One positive side-effect of the crisis: real journalism in my morning paper. In today's NYT there's the long-missed taste of some straight talk.
Look at the “News Analysis” article entitled In Bailout Vote, a Leadership Breakdown . No pussyfooting here from Jackie Calmes (with assists from several others):
The leaders of both parties failed, many analysts agreed, in bringing the measure to the House floor without knowing whether it had the votes to pass — a bad move at any time, but especially so in this case given the risk of the markets and the badly weakened financial system reacting badly.
As a study in his prospective leadership, the role of Mr. McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, has done him no political good. After suspending his campaign last week and vowing to work with Republicans until a resolution was in hand, Mr. McCain was campaigning in Ohio on Monday with his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, as the House vote commenced. There he implicitly took credit for the compromise bailout that Congressional leaders had negotiated over the weekend, even as it was going down to defeat.
On his plane before takeoff to Iowa, Mr. McCain spoke by phone with Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke. With no credit to claim in the bill’s defeat, he flew to Iowa without making a statement to reporters on board. In Iowa, he criticized Mr. Obama, his Democratic rival, before adding, “Now is not the time to fix blame.”
Even before the vote, House Republicans had trouble pointing to any contributions from Mr. McCain to their deliberations since late last week, when he and they forced the administration officials and Congressional leaders to reopen negotiations and alter the package to impose some safeguards for taxpayers’ billions.