Senate Majority Leader Reid disinvited Obama and McCain to be part of the bailout negotiations. But why? One of them will be the next President, in fewer than four months, and spending much of his time coping with the impact of the bailout.
McCain apparently did insert himself in the counter-negotiations of the Republican minority, but reportedly without taking a clear stand. Obama, while saying the bailout should not reward executives whose companies unload underwater mortgage securities, has not offered any specifics regarding what enabling legislation should or shouldn't include.
But with Treasury Secretary Paulson and his team and congressional leaders so unsure of the consequences of the legislative package they're wrapping up, Obama and McCain should be involved to the point of putting their clear and indelible stamp on the results. If they aren't, if all they do is vote aye or nay in the Senate Sunday night or whenever the legislation goes to vote, the one of them who wins the election will be a damaged President from the day he's inaugurated.