Thursday, September 25, 2008

Be careful what you wish for

If you had talked to me in February or March about the Presidential race and the Primaries, I would have railed on that I was tired of promises and wanted to see action. The majority of the candidates on both sides were Senators. They could write legislation and get the ball rolling on all their campaign promises. Issues like healthcare and the national debt could begin to be resolved.

And then there was, what was even then referred to as, the housing crisis. I knew that it would either be resolved or beyond repair by the time any of these people reached the White House and even began working on it. I just couldn't get past the fact that this was a group of Senators. Each one (other than Romney and Giuliani, really) had the power to get the ball rolling. To actually do something.

But they wanted to be President. They needed to be able to make promises for a better future - but only with them as President. Not as Senator.

Now we're in a real crisis. It's true, I don't like to see all my tax dollars going to these large corporations. I'll never make the salaries of their mail room clerk, but it's my taxes saving them from their extravagancies. The unfortunate part is that if these companies aren't saved, we're all screwed. The only reason the market isn't still plummeting this week, the only thing keeping investment bankers from closing their savings accounts and opening a new account under their mattress or in the chimney is this bill in Washington. It's not perfect. CEOs would get millions of dollars as part of their severance packages. Save the companies, sure. Giving big wig bank guy a super comfortable retirement, I'm not very comfortable with. I'm not sure the bill will pass because of clauses like this one. But something similar needs to pass and soon.

And that brings us back to the election. McCain is "suspending" his campaign until something happens. Too little too late? Another ploy to keep his campaign at the top of the headlines? Is this a way to keep Palin away from the press? Or is he legitimately putting priorities in order? Country before self, and all that? This week his numbers have been dropping due to his response to the state of the economy. And the press is throwing a hissy fit because they can't get access to Palin. Have they forgotten how few questions Bush allows at his press conferences? Or the fact that they never get to see or talked to Cheney? The closest they get there is the guy who Cheney shot in the face will hold a press conference to apologize for getting in the way and then field some questions.

If he were suspending his campaign but still attending the debate, I'd be really impressed. Small rallies and fund raisers can be skipped in times of need. The debate is his platform to go head to head and say what his solution is. It's true. He's a Senator and even if he's only in Washington to vote, it's a step in the right direction. If he's in Washington to work out a more feasible solution, that's even better.

But here's the problem. I don't like McCain. I think his healthcare policies will make things worse, not better. And he was certainly part of the group that reduced regulation on businesses and got us in this pickle in the first place. I want to see Obama stop campaigning and go to Washington and do something. Maybe even actually vote. I think it's unfair for Obama to make the supposition that a President can multi-task and therefore simultaneously run for President and fix the economic crisis at hand. He's done very little during his time as a Senator other than run for President and his attendance record in committees and voting record on the floor are proof of this.

So in my ideal world, both candidates would get on a plane, go to Washington, and stay there - with the exception of the debate Friday night. Stop making promises and start doing things you already have the power to do. As US Senators, my taxes pay your salaries, and I don't want to pay you to campaign while I wonder if my bank account will still be there on Monday.

But seriously, I hope they hold the debate on Friday. Drinking, eating and yelling at the tv with friends is hard to top.

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