If there is a decided downturn today on Wall Street, John McCain owns it. It's his fault. Evidently, the market dropped 130 points in the first two minutes of trading, discouraged by Sen. McCain's race to put a monkey wrench into the agreement being worked out yesterday.
The Senator comes roaring back to Washington, crying, "I'll fix it! I'll fix it!" and then sits mute through the White House conference, offering precisely zero, while the House Republicans bail out of an agreement that Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, and the White House had basically agreed on (it was NOT the Paulson plan, which was dead as a doornail approximately 15 minutes after it was proposed).
Some House Republicans are apparently now comfortable taking the whole country down to prove a point: "According to one GOP lawmaker, some House Republicans are saying privately that they'd rather 'let the markets crash' than sign on to a massive bailout. 'For the sake of the altar of the free market system, do you accept a Great Depression?' the member asked."
Unless this is all just a giant fake-out meant to save John McCain's candidacy. Maybe it's all just a set-up so that today McCain could pretend to get the House Republicans in line, who were in line already all along but pretended otherwise. Now wouldn't that be something if McCain could ride triumphantly into Oxford, Mississippi, as the conquering hero who saved the American economy from complete collapse?
It was perfectly clear yesterday at the White House pow-wow that McCain had no plan of his own, other than grandstanding for the photo-ops. Meanwhile, the impression of the man as dangerously erratic sinks deeper into the American psyche.