I hate to be such a downer, but let me announce this now: the election is officially over and Obama, who has never even been a contributing member of the economy, has won. I don’t like it, but McCain just lost his last chance to break away from Obama. One difference between the two is supposed to be that McCain is going to clean up Washington by cutting down on the pork while Obama is going to add another $1 trillion in entitlement spending to our already out of control deficit. So this economy issue came to a head last week and McCain suspended his campaign to go back to Washington and fix things. The maverick was gonna go straighten everything out. After leaving everyone in suspsense for a couple of days, he stepped up to bat in the first debate last Friday to make a statement on the issue. Instead of ridiculing the bailout plan and defending the taxpayer, he just mumbled something about how we have to work together to find a good solution. He tried to avoid the question of whether he was going to vote for it or not, but when pressed he just mumbled, “Surebut hey…we’ve gotta work together.” Obama must have been silently giving praise to Allah after hearing that incomprehensibly lame answer. Strike one for McCain.
He had another chance to come out against the bailout on Monday. People across the country are bombarding their senators and congressmen voicing opposition to the bailout while the Dems were whining that they needed to pass this bill right away and the Republicans were “blocking” it. Why not say hell yeah, that’s right! We will not vote for anything that screws the taxpayer and dependson the government to fix a problem that it caused in the first place! If you want it so badly and it’s so wonderful, you vote for it since you’re the majority party and useless Bush has already said he will sign it. Nope. Instead, McCain once again mumbled a statement about how he really hoped the bill passed. It didn’t. It was voted down in the house. So McCain suspended his campaign and went back to Washington….to do what, exactly? To push the conservative House Republicans down the stairs while they are standing on conservative principals? To mimick what Barack Obama is saying? And then he still can’t lead his own party to pass it and just goes back to campaigning? He looked like a fool. Strike two.
That brings us to today and the “new and improved” bailout plan. You know; the one that has multiplied from 3 pages to 451 like it’s a gremlin that Paulson & the Dems accidentaly spilled water on (though it was obviously not an accident). During the first debate, McCain hung his hat on his strong passion for fighting pork and earmarks in legislation. He also voiced a strong opposition to any bailout becoming a “Christmas Tree” loaded down with a little something for everyone to ensure passage. I believed him because he seemed to be speaking from the heart. He seemed like he was really pissed off about the whole process and would really do something about it. Today he called the new bill an improvement over the first one and stressed that the gears of our economy will grind to a halt if it does not. He also voted for it earlier this evening, as did Obama. Now let me draw your attention to Sec. 503 of the Super X-Treme Awesome Pt. 2 Wall Street Bailout:
“Excise Tax Exemption for Wooden Practice Arrows Used by Children. Current law imposes an excise tax of 39 cents, adjusted for inflation, on the first sale by the manufacturer, producer, or importer of any shaft of a type used to produce certain types of arrows. This proposal would exempt from the excise tax any shaft consisting of all natural wood with no laminations or artificial means to enhance the spine of the shaft used in the manufacture of an arrow that measures 5/16 of an inch or less and is unsuited for use with a bow with a peak draw weight of 30 pounds or more. The proposal is effective for shafts first sold after the date of enactment. The estimated cost of the proposal is $2 million over ten years.”
Now if that’s not an ornament on the tree, I don’t know what is.
I don’t consider myself a political genius, but it seems to me that McCain has completely missed the clue train here. How hard would it have been to take this wooden arrow provision and just beat that thing to death? Come out and call shenanigans on this whole bill, pointing out some of the other choice pieces of pork along the way. Point out that while the country is in crisis, Congress still can’t help itself from adding financial BS into any piece of legislation that gets created. Point out that the House Republicans were right, and that he (McCain) will stand with them and urge all his other colleagues, Republican and Democrat, to do the same until they can pass a clean bill with no pork an earmarks in it. That is the sort of thing I would expect McCain to say based upon what he said he believes in, but he didn’t say it. He could have used this to stand out from Obama, but instead has been right in line along with him the whole way. He could have pointed out the string of Democrats that have their fingerprints all over this economic crisis, but instead just blamed Wall Street and the markets….kinda like Obama. To paraphrase Dick Morris, McCain goes down without even taking a swing. Strike three.