Barack Obama on the Economy

Candidate Obama addresses what’s happened in the last few days. Every time I hear him speak, I think this guy is the most presidential guy I’ve seen in years.

Does Barack need to suspend the campaign and return home? Here’s an astute analysis from metafilter:

This is entirely needless. Yes, they’re both Senators, but that doesn’t put them on any sort of level at which they ought to be meeting with the sitting President as a pair on this issue. Nor should they be able to do that as candidates. And despite both being Senators, neither of them are on the Senate Banking Committee. Nor is either on on the Joint Economic Committee, from which the eventual bicameral bailout bill is expected to emerge.

As Senators, they have only three roles in this crisis: 1) to vote on the eventual bill, and 2) to negotiate with their networks within the Senate on the content of the bill, and 3) to speak publicly in support of their vision for the bill. Only one of those roles (1) requires presence in Washington, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to be happening Friday night. Congress was scheduled to end its session Friday – they may have to go into special session, in which case Friday evening won’t be when things get resolved anyway (that would be insanely optimistic!) The other two Senatorial functions can be fulfilled – indeed, perhaps best are fulfilled – by communicating from the road, privately and to the public and the press.

I am not sure I respect the judgement of a candidate who is so ready to go into panic mode over a crisis that he doesn’t really even have much power to direct at this moment. We’re six weeks away from electing one of these two men President. I think that the debates are actually a much more important way for them to spend their time than meddling in a process which is already well under way and doesn’t require special Candidate Magic to move forward. It will be easy for them to fulfill their rather limited (at this moment) Senatorial responsibilities while still campaigning, as sitting Congresspeople usually do. The choice of who will be leading us through the aftermath of this crisis over the next 4-8 years is a bit more important to me than watching them showboat right now. Put in your two cents, stay out of the way, vote when you’re called to, and stay accountable to the American people whose votes you’re asking for. Anything else looks like grandstanding and evasion. No other way to read it.

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