I Guess Keeping Haley Barbour Happy…

Is more important than staving off total economic collapse.

Oh, sure, McCain might just have flip-flopped and decided to debate tonight when he realized his gambit had failed.

But I think something else happened. I think Mississippi governor and big-time GOP lobbyist Haley Barbour made it clear to McCain that he would be rather unhappy if the debate–in which Mississippi has already invested millions–didn’t go off as planned.

After all, McCain’s is the campaign run by and for big-time lobbyists. McCain would rather lose a debate and crash the economy than lose the goodwill of a lobbyist like Haley Barbour.

  1. JimWhite says:

    the debate–in which Mississippi has already invested millions

    It occurs to me, this being Mississippi and with Haley Barbour in charge, is anyone going to follow the money on this one? Could lead to some interesting places.

  2. CanuckStuckinMuck says:

    Your usual incisive commentary, EW. I wondered, myself, what McSame was (really) thinking when he suggested bailing on Barbour.

  3. BoxTurtle says:

    It wasn’t just Barbour, I’d bet. Lot of unhappyness at this stunt. The number of “leaks” of what McBush did and did NOT do at the table tells me that even Bush was peeved.

    Bush arraigned that meeting and invited McBush in response to DESPERATE pleas from the McBush campaign. And not only does McBush NOT back the president after this, he actually makes things worse. Tweedledum and Tweedledumber. *snicker*

    Boxturtle (Don’t think McBush will be invited back for awhile)

  4. FrankProbst says:

    I think it may be even more basic than that. I think that, even though McCain is well ahead of Obama in Mississippi (by about 10-15 points right now), a no-show would seriously hurt him there and might even cost him the state. Small states tend to take stunts like this personally, and Mississippi only has about 3 million people. It’s about as big as Iowa, and no one would pull a stunt like this on Iowa.

  5. Leen says:

    McCain has taken a beating the last week for his rash decisions. Folks on the left and the right(wrong) George Will, Matthews, Olberman, pundits galore have all been questioning his intentions and recent theatrics in D.C.

    This morning on the Senate floor Senator Schumer said McCain should “get out of town”

    Last night Howard Fineman said “instead of calming he (McCain) had inflamed the situation”

    On Countdown Chris Hayes from the Nation said the McCain campaign ‘was groping around in the dark” He went onto say that they had “wagered on the stupidity of the American voter” by choosing Palin. Ouch

    • FrankProbst says:

      He went onto say that they had “wagered on the stupidity of the American voter” by choosing Palin. Ouch

      In all fairness, that’s a wager that usually has pretty good odds. See 2004.

      • Leen says:

        I watched this twisted strategy work really well in southern Ohio .

        Senator Feinstein just said that she has received 50,ooo emails and phone calls this week who stand against the bailout.


        The administration who has cried wolf so many times is being bit in the ass. The snake is devouring itself

  6. Leen says:

    I am sure Obama will deal with McCains flip flopping gracefully. How can he rub their noses in these rash decisions and flip flops without appearing haughty?

    Maybe Obama will say that he knows that McCain is deeply concerned about the economy that it is just a shame that he did not demonstrate this concern by voting against de regulation. Action not words.

    In a week we have watched these bailout demands go from “quickly” to people running from the effects of the decisions they made to deregulate years ago.

  7. JohnLopresti says:

    I agree about the lobbyist influence, and the regional political impetus driving McCain to face the camera. I think it is the Reagan-like gravitation toward anything that looked like a device for placing his image onto the airwaves live that has moved McCain to go on with this particular debate show. The timing with the headlong drive to create an exit strategy for the Bush administration given the current flux of patent disasters which are the Republican party heritage from the past seven+ years incents McCain to loft the party standard once again with more muddled pronouncements. Where I would like the investment bank bailouts to go, rather than providing a McCainesque coverup for more Republican looting of the future economy, is to an opportunity for Barack Obama to fuse vision of humane foreign policy to restructuring of oversight of both Wall Street and international investment entities. That is to say, World Bank, IMF, OECD, IADB, the African Development Bank and similar entities all are familiar with obligate ‘transparencies’, also called pursestrings, attached to foreign aid. The current $700. BBN USD bailout needs to correlate with a fairer foreign policy, no more clearcutting third country forests to create mines or to create plantations for palm oil. As I take somewhat of a unitarist view of political theory, broadly, I would add to these gentlings of environmental impacts abroad a new globally shared look at population growth. Gone are the times when parrochial interests could obfuscate their polemical ways through the economics of over-population. As this comment draws yet farther offTopic filaments into the thread, it subsides Real Soon Now. In the northern coast of South America is the former British colony of Guyana. Consider these two articles about occurrences in the Arau River watershed in 2008 bearing images of mining industry purchasing leases, then crudely ignoring riparian protections in the fever to extract gold, diamonds, and other minerals. After all, it is our strong investment banks and their international assistance and development fund counterparts who underwrite many of the destructive escapades of the genre of the ongong Arau goldrush.

