China

September 25, 2008

Taking John McCain at his word he believes in a cycle of financial deregualtion, then crisis management.  He has been ardently opposed to regulation until last week and now he would like to implement what sounds like a patchwork crisis program of regulation.  When the crisis passes I guess we go back to deregulation.  (You would expect a guy his age to have more sympathy for the successful regulatory programs of the 1930’s.)

Anyway China appears to have lost confidence in American know-how.  It apparently is suspending making loans to U.S. banks. This I think is blowback from a presidential administration that without question is the most miserable failure in American history.  The bungling of the Iraq war and mishandling of foreign affairs over the last eight years has led to a well known international lack of confidence in the U.S.  Our inability to stem the fall of the dollar has led to international difficulties.

Finally our self inflicted financial crisis after deregulating the most irresponsible institutions cannot be confidence inducing among other nations.  For years countries engaged in commerce with us in their own self interest.  At this point self interest compells them to suspend such commerce.

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McCain is not Leading, He’s Dissembling

September 25, 2008

There is simply no rational basis for believing that McCain’s latest hijinks are performed in good faith.  McCain is trying to leverage his declining political position by grandstanding on the national economic crisis.

Yesterday Obama called McCain in the morning with a proposal to join together in a statement about the economy, a statement of unity in righting the course.  Six hours later McCain called back to agree on the concept, then less than an hour after that McCain announces that the campaign is suspended so that he can attend to the national crisis.  He says that he is telling the president to call a meeting.

Characteristically he did not check with anyone about this, at least apparently no one outside his campaign; he just made another snap decision. (After all the Sarah Pallin blind leap turned out favorably, that is until her first interview.)   No one seemed to know what to make of McCain’s latest wild gamble and there was widespread fear that he would set negotiations back by dragging the campaign into the middle on-going negotiations.

It is hard to imagine how McCain’s presence — with him desperately needing to seem presidential — could have a favorable influence on the week-long negotiations over the economy, particularly when absolutely no one views him as having expertise in the area and he has no leadership role in this arena.  How could it help but turn the discussion toward partisanship?  Harry Reid upon hearing McCain’s announcement told him not to come.

Two huge questions emerge from this puzzling behavior.  First, if McCain really believes in good faith that the presidential candidates ought to suspend their campaigns to devote attention to Washington D.C. business, why did he not mention this when he and Obama talked about Obama’s idea to issue a joint statement on the economy?  After all he was going to call a press conference right after hanging up.  The press conference was more like a slap in Obama’s face than an expression of willingness to work together toward a common goal.

Second, if the situation is one that cries for McCain’s presence in Washington, why had he not spoken to anyone in Washington about it?  You would have expected a leader to have covered the groundwork and to have established how he could help and what he would do in advance of a declaration that the campaign for the presidency was being suspended.  Instead everyone was caught by surprise and many urged him not to come to Washington.  This is a very unusual brand of leadership.

In this instance McCain seems to be willing to risk progress in the resolution of a bailout for a chance at regaining a lead in the polls.


McCain Seems to be Imploding

September 25, 2008

Letterman speaks for many people when he called into question McCain’s fitness for office.

David Letterman tells audience that McCain called him today to tell him he had to rush back to DC to deal with the economy.

Then in the middle of the taping Dave got word that McCain was, in fact just down the street being interviewed by Katie Couric. Dave even cut over to the live video of the interview, and said, “Hey Senator, can I give you a ride home?”

Earlier in the show, Dave kept saying, “You don’t suspend your campaign. This doesn’t smell right. This isn’t the way a tested hero behaves.” And he joked: “I think someone’s putting something in his metamucil.”

“He can’t run the campaign because the economy is cratering? Fine, put in your second string quarterback, Sara Palin. Where is she?”

“What are you going to do if you’re elected and things get tough? Suspend being president? We’ve got a guy like that now!”

Representative Barney Frank said about the campaign “suspension: “It’s the longest Hail Mary pass in the history of either football or Marys.”

The Wall Street Journal last week said:

In a crisis, voters want steady, calm leadership, not easy, misleading answers that will do nothing to help. Mr. McCain is sounding like a candidate searching for a political foil rather than a genuine solution.

His recent theatrics will only serve to fuel such concerns about his ability to lead, not to mention his judgment.

The Atlanta Constitution said:

This is a bizarre turn of events.

Neither McCain nor Barack Obama plays a critical role in the congressional process on this issue, so it’s hard to see why their presence in Washington would be so important. In fact, Congress and the administration have been moving toward resolution pretty quickly under the circumstances, with broad areas of agreement emerging on most of the major issues.

McCain’s announcement threatended to screw up progress in Congress as much as it throws the presidential campaign into turmoil.  McCain is recapturing the limelight but what is receiving scrutiny is his sanity.  This appears to be another ill considered judgment.