24, Starring John McCain as Jack Bauer

John McCain’™s comments on the financial crisis in just over 24 hours reads like a Jack Bauer script, only less noble and with tortured positions instead of tortured terrorists. First he takes credit, then he doesn’™t, then he exhorts action, then he blames Obama for his own meddling. He’™s a comic book character, but can’™t figure out which one.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Well, by now we know John McCain is today’™s action hero, far more powerful than Chuck Norris or Mike Huckabee. Heck, I would compare him to Jack Bauer of 24, except Jack Bauer has friends and actually saves the day. They’™ve both got that scruffy look, and Jack Bauer has been tortured in the line of duty as well. Of course, they’™re both Mavericks, and they both get the babes.

But I digress. Today’™s feature consists of some quotes from the last 24 or 36 hours or so. Ergo the title of this post. I’™m still trying to figure out the coherence of these McCain quotes. The first comes on Sunday on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, with McCain claiming he was not acting the hero this past week, but that he is satisfied with the bailout package. From JohnMcCain.com:

Stephanopoulos: ‘œWhat role did you play? How were you helpful do you believe in the process?’

John McCain: ‘œI will let you and others be the judge of that. I did the best that I could. I came back because I wasn’™t going to phone it in. America is in a crisis of almost unprecedented proportions. I should be doing whatever little I can to help this process. I’™m a Teddy Roosevelt Republican. I got to get in the arena when America needs it, and if that judgment wants to be made whether I helped or hurt, I’™ll be glad to accept the judgment of history. But I’™m never going to not get engaged when the taxpayers and middle class of America are in danger of losing everything literally that they’™ve worked all their lives for. I’™m going to be out working on it. I won’™t claim a bit of credit, okay, if that makes them feel better. But I’™m going to be there working and trying to help solve this crisis. And I’™m proud of John Boehner and Roy Blunt and Adam Putnam and all of the guys and men and women, Marsha Blackburn and others who in the House of Representatives stood up and got into these negotiations and became part of the solution.’

Let’™s call that Noon yesterday, for the sake of argument. McCain boasts of his duty to his country, to be there trying as hard as he can, then he gets all humble and thanks all the other stalwart warriors he served with. Oh, and what’™s that ‘œif that makes them feel better’ thing if not petulence at not being recognized as the biggest hero since the Green Lantern?

This morning in Columbus, OH Mr. McCain was not so shy about taking a whole bunch of credit for the bailout package. He was talking at a rally, admired by his adoring fans. He was playing rock star instead of fielding softball questions on TV from George Stephanopoulos. Mr. McCain seems quite pleased with himself, taking a great deal of credit, along with his party, for the plan that will save the country. Of course, he gives Barack Obama zero credit. That’™s the way John McCain is, after all. He’™s a loner, much like Pee Wee Herman. From JohnMcCain.com.

We need reform in Washington and on Wall Street. When the financial crisis threatened the economic security of all Americans, I laid out principles to protect hardworking Americans. I believed that inaction was not an option.

I put my campaign on hold for a couple days last week to fight for a rescue plan that put you and your economic security first. I fought for a plan that protected taxpayers, homeowners, consumers and small business owners.

I went to Washington last week to make sure that the taxpayers of Ohio and across this great country were not left footing the bill for mistakes made on Wall Street and in Washington.

Some people have criticized my decision, but I will never, ever be a president who sits on the sidelines when this country faces a crisis. Some of you may have noticed, but it’™s not my style to simply ‘œphone it in.’

I am a Teddy Roosevelt Republican. I believe our leaders belong ‘œin the Arena’ when our country faces a challenge. I’™ve never been afraid of stepping in to solve problems for the American people, and I’™m not going to stop now.

Senator Obama took a very different approach to the crisis our country faced. At first he didn’™t want to get involved. Then he was ‘œmonitoring the situation.’ That’™s not leadership, that’™s watching from the sidelines.

