John McCain made a speech on Monday September 22, 2008 anticipating the passage of the bailout bill in the House. He was claiming King Arthur status. In McCain’s mind, he had ridden in on his white stallion to craft a bailout bill which now would be his personal Excalibur to save the nation. To hear John McCain talk only he could pull the sword from the stone of capitol Hill and he had done it. McCain was a proud monarch – well, he said he did it, and he said it to the crowd with a royal flourish, but wait a minute there sire.
McCain encountered a little problem on his way to Camelot, the bill didn’t pass. McCain’s Excalibur turned out to be a Chinese toy, a lead-coated plastic Star Wars light saber with bad batteries. McCain’s speech slammed Obama for not rushing in on his horse and for staying on the “sidelines”, for “monitoring the situation”. Well not only did McCain’s Excalibur fail to bring in the Republican vote, it failed to bring even a single vote from his fellow politicians from Arizona, all of them voted NO.
Now the bill passed and it is well-fattened with pork that John McCain says he is so opposed to. McCain voted for the pork! Sou EEEE!!!!
Now McCain is blaming the delayed passage of the bill on Obama. He is saying that Obama didn’t ride in to pull the sword and so it’s his fault that the stock market is plummeting (big red raspberry delivered with this message).
McCain is trying his best to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. His cancelled campaign and his purported leadership among the House Republicans just plain fell flat on its face. It looked grandstand-ish and arrogant. I didn’t buy his delayed campaign to lead the Congress and apparently, neither did anyone in Congress. McCain’s Republicans had committed to get 50% of their members to vote for the bill and only got 40% while the Democrats got 60% of their commitment for 50%. Yet McCain in his wild campaign euphoria thinks he got the job done. He thinks that voting in favor of the earmarks attached to the bailout bill is OK, that it’s justified because the “alternative” was going to be draconian.
Problem is, the way the stock market has reacted to the bailout, I’m not sure how much worse the alternative could have been. I just don’t think McCain made any difference at all. What this mess displayed better than anything is the total impotence of the President to make changes alone. John McCain proclaims himself to be the independent Maverick, hated by Republican right, detested by the Democratic left, in the crisis he couldn’t bring together a coalition under his Excalibur sword. Nobody cares for John, they respect his military service and dislike his political service. The latter counts now, the former is history book material.