Did McCain just kill a deal?

We don’t yet know what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader John Boehner, and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson decided during their meeting this afternoon. But if I had to guess, I would say that they were trying to come up with a compromise that gives everyone equal cover. This bailout bill is a political hot ...

We don't yet know what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader John Boehner, and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson decided during their meeting this afternoon. But if I had to guess, I would say that they were trying to come up with a compromise that gives everyone equal cover. This bailout bill is a political hot potato, and neither party wants to get burned.

Whether the bill passes or not, the U.S. economy is not about to roar back to life anytime soon. In fact, things may get worse before they get better. So, even if the legislation that ultimately passes is smart policy, whoever is seen as its "owner" in the public eye will be blamed as the economy continues to struggle. So the stakes are pretty high.

Which makes it all the more troubling that, in declaring his intention to come back to Washington and pitch in, John McCain may have just blown Pelosi and Boehner's negotiations to smithereens. What was already a politicized debate in Congress has just become fodder for the presidential campaigns, and it will be much harder to get a deal done. Discretion would have been the better part of valor here.

We don’t yet know what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader John Boehner, and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson decided during their meeting this afternoon. But if I had to guess, I would say that they were trying to come up with a compromise that gives everyone equal cover. This bailout bill is a political hot potato, and neither party wants to get burned.

Whether the bill passes or not, the U.S. economy is not about to roar back to life anytime soon. In fact, things may get worse before they get better. So, even if the legislation that ultimately passes is smart policy, whoever is seen as its "owner" in the public eye will be blamed as the economy continues to struggle. So the stakes are pretty high.

Which makes it all the more troubling that, in declaring his intention to come back to Washington and pitch in, John McCain may have just blown Pelosi and Boehner’s negotiations to smithereens. What was already a politicized debate in Congress has just become fodder for the presidential campaigns, and it will be much harder to get a deal done. Discretion would have been the better part of valor here.

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