NY TIMES REPORTS 11:40AM Friday
Senator John McCain will attend tonight’s first presidential debate in Oxford, Miss.
Brian Rogers, the campaign spokesman, put out the following statement:
Senator McCain has spent the morning talking to members of the Administration, members of the Senate, and members of the House. He is optimistic that there has been significant progress toward a bipartisan agreement now that there is a framework for all parties to be represented in negotiations, including Representative Blunt as a designated negotiator for House Republicans. The McCain campaign is resuming all activities and the Senator will travel to the debate this afternoon. Following the debate, he will return to Washington to ensure that all voices and interests are represented in the final agreement, especially those of taxpayers and homeowners.
Mr. McCain had called for postponing the first debate and said he was suspending his campaign to return to Washington to deal with the nation’s financial crisis.
Senator Barack Obama, after completing a round of morning calls with congressional leaders, administration officials and his economic advisers in Washington, was heading to Mississippi for the debate.
Wee little bit of bar-lowering there.
"Significant progress," eh?
That's very funny coming from McCain who was essentially the guy who destroyed what progress was made during the past week. Now we learn the the old guard republicans don't care for Bush, and the new guard republicans don't care for McCain. Yeah, "significant progress" for America.
Almost everything that happens, or is said during a hotly contested Presidential campaign is open to question. The candidates are under incredible stress and their schedules leave them tired; not conditions conducive to making great decisions. Political partisans, being extremists to begin, become a school of pirana's in a feeding frenzy. The candidates love seeing their opponent attacked, and cry foul when the brickbats fall on themselves. Political advertising may be effective in swaying some, but seldom are they more realistic than a Cinderella tale. The competition is stiff and and the stakes between political philosophies makes these campaigns overly emotional, and so biased that virtually nothing can be taken as "true". Both Parties and all candidates are equally "to blame", though ultimately no one is without fault... especially us, the voters.
This campaign happens to be taking place during a national financial crisis. Partisans and politicians will be pointing their fingers at one another as responsible for the collapse of large financial institutions, but the fact of the matter is that the "meltdown" has been almost inevitable for a long time, and very few political or economic experts could see it coming. The root causes have been the shift from a culture of saving to a credit culture in the United States. Easy credit terms extended to almost any living being that can breath has been increasing for many decades. At one time, banks granted mortgages only to those who were good risks because failure to make the payments reduced the bank's bottom line. The "banks" took the risks, and were careful to keep the risks as low as possible.
We Americans have long associated home ownership and having a college education as cornerstones of a "successful life". Everyone is entitled to both, so financial institutions and colleges have gone out of their way to make the money available, and both political parties cheered on the changes in credit qualification. To make credit more easily available for mortgage lending, banks began selling their mortgages to large institutions to eliminate their personal risk. It was felt generally that the larger institutions spread the risks over a larger population, and like insurance companies, would reap great profits from the mortgage payments. Federally chartered institutions like Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae had the appearance of being guaranteed by the Federal government, even though that wasn't exactly so. For a long time the large financial institutions that bought up mortgages and traded them like stocks prospered greatly. Their greed and hunger for profits apparently led to their willingness to take ever greater risks while reducing their strategic reserves to cover any wide-spread loss. The bubble burst and a domino effect spread throughout the financial community as loans were called in. Credit between institutions dried up, as everyone scrambled to preserve their liquidity to stave off a general panic and run on their reserves. As titans crumble and collapse, the whole system is in danger of undermining what is fundamentally still a sound economy. "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself".
President Hoover dallied and refused to provide Federal "bailout" funds in the wake of the 1929 Wall Street Crash, and the nation joined in what was a world-wide depression. The Depression in wounded economies like Germany foreshadowed political collapse. Fascist and Communist street thugs battled to control governments and made promises to "fix" things. Withing the U.S., the Great Depression was made even worse as the Dust Bowl created by poor farming techniques that had been accepted practice since the mid-19th century. Banks foreclosed on small farms, and the displaced rural community joined the city dwellers thrown out of work as small business failed, just like the large businesses. The Great Depression, and the political dislocations associated with it made the mid-20th century a nightmare of suffering of almost unimaginable proportions.
Now we are again facing a financial crash that threatens every person in the United States, and indeed around the world. We might fail to act quickly and effectively, and again experience chaotic times. We might act quickly, and not only fail to avert the crisis, but make it even worse. Might not a $700 billion buy up of questionable loans spark inflation rates? We might do nothing, and by enduring the 2-20 year economic hardship emerge from it as a stronger, healthier world. We might "just let it crash" and things will turn out peachy-keen, but that's an improbable dream.
The decision on what to do about this crisis is doubtless one of the most serious challenges of today, and will predictably be a major issue during the next administration's 4-8 years in office. This is not a time for political posturing and campaign rhetoric that ultimately is forgotten. Neither McCain nor Obama are economic heavyweights, but as Party leaders and Senators of some influence, they can choose to either speechify, or become participants in the Congressional debates that are of far greater significance than a couple of hours on TV trying to impress the voters.
Was there a bit of political-campaign strategy in McCain's recent declaration that the first priority is a bipartisan agreement in Congress about what to do? I'm certain there were good campaign reasons for that decision, but this is the sort of "Country First" action that McCain has been famous/infamous for during the whole of his life. The first consideration is what he believes is best for the country, and if that might also work to his advantage great. Most often however, the risks of putting his patriotic values above personal well-being far outweigh any advantage that might also accrue.
Can somebody summarize what Ash said here? Thanks.
God, I hate politics.
Your god can't help you now! Bwahahahaha!!
"Truth is the first casualty of elections.
Times are difficult and have been so before.
Obama and McCain are unlikely to be much use in Washington, but should be in congress or the senate or wherever the hell they sit when they vote, and sitting and voting, not showing what they are made of in debate.
Ash seems to like McCain."
(Do these debates show what they are made of? They seem very contrived.)
dlowan, Thank you. I already knew Ash was a conservative.
As for Obama and McCain "should be in congress or the senate...," both have missed voting in congress and the senate before without much effect to the results. They are, after all, running for the presidency which has more "urgency." IMHO.
mccain used to be a very credible candidate to me. back in the day. but it just sort of made me sad the way he's disgraced himself in this election.
Me too. I remember when I actually believed the Straight Talk Express. ...
don't feel too bad, ducks. i believed kerry in 2004. doh!