Megan McArdle writes:
There is, as far as I can see, no actual harm in postponing campaigning, or the debates; we can just as easily learn McCain’s terrifying plans for the country next week.
On second thought, postponing the debates may not be the biggest problem with the proposed timeout. But consider the political situation McCain has put himself in. He has, in effect, committed himself to getting something done as soon as possible. Can you imagine McCain suspending his campaign only to announce that there won’t be a bailout, or that Congress needs more time to evaluate its options? Of course not, which means the resulting legislation will feature minimal oversight, lots of really bad compromises, and a possible carte blanche for the Treasury Department. Granted, silly legislative compromises are the sort of thing McCain specializes in, but can we really afford his approach to our current financial mess?
What’s worse, McCain won’t be politically penalized for urging rash action. He’s already providing political cover for Republicans skeptical of the proposed bailout, and at this point, any solution will probably reassure nervous investors (at least temporarily). By the time we begin to feel the unintended consequences of a poorly-conceived bailout, McCain will already be installed in the White House, which is probably the only carefully considered after-effect of the campaign’s decision to suspend operations.