Whether you consider McCain’s recent campaign suspension statesmen-like or buffoonery, both sides seem to be in agreement that his actions, directly or indirectly, are to blame for the bailout’s plan downfall this evening:

Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the Senate banking committee, denounced the session as “a rescue plan for John McCain,” and proclaimed it a waste of precious hours that could have been spent negotiating.

And lest you think it’s just the Democrats crying foul-ball:

A top aide to Mr. Boehner said it was Democrats who had done the political posturing. The aide, Kevin Smith, said Republicans revolted, in part, because they were chafing at what they saw as an attempt by Democrats to jam through an agreement on the bailout early Thursday and deny Mr. McCain an opportunity to participate in the agreement.

How McCain, an “experienced” politician, could not have realized that his injection into the process would cause exactly this type of upheaval is beyond me.

Of course the Democrats were going to try and jam through the bill, in hopes of making McCain look useless and grand-standing.

Of course Republicans were going to stop that from happening.

His decision and announcement changed the political math on Capital Hill. No longer is it about whether a deal is brokered, but about who gets credit for it. He’s made the process more complicated by turning what should have been a series of principled compromises and lesser-evil agreements into a tug-of-war over who gets credit for it.

Neither side has room to back down now. If the Republicans agree to the plan as originally presented, McCain looks bad. If the Democrats cave to the Republican’s alternative plan, McCain looks good.

He’s turned the process away from the deal and towards himself.

And either he realized that and did not care, or he did not realize that and managed to serve for 26 years without learning anything about Washington.

Either way, I’m not impressed.


Obama puts it a bit more delicately than I did in his interview with Brit Hume:

When you inject presidential politics into delicate negotiations, sometimes it’s not helpful. The cameras change things.

Can I get a “Duh”?