Did John McCain throw the election?
Is it just me, or was there a certain elegaic tone to the Republican presidential campaign, a McCain’s Last Hurrah narrative that precluded victory around the time the stock market took a dive? It was then that McCain signed a joint statement with his Democratic rival, urging lawmakers “to rise above politics for the good of the country” and give untold trillions to the Money Power because “we cannot risk economic catastrophe. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.”
If McCain had opposed the bailout, there might have been a different outcome to the election. The populist fervor that energized the Obama campaign might have been transferred to the GOP, and the anti-bailout sentiment that had no voice or champion could have catapulted McCain into the White House. At that point, however, the noble martyrdom of the steadfast patriot who rises above petty partisan politics takes over, and as always with McCain, persona trumps politics—or, rather, covers up the real politics at work here. With our lame-duck President just as eager as the Democrats to start shoveling cash into the corporate maw, McCain refused to take the one step that would have separated him from President Bush—and from Obama—in a dramatic way.
There were earlier signs, however,...