Tuesday, 30 September 2008

The Republican meltdown

Yesterday's extraordinary vote by Congress against the rescue plan for the US finance system shows just how far removed the Republicans in Congress have become not only from their President but from the rest of the world. It is not, as Janet Daley disingenuously claims, primarily the fault of an overly partisan Nancy Pelosi that the Republicans backed their President less than the Democrats did. It is the fault, as David Brooks points out, of the talk show mentality that has afflicted their politics, and some rightly wonder whether it could split the party.

All this is bad news for John McCain. The VP debate may not go as badly for Sarah Palin as everyone expects - Joe Biden has escaped lightly for his buffoonery of late, including his declaration to CBS News's Katie Couric that folks sat round watching President Roosevelt on TV during the Wall Street Crash in the 1920s.

And she will not be allowed by her minders to repeat her own performance with Couric, wonderfully satirised on Saturday Night Live, so could benefit from decidedly low expectations.

But McCain was underwhelming on the economy in his own debate against Obama last Friday and it is increasingly clear that his intervention helped push floating Republicans against the bailout.

The polls now show Obama opening up a significant lead, which he needs to translate into some more key states. But at this stage, the Presidency is Obama's to lose.

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