious, shall we?

And keep in mind that while John McCain is offering leadership, Barack Obama – who has a closeness to this economic crisis that is uncomfortable – is in Nevada telling people to “get in the faces” of other people about the election; he’s running such dishonest ads about McCain and illegal immigration that even the press has noticed. Obama could not get the AIG right yesterday; had Palin made his errors there would be sneers of “she’s not ready to lead.” But Obama blew it yesterday, and the press shrugged and smiled over it. Now, Obama is doing flip-flops.

Joe Biden, meanwhile was rallying for the higher taxes in a way that seemed a bit buffoonish to me. “Low taxes are unpatriotic!” Sigh. It may well take a tax increase somewhere to to fix this mess. But it seems to me cutting corporate taxes is the only way to save jobs at this point.

Here are McCain’s remarks (H/T Lorie Byrd) – if you care about what is happening today to our economy, put your personal leanings aside and read it.

ARLINGTON, VA — U.S. Senator John McCain delivered the following remarks in Cedar Rapids, IA, today:

I’m happy to be introduced by Governor Palin, but I can’t wait until I introduce her to Washington. Let me offer an advance warning to the big spending, greedy, do nothing, me first, country second crowd in Washington and on Wall Street: change is coming.

We need reform in Washington and on Wall Street. The financial markets are in crisis. Times are tough. Enormous strain is being put on working families and individuals in America. I know that the events unfolding can be difficult to understand for many Americans. The dominos that we have seen fall this week began with the corruption and manipulation of our home loan system. The reason this crisis started was the abuses that took place within our home loan agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and within our home loan system.

Two years ago I warned this Administration and Congress that regulations for our home loan agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, needed to be fixed.

But nothing was done.

Senator Obama talks a tough game on the financial markets but the facts tell a different story. He took more money from Fannie and Freddie than any Senator but the Democratic chairman of the committee that regulates them. He put Fannie Mae’s CEO who helped create this disaster in charge of finding his Vice President. Fannie’s former General Counsel is a senior advisor to his campaign. Whose side do you think he is on? When I pushed legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Senator Obama was silent. He didn’t lift a hand to avert this crisis. While the leaders of Fannie and Freddie were lining the pockets of his campaign, they were sowing the seeds of the financial crisis we see today and enriching themselves with millions of dollars in payments. That’s not change, that’s what’s broken in Washington.

There was no transparency into the books of Wall Street banks. Banks and brokers took on huge amounts of debt and they hid the riskiest investments. Mismanagement and greed became the operating standard while regulators were asleep at the switch.

The primary regulator of Wall Street, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) kept in place trading rules that let speculators and hedge funds turn our markets into a casino. They allowed naked short selling — which simply means that you can sell stock without ever owning it. They eliminated last year the uptick rule that has protected investors for 70 years. Speculators pounded the shares of even good companies into the ground.

The Chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the President and has betrayed the public’s trust. If I were President today, I would fire him.

We cannot wait any longer for more failures in our financial system. Structures like the resolution trust corporation that dealt with the failed savings and loan industry were designed to clean up the system and worked. Today we need a plan that doesn’t wait until the system fails. I am calling for the creation of the mortgage and financial institutions trust — the MFI. The priorities of this trust will be to work with the private sector and regulators to identify institutions that are weak and take remedies to strengthen them before they become insolvent. For troubled institutions this will provide an orderly process through which to identify bad loans and eventually sell them.

This will get the treasury and other financial regulatory authorities in a proactive position instead of reacting in a crisis mode to one situation after the other. The MFI will enhance investor and market confidence, benefit sound financial institutions, assist troubled institutions and protect our financial system, while minimizing taxpayer exposure. Tomorrow I will be talking in greater detail about the crisis facing our markets and what I will do as President to fix this crisis and get our economy moving again.

Senator Obama has never made the kind tough reform we need today. His idea of reform is what his party leaders in Congress order him to do. We tried for bipartisan ethics reform and he walked away from it because his bosses didn’t want real change. I know how to make the change that Senator Obama and this Congress is afraid of. I’ve fought both parties to shake up up Washington and I’m going to do it as President.

Those same Congressional leaders who give Senator Obama his marching orders are now saying that this mess isn’t their fault and they aren’t going to take any action on this crisis until after the election. Senator Obama’s own advisers are saying that crisis will benefit him politically. My friends, that is the kind of me-first, country-second politics that are broken in Washington. My opponent sees an economic crisis as a political opportunity instead of a time to lead. Senator Obama isn’t change, he’s part of the problem with Washington.

When AIG was bailed out, I didn’t like it, but I understood it needed to be done to protect hard working Americans with insurance policies and annuities. Senator Obama didn’t take a position. On the biggest issue of the day, he didn’t know what to think. He may not realize it, but you don’t get to vote present as President of the United States.

While Senator Obama and Congressional leaders don’t know what to think about the current crisis, we know what their plans are for the economy. Today Senator Obama’s running mate said that raising taxes is patriotic. Raising taxes in a tough economy isn’t patriotic. It’s not a badge of honor. It’s just dumb policy. The billions in tax increases that Senator Obama is proposing would kill even more jobs during tough economic times. I’m not going to let that happen.

I have seen tough times before. I know how to shake-up Wall Street and Washington. I will get this economy moving. I will lead us through this crisis by fighting for you, and when I am President we will be stronger than ever before.

McCain is not telling us to “get in” each others “faces.” He’s trying to lead, if we will let him. The Democrats have admitted they don’t WANT to lead on this issue. They’ve never wanted to do more than jeer from the upper chambers. And Sarah Palin – she may not be your cup of tea, but she clearly knows how to use the broom that has stymied Nancy Pelosi. I’m saying, let McCain lead. The Democrats don’t want to. Their cowardice is a disgrace.

Compare and Contrast: Obama’s response and McCains’s.

Ace Reminder: Yes, Bush did try to stave off this economic crisis in 2003 and the Dems blocked it. You could look it up. In the NY Times.

Also, if you want to look back on how we got here, read this piece from City Journal, (H/T Jonah Goldberg).

Also read this interesting email response that that article, by one of Goldberg’s readers.

It’s time, finally, to get serious. James Pethokoukis lists four ways to make things worse and turn a recession into a depression.

I’m not the only one whose jaw is on the floor at the Democrats turning tail and running away:
Obi’s Sister: Quotes a rock tune!
Kim Priestap at Wizbang has more thoughts
Treacher: Obama doesn’t like free speech.
Ace says McCain needs to cut this ad
Sarah Palin: talking REAL reform
Red State: Dems: Exit, Stage Left.
Snapped Shot: The UH-word cloud of Obama. But he’s much, much smarter than anyone else.

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About Elizabeth Scalia