Hoisted from Comments: The best comment on John McCain's campaign suspension that I have seen:
Neal: It's a tough job being a windsock in a tornado.
Secretary Paulson, the leaders of both houses, the chairs and ranking members of the relevant committess--all were on the same page and working toward a financial deal that Paulson and Bernanke, solid Republicans, say is needed now.
John McCain announces he is suspending his campaign, cancels on David Letterman, gets made-up for and does an interview with Katie Couric, goes and talks to the Clinton Global Initiatiive the following day, persuades Bush to call a meeting at the White House, gets to Washington DC in the afternoon, goes and talks to the House Republicans, goes to the meeting, sits in the back of the meeting and is evasive, and when the meeting breaks up, three things are clear:
- John McCain won't say what financial rescue packages he supports or opposes.
- George W. Bush won't say that support for Paulson is a test of Republican loyalty.
- The House Republican caucus doesn't support their leaders.
- The House Republican caucus doesn't have an alternative plan.
That's quite an accomplishment. It is hard to read it any other way than as John McCain rallying the House Republicans to blow up the bipartisan agreement that was being negotiated. The House Republicans don't want to do anything to hold CEOs accountable, to protect taxpayers, protect homeowners, or provide oversight. The Treasury rejected the not-quite-ideas they put forward at the White House meeting last week.
John McCain and the House Republicans blew up the deal because he doesn't want to debate Barack Obama tonight, and thinks that this is a way he can get out of having to do so.
We'll see if it can be put back together.