So, later on Monday John McCain found out that his Action Comic personna didn’™t do a whole lot of good with the House of Representatives, at least. A whole bunch of his fellow Republicans disappointed him and decided to vote ‘œNo’ on that little bill Mr. McCain worked so very hard for. Sobered, John McCain, perhaps knowing he was on National television, gives a couple brief remarks in DesMoines. He doesn’™t blame his fellow Republicans, it seems, the ones in the House he gave cover to last Thursday. He doesn’™t even blame Barack Obama this time. Of course there is no responsibility to be laid at John McCain’™s own feet, either. He is both Teddy Roosevelt and Teddy Bear here. Here’™s those words, from JohnMcCain.com:

‘œI was hopeful that the improved rescue plan would have had the votes needed to pass because addressing a credit crisis is of vital importance to families, small businesses, and every working American who must be assured that their assets are safe and protected and that our economy will continue to function.

‘œToday, I’™ve spoken to the Federal Chairman Bernanke, Secretary Paulson, Congressional leaders and now it’™s time for all members of Congress to go back to the drawing board.

‘œI call on Congress to get back obviously immediately to address this crisis. Our leaders are expected to leave partisanship at the door and come to the table to solve our problems. Senator Obama and his allies in Congress infused unnecessary partisanship into the process. Now is not the time to fix the blame. It’™s time to fix the problem.

‘œI would hope that all our leaders, all of them, can put aside short-term political goals and do what’™s in the best interest of the American people. Thank you.’

If you read between those lines, you’™ll see that McCain thinks the guys who voted against this did so for political reasons. Watch carefully over the next few days to see if McCain doesn’™t blow his top, as his narrow and stilted morality leads him to accusing people of playing politics all the time, especially when people disagree with him. . . . politically. It’™s part of the blame game, subtle in this last quote, but ready to burdst out in a fit of temper, like the Incredible Hulk or something. Maybe Ahnold can give him lessons.

Finally, John McCain’™s people blame Barack Obama for a crisis he did not make, and one in which he did not promise to fix with his surper powers. Barack Obama merely caucused with his fellow members of conference, deferring to those elected to lead each party. When asked, Obama attended meetings, but Barack Obama did not use his laser vision to not read the proposal, as did John McCain, he did not leak to the press that he spent the day talking on the phone to the waiter down at the little Chinese restaurant, as did John McCain, and he did not suspend his campaign from a coat hanger at the Hays Adams Hotel, as did John McCain. Yes, John McCain thinks Barack Obama was at fault, even though it is John McCain’™s friends on the GOP side of the aisle who didn’™t vote for McCain’™s masterful plan. From Politico:

‘œFrom the minute John McCain suspended his campaign and arrived in Washington to address this crisis, he was attacked by the Democratic leadership: Senators Obama and Reid, Speaker Pelosi and others. Their partisan attacks were an effort to gain political advantage during a national economic crisis. By doing so, they put at risk the homes, livelihoods and savings of millions of American families.

‘œBarack Obama failed to lead, phoned it in, attacked John McCain, and refused to even say if he supported the final bill.

‘œJust before the vote, when the outcome was still in doubt, Speaker Pelosi gave a strongly worded partisan speech and poisoned the outcome.

‘œThis bill failed because Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country.’ ‘” McCain-Palin senior policy adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin.

There you go, four quotes in little over a 24 hour period. John McCain, like Jack Bauer, has solved his crisis. At first he didn’™t know who to blame for forcing him to put on his superhero costume, but by the end of the 24 hours, he knows to blame Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and those dreaded Democrats.

Time for McCain to step aside and let the real heros take the stage. I may not like the bailout package, but I’™m scared enough right now to want something. The one they voted on today directed the restructuring of mortgages in those mortgage backed bonds bought up by the Treasury. Beyond what this ‘œinvestment’ Mr. Paulson discusses for the taxpayers, I’™m thinking it is wise to renegotiate tens of thousands of loans that are headed towards default. If you buy them for 25 cents on the dollar, save half of two thirds of the loans, then sell those mortgage backed securites back for 40 cents on the dollar, that just might do the economy some good. Frankly, I don’™t care about the Golden Parachute stuff so much, just making sure people on the bottom get to keep their houses, while we also make sure to protect liquidity. Let’™s just make sure McCain isn’™t involved in any of this next attempt at passage of a bill.

Who are those real heros? The leaders of the House and Senate. McCain needs to let them do their job. And he needs to get a message and keep to it. Maybe John McCain needs to help in tutoring BatGirl on how to debate without speaking in tongues.

Monday, September 29th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

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