The Washington Post has a very interesting story on the bailout negotiations, and in particular on McCain’s role in those negotiations. There’s a lot there, but the main point is that McCain was instrumental in getting the negotiations to take House Republicans seriously:
It is unclear whether the day’s events will prove to be historically significant or a mere political sideshow. If the administration and lawmakers forge an agreement largely along the lines of the deal they had reached before McCain’s arrival Thursday, the tumult will have been a momentary speed bump. If the deal collapses, the recriminations spawned that day will be fierce.
But if a final deal incorporates House Republican principles while leaning most heavily on the accord between the administration, House Democrats and Senate Republicans, all sides will be able to claim some credit — even if the legislation is not popular with voters.
“If there is a deal with the House involved, it’s because of John McCain,” Graham, one of the Arizonan’s closest friends in the Senate, said yesterday.
If the rumors are true, things are moving in the direction of that optimistic third possibility. That will make for a much better bill, and McCain will be responsible for the improvement.
As for the politics, it’s interesting that both Democrats actually seem to be telling the truth about McCain’s role, at least from their own perspective. When Harry Reid blasted McCain for screwing up the negotiations, that wasn’t merely campaign-season blather. Reid was happy with the direction things were going, and when McCain step in, he forced everyone to back up and include House Republicans, thereby taking things in a somewhat more conservative direction. From Reid’s perspective, the negotiations had been screwed up.
I don’t know who will win the election, but John McCain has already done America a great service.
(Via Hot Air.)
AFTERTHOUGHT: Obviously we have to withhold judgement until we see the final result, but the political process actually seems to be working. I don’t care about the acrimony; that’s as old as the Republic, and we pay our representatives to deal with it. What matters is what the process produces. James Madison was right; the process of compromise between the President and four caucuses is making for a better bill. It makes me proud to be an American.
UPDATE (9/30): Never mind.