    I expect some interesting opportunities for the candidates to show leadership, and one to walk away the natural voice of a new way of problem resolution in the encounter at this evening’s event. One of the keys to victory in 1960’s then unprecedented debates likely was their formality and brevity. Three such debates are enough to reveal the strengths and deficits of the actors.

  8. behindthefall says:

    Somebody better be on the lookout for fake unrest attributed to scary “people of color” tonight on national teevee. I don’t know about everybody else, but to me this stinks from the start. Watch out, Obama!

    • acquarius74 says:

      I think you are right about possible “fake unrest” in Oxford tonight. I truly hope it all goes off without trouble.

      The South has greatly evolved since emancipation, but for the attitudes of some there has been no progress. For them there is only one way to defeat an opponent.

      I hope security is very alert tonight – – and I hope “security” itself is not a problem, i.e. Ambassador Hotel with RFK.

  9. Leen says:

    Senator Feinstein is giving a great rap on the Senate floor “funding should come in phases, transparency is critical, oversight, accountability, taxpayers protected, weekly oversight” “no hidden deals, close the loop holes, comprehensive oversight”

    It is just too bad Feinstein did not demand those same accountability standards in regard to private Iraq war contracts.

  10. chrisc says:

    If the voters were rational, they might consider what could happen if McCrankshaft got in one of his petulant mavericky moods and pressed “THE BUTTON.” His unblinking sidekick would certainly not stop him. Even a bunch of lobbyists couldn’t unpress the button.

    • skdadl says:

      That could be a factor tonight too. After these last three days (at least) of scurrying about irrationally, McCain has to be stressed out. I’d think that the temper is very close to the surface about now.

      Not that I’m suggesting anyone provoke him by being super-cool, of course. There’s great value in showing some passion.

  11. brendanx says:

    I find it impossible to believe Democrats would retreat and start over to craft a “comprimise” with Republican pseudo-proposals as a negotiating point of departure. But they are Democrats. Please don’t let them squander the position of strength McCain’s buffoonery leaves them in. Obama has to emerge to hold McCain and his renegade band of “free market” fundamentalists up to ridicule and sweep them from the stage.

    This is from a very guileless Karen Tumulty:

    Here’s what I think: If the plan that passes looks pretty much like the deal that was announced yesterday, then McCain probably got in the way.

    On the other hand, if a plan passes that includes signficant features of the Cantor/House Republican plan (especially this insurance feature), and if it ends up having truly bipartisan support in the House, then McCain deserves some credit.

  12. randiego says:

    I know this is off topic, but sweet jesus the Democratic leadership is incompetent.

    They should be dictating terms on this thing. They shouldn’t have moved a muscle until the Republicans came to them. At the very least some messaging that the cause of the crisis is Republican deregulation policy. Is that too much to ask? Some message control?

    It REALLY feels like we are on the wrong side of this and we’re getting our asses kicked. How many times will this pathetic chicken little act work on them? How many times does it take to learn the game?

    Now, to save their precious “deal”, they are going to have to accept terms instead of dictating them.

    The Republicans are playing power politics and we’re trying to be “bipartisan”. Their fiscal policies are what caused this mess, but they get that nobody understands this thing and EVERYBODY is against it!

    In the end it doesn’t matter what we get in that deal because it will always be “The Deal to Bail Out Wall St. Tycoons”.

