This was the moment for Obama to shine. President Bush threw out a plan that was little more than "Give Paulson $700b and stand back". Everyone in the country hated the plan because it threw money at the problem, not solutions. This was a moment that was ripe for a leader. All the Democrats had to do was compose a Democratic version of the bill that appealed to their base and the moderates, and stick Obama out in front of it. There are really smart Democratic economists; Robert Reich could come up with a better bailout than this. (N.B. After looking a bit, Robert Reich appears to have a blog, and he DID come up with a bailout plan that makes a lot of sense, even if he does like the more noxious idea of bankrupcy judges rewriting mortgages.) Then stick Obama in front of a
But no, Mr. Obama is AWOL. Neither Pelosi nor Reed will even mention his name, or get him involved in the action. I don't know if this is payback for defeating Clinton, or a strong measure of personal dislike, but they don't want him on that podium.
I don't have to post much about the Republican's inherent dislike of McCain. To quote the SNL skit (hat tip: Vox Day):
I have never supported President Bush. I have undermined President Bush, just ask any Republican! I have always been disloyal to this president, a disloyal, untrustworthy, unreliable renegade who has abandoned my party when it most needed me. The fact is, you simply can't count on John McCain. That's why on November 4th, the American people will elect me their next president.The best satire is 99.9% true. The House Republicans KNOW that McCain would sell them down the river in a moment, and are completely unwilling to put one ounce of trust in him.
If either major party had a candidate with one ounce of leadership, he would have taken over that debate and stepped in on this bill and taken over. Instead we have an old warrior politician who's burned too many bridges and a younger man who's never taken the time to make any.