A thoughtful symposium presented on Culture11 features one AmSpec columnist (W. James Antle Forsyth Lauenbach Worthington XIV) and two regular contributors (Sonny Bunch, James Poulos). Have a read — it’s a good party mix of thoughts on the matter.
My views are a mix of Antle and Poulos, so I dub them Antlosian — historically informed and highly sardonic. Even though I think it’s a little earnest to say that Sen. McCain just absolutely has to be the guy to take the lead on this plan, it is true that he is currently more of a leader of his party than Chairman Bush can be. It also probably does look a little weak of McCain to call for a delay in the debate, but the news in the following days will cover the bailout plan and its drafting. Unless reporters want to write a very short story, they’re not going to have much to say about the debate before it happens. Meanwhile, it’s an opportunity for McCain to show something he is, in fact, good at: ushering a bill through Congress.
I do worry, as Antle does, that there may be too close an association between Bush and McCain once this bill is enacted. But there are ways McCain can easily avoid that association. He could also take the lead in opposing some tenets of the bailout plan, and look like he prevented something awful, or fixed something. In which case, John McCain and Barack Obama can refer to stuff they did over the last week. Obama will say, “I gave speeches.” McCain will say, “I pushed major legislation through Congress.”
Will conservatives like that legislation? Probably not. Is this a good thing, economically speaking? Nuh uh. Could it backfire if the legislation goes bad? Most definitely. Is this gamble mavericky enough for you? It’s almost too much.