I’ve been listening to his economic speech in Independence, Missouri.
He has basically echoed Nancy Pelosi’s line that opposing the bailout is unpatriotic.
Here’s what he said:
We are square in the greatest financial crisis of our lifetimes. And I am pleased to report that today, I will be returning to the floor of the Senate to vote on a bill that marks a decisive step in the right direction. The original proposal was flawed. I urged additions of taxpayer protections, stronger oversight, limitations on executive compensation and more protections for people’s bank accounts. I am pleased that these are being added to improve the original bill. It took Congress a while, and there were costs to these delays. But they have awakened to the danger. And today, with the unity that this crisis demands, Congress will once again work to restore confidence and stability to the American economy.
There will be a time to fix the blame for all that has happened — especially in the case of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the abuses and political deal-making that corrupted those institutions. But our duty right now is to fix the problem, and that is the business that will shortly take me back to Washington. Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. Now, with this measure, we have another chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.
If the financial rescue bill fails in Congress yet again, the present crisis will turn into a disaster. As credit disappears, students will no longer be able to get loans for college, and families looking for a new home will be unable to get a loan. New car sales will come to a halt. Businesses will have difficulty securing credit for operations and may be unable to pay employees. If we fail to act, the gears of our economy will grind to a halt.
This is a moment of great testing. At such moments, there are those on both sides of this debate who will act on principle. Of course, there are always some who think first of their own interests, who calculate their own advantage instead of rushing to the aid of their country. But in the case of this bill, I am confident there are enough people of good will in both parties to help see America through this crisis. And when the last vote is cast, we can be grateful to all of them — Democrats and Republicans alike — for helping to solve the crisis instead of merely exploiting it.
McCain has made his battle against earmarks the hallmark of his campaign. He couldn’t stop talking about them for the first half of the last week’s first presidential debate.
The Senate bill is stuffed with earmarks to grease its passage. I repeat:
- Film and Television Productions (Sec. 502)
- Wooden Arrows designed for use by children (Sec. 503)
- 6 page package of earmarks for litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident, Alaska (Sec. 504)
Tax earmark “extenders” in the bailout bill.
- Virgin Island and Puerto Rican Rum (Section 308)
- American Samoa (Sec. 309)
- Mine Rescue Teams (Sec. 310)
- Mine Safety Equipment (Sec. 311)
- Domestic Production Activities in Puerto Rico (Sec. 312)
- Indian Tribes (Sec. 314, 315)
- Railroads (Sec. 316)
- Auto Racing Tracks (317)
- District of Columbia (Sec. 322)
- Wool Research (Sec. 325)
McCain supports them all.
Business as usual.
No earmark left behind.
I’m willing to be persuaded of the merits of a bill for “wool research”, or the merits of a billion-trillion-gazillion-dollar bill to save the planet from economic meltdown. But the same piece of legislation cannot plausibly contain both.
I suppose sophisticated insiders would assure me that regrettably there’s no possibility of earmark reform; this is just the price of doing business in Washington. But that’s why non-sophisticated non-insiders hold the political class in contempt. The same blowhards who run for office on a platform of lowering ocean levels and healing the planet then turn around and insist they’re unable to do anything about the one small area of human endeavor for which they bear sole responsibility.
If this is an emergency, hold the wool research. If it’s an emergency that’s got time for wool research, let’s chew it over for another few months.
Update 11:22am Eastern. Obama’s giving almost the same exact speech as McCain. We must act, greed and irresponsibility, can’t do nothing, we’ll protect the American taxpayer, etc., etc., etc.
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