If anyone in the senate has shown an ability to pass legislation, it is John McCain.
Though McCain is politically dead, the myth of McCain lives on. As many observers noted during McCain’s self-important suspension, dropping in at the last minute to claim credit for legislation that had been hammered out by his colleagues is what McCain has done for most of his Senate career. His “ability to pass legislation” is the ability to latch himself opportunisitcally onto major legislation as a co-sponsor, let others negotiate the specifics and then mug for the cameras after the bill passes. It’s an ability of sorts, I grant you, but hardly one that should make us take his grandstanding over the bailout seriously. This is what he tried (and failed) to do with the immigration legislation last year, provoking his memorable clash with Sen. Cornyn, and it is what he hoped to do with the bailout.
Then Baker gets really carried away:
Were we to have a hall of fame for senators, McCain would be in it on the basis of his accomplishments.
What accomplishments? He has been a named co-sponsor for one high-profile bill that became law in the last eight years, but aside from McCain-Feingold, the (failed) McCain-Kennedy bill and the (failed) McCain-Lieberman bill can his admirers name all these accomplishments that rank him among the greatest Senators of all time? I am doubtful. Then again, who cares? He’s got experience! This is one of the things that has puzzled me the most about McCain backers who attack Obama for not having done anything in Washington–their candidate has been there six times as long and has scarcely accomplished much more.
Is it so strange for such a person to feel he needs to actually do his day job during a time of trouble?
What was stopping him from doing his job? Was there anything that he ended up doing that he could not have done without declaring that he has suspended his campaign? It was over a week and a half from the time Lehman declared bankruptcy until McCain’s “necessary” suspension and his antics about the presidential debate. He didn’t feel compelled to do his day job until a few days before the first debate, at which point it became imperative. The reasons seem clear: for the first week of the crisis, he was not yet sinking so dramatically in opinion polls and his running mate’s catastrophically bad interview had not yet aired. Only as he saw his campaign unraveling did he decide he needed to jump-start it with another stunt, except that this time it didn’t work.