Thursday, September 25, 2008

Insane in the highest reaches of the republic

I was watching MSNBC after 9 p.m. and thought I’d never seen such strange stuff happening, especially when the fate of the republic purportedly was in the balance – its economy, anyway. It was wrapped up by (new) anchor Rachel Maddow talking with the NBC congressional correspondent, Mike Viqueira, who started his report by exclaiming, “What an insane day!”

As a retired AP foreign correspondent, I’ve been in some dramatic news situations myself, though not recently, so maybe standards have changed since I lived through Anwar Sadat’s sudden decision to visit Jerusalem in 1977, or the weird experience of sitting in the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv in 1991 and watching on CNN as Saddam Hussein fired Scud missiles at Tel Aviv and their fiery tracks were shown live heading for me. Or seeing Soviet citizens selling the belts off their jeans around the formerly invulnerable Berlin Wall on the eve of German unification in 1990.

There is insane stuff in the world of public events, and we have to keep our calm in the face of it.

(Now MSNBC is showing Sarah Palin’s pathetic attempt to make living in Alaska into foreign policy experience. Heck, I have a lot more of that.)

Anyway, then I turned over to the online NY Times and found the following two paragraphs on top of their 10 p.m. current sitrep:

WASHINGTON — The day began with an agreement that Washington hoped would end the financial crisis that has gripped the nation. It dissolved into a verbal brawl in the Cabinet Room of the White House, urgent warnings from the president and pleas from a Treasury secretary who knelt before the House speaker and appealed for her support.

“If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down,” President Bush declared Thursday as he watched the $700 billion bailout package fall apart before his eyes, according to one person in the room.

So, hizzoner the President is worried that “this sucker could go down.” And the secretary of the treasury “knelt before the House speaker and appealed for her support.”

I see what Mike Viqueira is talking about. Insane.

Anyway, as to the debate scheduled for Friday night. In the larger scheme of things, the debate is a peanut in comparison to the financial fate of the republic. But I do think that John McCain has no chance of making a contribution to fixing the financial crisis, so it may be good to lure him away from Washington and skewer him thoroughly in a debate.

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