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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Who Was That Masked Man?

As we continue to await news of the latest round of negotiations on the financial bailout, John McCain has already taken credit for saving the day, and is now unsuspending his campaign and headed to Oxford, MS, for the presidential debate he tried to delay.
The evidence his campaign offers for this astonishing claim is that House Republicans are now represented in the negotiations.
Since said House Republicans object to the basic structure of the agreement reached yesterday by a bipartisan group of House and Senate banking committee members, it’s a little strange to suggest that enabling them to blackmail their way into the negotiations represented some sort of breakthrough. And if they somehow do succeed in driving the “deal” in their favored direction of capital gains cuts and deregulation, and away from Democratic demands that taxpayers secure an equity position in bailed-out companies, along with limits on executive pay, then you can confidently expect a revolt among congressional Democrats that will be larger and more significant than the McCain-assisted hissy fit from the Right yesterday.
Any way you want to slice it, the idea that Washington is closer to a consensus deal than it was the moment John McCain suspended his campaign on Wednesday and went blundering into the bailout negotiations is ridiculous. McCain did indeed get his photo op, and probably got some brownie points from conservatives for implicitly backing their point of view. But it’s quite clear that people in Congress today are not watching him ride off in triumph and gratefully saying to each other: “Who was that masked man?” More likely, they’re happy to see the back of him.

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