If ever there were a candidate who had the credibility to do something like this, it's John McCain. This is the man who supported The Surge when it was eminently unpopular to do so, because he felt he was putting his Country First.
Whether you agree wholeheartedly with the bailout or, like me, have doubts, you must believe that John McCain is suspending his campaign because he believes it is best for America.
UPDATE 4:31pm MDT: Barack Obama's response to John McCain was to say, essentially, 'I wanted to issue a joint statement with John McCain and he unilaterally decided to suspend his campaign and go back to DC to resolve the crisis. Presidents have to be able to chew gum & walk; I'm going to carry on campaigning and prepping for the debate.'
Of course Presidents have to be able to muti-task. But you better believe that if Pres. Bush were abroad, talking foreign policy, pundits would be calling for him to return and focus on the economic crisis. And they would be right. Whether he, personally, actually did anything about it, his attention to the crisis lends efforts to resolve it increased legitimacy and calms market and public fears.
UPDATE 4:55pm MDT: Yesterday, Harry Reid said that John McCain's support was the key to passing bailout legislation. Now, Reid says he doesn't need McCain's help. What's going on here?
In the first instance, Reid was trying to get political cover for legislation that may or may not work out. If it failed, disastrously, he could pin some or all of the blame on Republicans & John McCain.
Now that McCain has called his bluff and is going to get to work, Reid says, "stay away." Why? Pure politics. He's sticking up for his man Obama.
That's leadership, Democrat-style.
UPDATE 7:00pm MDT: Looks like Mr. Obama is going to Washington after all--at the invitation of President Bush.
I know how political junkies on both sides--McCain & Obama--view today's developments. What I don't know is how will the casual observer look at things? Events like these tend to break down into simple sentences in the larger election narrative--McCain went to Washington to fix the problem, Obama followed his lead OR McCain tried to play politics with the economic crisis.
How will today's page of the 2008 election picture-book read?
UPDATE 9:31pm MDT: McCain & Obama finally released that joint statement Obama was crying about in his press conference earlier in the day.
If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at email@example.com.