McCain Rejects Obama’s “Five Principles” for Bailout

The five principles were released along with the joint statement that Obama and McCain announced last night. But McCain refused to sign on to the principles, which are basically five caveats, or conditions, that any bailout must include:

Here are the five principles outline[d] by Obama:

First, there must be oversight. We should not hand over a blank check to the discretion of one man. We support an independent, bipartisan board to ensure accountability and complete transparency.

Second, we need to protect taxpayers. There should be a path for taxpayers to recover their money, and to turn a profit if Wall Street prospers.

Third, no Wall Street executive should profit from taxpayer dollars. This plan cannot be a welfare program for CEOs whose greed and irresponsibility has contributed to this crisis.

Fourth, we must help families who are struggling to stay in their homes. We cannot bail out Wall Street without helping millions of families facing foreclosure on Main Street.

Fifth, we both agree that this financial rescue package should move on its own without any earmarks or other measures. We have different views about the need for other action, but this must be a clean bill.

Interestingly, when President Bush addressed the nation just minutes later, he essentially agreed to the exact same set of principles in his own speech. So the question is: Why wouldn’t McCain agree to a fairly innocuous, Mom and apple pie set of conditions for a bill?

Political Insider points to fears that McCain is planning to vote against the bailout plan:

Democrats fear this morning that McCain is setting up a scenario in which he will vote against the bill, rally conservatives to his side and, most importantly, distance himself from both President Bush and Congress before the election.

Kevin Drum snarks: “But why would Democrats be so suspicious that they’re about to be double crossed? John McCain is too honorable a man to do that, isn’t he?”

The Anonymous Liberal doesn’t think it will go like that:

Reports are that negotiations on a compromise bailout package are very close to complete. If McCain swoops in at the last moment and unravels that compromise, the headlines will all read “McCain kills bailout package.” Given how unpopular the idea is, that may score McCain a day’s worth of good publicity. But when the stock market and credit markets react, it won’t be pretty and McCain will have a lot of explaining to do. Not only that, but McCain has based his campaign “suspension” on the claim that the financial crisis is so severe that he has to stop everything else he’s doing and fly to Washington immediately to deal with it. His running mate said on national television last night that we’re headed toward a second Great Depression if we don’t act now.

Given all that, how can McCain vote against a bailout, especially when doing so would likely derail the effort altogether? It doesn’t make sense to me.

This doesn’t make sense, either. (h/t Crooks and Liars.)

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