    Am I missing something?

    • brendanx says:

      Am I missing something? I don’t see it this way. I think now Democrats are closer to being in a position to dictate terms, and will hopefully be more so after the debate. The standard bearer for the renegade (the root of that word must be “renege”) Republicans is an erratic, lying old kook and punching bag for David Letterman. Republicans wanted to find a way to vote against this bill and reap the political gain. Now if they do so, the political upside is a lot less — if there even is an upside — because they don’t look serious. Not least of all, as the countours of the crisis emerge, reaching a bill will become increasingly more politically tolerable. It’s already become more palatable to humble me after hearing that there will some kind of installment plan.

  13. Leen says:

    I’ve been wondering when former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neil would come out and say something about this fiasco

    Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill said today that our nation’s leaders — especially President Bush — are “in a panic” and haven’t thought through the $700 billion bailout plan in a rush to pass it by the end of the week.

    Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill today told ABC News that President Bush doesn’t understand or “knows much about any of this” crisis “and it shows.”

    “I don’t think he understands or knows much about any of this and it shows,” O’Neill said, adding that current Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson “knows a lot of about this, and it’s good that he’s there.”

  14. Leen says:

    The Obama campaign needs to read the O’neil article

    “”We have spun ourselves into a position where intelligent people don’t believe they can tell the people the truth and still get elected, so they pander,” he added. “One can only hope that they understand the difference between campaigning and governing, and that their governing will be better than what their campaign said.”

    “Instead, O’Neill would like for the government to calculate the present value of the mortgage-backed investments and then insure, rather than own, those assets.”


    Maybe they could ask O/Neil to jump on as an Obama economic adviser, since the Bush administration threw him off the bus.

  15. BayStateLibrul says:

    Maybe, I have flip-floped, but I do believe we are in a severe crisis.
    I think the Dems have acted responsibly, especially Barney Frank.
    The chips are falling where they may.
    “It is, what it is” to quote MacNamee on the Clemens/Congressional inquiry.
    Let’s fix the problem and move on…
    History will judge.

  16. radiofreewill says:

    Tonight, Obama will be debating a man who is absolutely certain that He Knows what needs to be done to fix America.

    It’s not about Logical Assessment, Rational Decision Making and Using the Relevant Lessons of History – which is the approach We’ll see from Obama, tonight.

    John McCain knows – absolutely knows – what America needs to do in order to Fix Our Problems:

    – Do what John McCain says, not what he does
    – What John McCain says, goes
    – No Back-Talk

    Don’t expect McCain to Debate as an Equal based on the Merits of Rational Sensibility tonight – rather, he’ll more likely Assert his Dominance – as an animal would – and Stand On It as the ‘Price’ of his ‘Leadership.’

    So, let’s not forget – McCain’s vision doesn’t Include US.

    When he speaks, he’s talking to a 30% slice of America that Believes in Blindly Following a Father Figure – he’ll present as an All-Powerful Maverick Daddy speaking ‘at’ his potentially disobedient Children – and he won’t hesitate to use Fear and Intimidation to leverage his Points.

    The rest of US, the 70% majority of Rational and Sensible People, just need to remember that The Real Solution here is Ours – to Rally the Country to a Vision of Collective Effort that Overcomes Our Common Challenges.

    “Their way” – Authoritarianism – is broken, but it’s All They Know.

    It’s time for the Rest of US to move on and get started Repairing Our Country.

    Go Obama!

    • Hmmm says:

      On a daily basis I find myself listening to Mc or Caribou Barbie and saying out loud, “They got nuthin’.” More and more people can see that every day now. And there’s 39 days still to go. And fivethirtyeight.com already shows Obama polling at a corrected +4 as of today. So time’s on our side.

  17. alank says:

    When did presidential debates become high stakes gambles for the hosting municipalities. What sort of money is to be made from them. Is it like having the Olympic games in your hometown? Does the federal gov’t provide subsidies for building presidential debate auditoriums and installing podiums, and suchlike?

  18. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Well stated. Thx.

    Speaking of OT… I’m watching the Pres Debate, and find myself wondering whether McCain is going to make it to Nov. Weird thought, but man… speaking of OT (!) Yikies…