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Monday, September 29, 2008

Blame for Bailout Plan Falls Mainly on McCain

Now that Congress has scuttled the revised Bush/Paulson bailout plan, can we all now agree that the blame for the failure falls squarely on McCain's shoulders?

Before you start tut-tutting me over this notion, consider the fact that McCain's top surrogates were all over the airwaves over the last several days giving the lion's share of the credit to McCain for ushering in an alleged bipartisan consensus. Here are some examples from Think Progress:

[T]his bill would not have been agreed to had it not been for John McCain. … But, you know, this is a bipartisan accomplishment, a bipartisan success. And if people want to get something done in Washington, they just watch John McCain.” — Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, 9/29/08

“Earlier in the week, when Senator McCain came back to Washington, there had been no deal reached. … What Senator McCain was able to do was to help bring all the parties to the table, including the House Republicans.” — Senior adviser Steve Schmidt, 9/28/08

“But here are the facts, and I’m not overselling anything. The fact is that the House Republicans were not in the mix at all. John didn’t phone this one in. He came and actually did something. … You can’t phone something like this in. Thank God John came back.” — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), 9/28/08

“Before John McCain suspended his campaign yesterday, the situation that we’re looking at today looked very different then. After he showed leadership and called for bipartisanship, for us to partisanship aside and tackle this solution head on, here we are.” — Spokesman Tucker Bounds, 9/25/08

Now that this supposed bipartisan consensus has failed in an epic and explosive way, isn't turnabout fair play?

If McCain and his surrogates want to go running around giving McCain credit for drumming up conservative support for the bailout plan, shouldn't they be required to also lay the blame on McCain for his failure to deliver the aforementioned support?

As Andrew Sullivan puts it:
If McCain is to receive, or at least claim, credit for a compromise is he now to blame for the failure of the compromise? Will he now abandon his newly found populism and go back to being the free market zealot that he once claimed to be given that the base of his party has spoken so loudly? In short - I think this puts John McCain in an even more difficult position. "His" compromise failed and now he must stay in Washington until this is resolved or admit that the suspension of his campaign was in fact nothing but a stunt!

Update: Even the ultra-conservative National Review sees dark clouds on McCain's failure/blame horizon:
Not that it's the most important fallout, but this vote is very bad for McCain. He was trying to get House Republicans on board, after all, and he failed. Blaming the Democrats for the failure will not and should not work, given the ratios on both sides.

Repeat after me: "The Blame Falls Mainly on McCain."