Interesting headlines today in the news.
I especially note that last one.
"But remember, this is an incredibly difficult time that we’re in," Mr. McCain then added, according to Mr. Graham. "Don’t go too far."
The double-edged message reflects the delicate balancing act that Mr. McCain appears to be attempting as he addresses a Wall Street bailout package that has aroused deep divisions within his party and fierce public skepticism. After casting himself as a leader who could broker an end to the financial crisis, Mr. McCain faced intense questions on Friday about what, if anything, he had done to move the negotiations forward, having returned to Washington only to see a tentative deal collapse.
Mr. McCain did not explicitly side with the House Republicans who derailed the deal on Thursday. But neither did he discourage them, nor put forth his own bailout plan, nor endorse the White House proposal to have the government buy up distressed mortgage assets from faltering Wall Street firms. But by keeping his views to himself, Mr. McCain kept the House revolt alive, a move that infuriated the White House and Congressional Democrats, but one that did bring him accolades from House Republicans, who say Mr. McCain at least helped get their voices heard
House Republicans, unable to tie things in knots the way their GOP Senate colleagues (hello, Tom Coburn) can, have been chafing at the bit since 2006. Being House Republicans and not completely in touch with reality, they ignore the issues that got them thrown out of power, and in their fantasies they like to pretend it's 1995, they're about to shut down the government and this time, they'll win.
So, the definition of "leadership" according to McCain is placate the wingers (that's why McCain will never win on being the "change" candidate - what else is new?) Of course, McCain didn't even do that, because after making negotiations infinitely more rancorous and complex, McCain skipped town to go to Oxford, MS, where he could on stage announce
LEHRER: Are you going to vote for the plan, Senator McCain?
MCCAIN: I -- I hope so. And I...
LEHRER: As a United States senator...
LEHRER: ... you're going to vote for the plan?
All the phony populist posturing means that in the end, conservatives in the House get shafted, and once again McCain stands cheek to cheek with the unpopular Bush. Apparently, everyone dislikes House Republicans except House Republicans.
However, McCain was willing to throw them this bone:
MCCAIN: How about a spending freeze on everything but defense, veteran affairs and entitlement programs.
LEHRER: Spending freeze?
MCCAIN: I think we ought to seriously consider with the exceptions the caring of veterans national defense and several other vital issues.
LEHRER: Would you go for that?
OBAMA: The problem with a spending freeze is you're using a hatchet where you need a scalpel. There are some programs that are very important that are under funded. I went to increase early childhood education and the notion that we should freeze that when there may be, for example, this Medicare subsidy doesn't make sense.
Spending freeze? Back to 1995, and again the reminder that House Republicans were the loser on that exchange.
The question, nonetheless, comes up in stark terms. What happens to the Republican party when McCain loses? What happens when Bush is gone? How do the Wall Street Republicans and the Main Street Republicans act in concert on the bailout, and how do they react to the coming rejection of Sarah Palin as a viable candidate (McCain brought her up from the minors way too early, and ruined her career because of it?) How do the social conservatives react to losing? How does the business wing react to the social conservatives losing?
The anger with McCain will be palpable because McCain and House Republicans stand for different principles. House Republicans are ideology over country (and McCain is winning over everything), and I cannot imagine this is all going to go down well for any of them when this is all over.