Sen. John McCain had intended to ride back into Washington Thursday as a leader who had put aside presidential politics to help broker a solution to the financial crisis. Instead he found himself in the midst of a remarkable partisan showdown, lacking a clear public message for how to bring it to an end.
The day’s events produced a lot of analysis and reaction.
Steve Kornacki writes in the New York Observer: “After a tentative bipartisan deal was announced, John McCain breathed new life into the House conservatives’ bailout opposition, and that fundamentally changed the nature of the White House meeting later on Thursday. When the meeting broke up, it was obvious that progress toward a resolution had dramatically regressed over the course of Thursday afternoon – a regression that coincided with McCain’s arrival in Washington and his insertion of himself into the negotiations.”
The Associated Press described the conservative Republican alternative to the Bush administration’s bailout proposal.
And William Kristol wondered about McCain’s choices now: Is there a third way?
Meanwhile, on Wall Street, the extraordinary government intervention continued Thursday: In what is by far the largest bank failure in U.S. history, federal regulators seized Washington Mutual Inc. and struck a deal to sell the bulk of its operations to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
Tonight’s debate, Dan Balz writes, will unavoidably be partly about the economy, probably from the first question, even though it was officially scheduled to focus on foreign policy. The AP reports that MCain will attend the debate.