Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), last seen just yesterday thundering in Banking Committee hearings that there was no way Congress would come to terms with the White House and Cabinet on a bailout plan for Wall Street (“What they have sent to us, this is not acceptable!”), just executed an impressive about-face.
Sen. Dodd just announced that Democrats and Republicans in Congress had reached an “agreement in principle” on a bill to pass in the House and Senate and send to the President to sign. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) commented that “there really isn’t much of a deadlock to break.”
What a difference a day makes. Hot Air has more.
My own input below the break.
When John McCain suspended his campaign yesterday and called for postponement of the Friday debate, it was more than a calculated show of leadership (yes, Bill Clinton’s input notwithstanding, I still think it was calculated). It also signaled the beginning in earnest of his campaign against a dismally unpopular Democratic Congress. In bringing the presidential campaign back to the Capitol with him, he is turning a very unflattering spotlight on a Democratic majority which appears more interested in calling hearings for the purpose of grandstanding than making the necessary immediate progress toward stopping the current financial hemorrhaging on Wall Street.
With generic congressional ballot polls, once overwhelmingly in the Democrats’ favor, now fluctuating wildly (at times narrowing to gaps in the mid-single digits), the last thing the Democrats need is more bad publicity on the Hill. They could have kept the negotiations tied up to provide a favorable backdrop for Obama at the debate (sure, it’s supposed to be on foreign policy, but there’s no way they’d be able to keep a financial meltdown off the docket if nothing had changed). However, with McCain back there with them and his campaign press pool keeping them under scrutiny, their first political priority has changed radically: now their main concern is getting McCain out of there and back on the trail. Given the turnaround in the direction of negotiations since yesterday, I’d have to say it’s amazing how bad publicity can concentrate the mind.
As I write, the Dow Jones average is up roughly 250 points (after having fallen like a brick all week). Traders appear to think a deal is not only possible, but imminent. An “agreement in principle” leaves a lot yet to be hashed out, though; CBS says (via Hot Air) House Republicans are among the last holdouts. Still remains to be seen whether enough progress will be made by tomorrow evening for McCain to declare for himself a job well done and dash off south to Oxford for the debate.
In any case, I’m fairly impressed that due to McCain’s announcement yesterday, the best that Barack Obama and the Democrats can hope for politically from this crisis management is a wash.