Washington solons seem convinced that a failure to act will result in the American marketplace seizing up. The Wall Street Journal editorial page -- which has long railed at bad business practices at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- has supported the Bush plan on the grounds that an influx of capital, deftly managed, could keep a "global panic" from devolving into a full-fledged economic crash. The American people deserve to hear that "despite 13 months of credit turmoil," the Journal editorialized, "our resilient economy is still standing; and that this $700 billion will be the best money Congress appropriates this year if it prevents a recession and crash."
Wednesday, McCain asked Obama to meet in Washington and agree to postpone Friday's scheduled presidential debate. Once again, McCain put the job of good governance ahead of pursuing his presidential campaign. Only after Bush asked Obama to come to Washington did Obama relent.
If a bailout package passes and the market rallies, McCain will be a hero. If there is no package and the market falters, Obama won't look so hot. If there is no package and the market does not falter, Obama wins -- as do American taxpayers. It is a breathtaking game of chicken -- on which the U.S. economy may or may not ride. Be it noted that in the thick of battle, Obama's idea of leadership was to refuse to postpone the scheduled Friday night debate. Until he could not say no, Obama's idea of leadership was to stay out of Washington, instead issuing a "joint statement" with McCain on what they'd like see in the package other leaders negotiate.