God forbid they should make a mistake and forget to steal.

– “Nicky,” played by Joe Pesci, in reference to the mobsters who ran Vegas in the movie “Casino”

The above line has been running through my mind ever since it was reported that Congress was coming to the rescue of Wall Street like a fat knight in rusty, ill-fitting armor riding on the back of a malnourished horse resembling the American taxpayer.

Early Sunday, congressional leaders announced a bipartisan deal had been reached on the latest bailout plan. The amount was said to be around $700 billion, but I think it’s safe to round that up to $1.75 trillion or even higher, depending on what commission rate Congress decides to pay itself for bravely saving the nation from, uh, Congress.

So, since a lot of people are hurting due to economic problems and debt, when will you be getting your bail out check? For some reason, I’m guessing folks like us won’t be getting any money, even if we need it. Like many of you, I have resigned myself to accepting the fact that the government simply doesn’t care if I go out of business.

Though a lack of attention from Capitol Hill economy arsonists and their match-wielding lackeys isn’t a bad thing, I still must confess to feeling a bit ignored.

The lesson for America’s small business owners is that they really need to learn how to fail on a much grander scale. Perhaps small businesses should band together to start a collective mortgage bank, demand incomprehensible and counterproductive regulations from Washington, screw up running the thing while paying themselves huge bonuses and then ask Congress to bail them out. Ironically, I’m guessing Wall Street and the government would suddenly frown on this request as “un-American and anti-capitalist.”

Just who is the big winner in Big Bailout ’08? Wall Street? No, I believe the Obama for president campaign has been given the ball on the goal line because of this, with John McCain’s blessing.

Big Bailout ’08 is a Democrat populist’s dream because it has all the ingredients necessary to create a nice, proletariat vs. bourgeoisie swimsuit issue of Marx Monthly that undecided voters may buy in droves.

Look at the scenario: On the surface this looks like a bunch of Wall Street fat cats are getting a ton of your money for failing at very high-paying jobs. It’s “rich vs. poor” once again. Any Democrat politician loves to capitalize on a class war, and Big Bailout ’08 is Pearl Harbor and the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand all rolled into one.

Either by accident or on purpose, John McCain is throwing himself into a trap. Last week, McCain announced he was going to suspend his campaign to work on the “crisis.” McCain then went running back to Washington. This drew more Republican applause than the time Michael Moore fell in a mud puddle, and I couldn’t understand why.

McCain’s very public “bipartisan” gestures are doing nothing more than reminding conservatives what they didn’t like about McCain before he semi-successfully distracted us with Sarah Palin.

I recall McCain’s other “successful” bipartisan effort: Campaign finance reform. McCain-Feingold was supposed to, in part, take the money out of politics and put an end to negative television commercials. Yeah, I know. Forcing candidates to visibly and audibly “approve” a message to put an end to negative ads is like installing video surveillance cameras in your living room and assuming it will intimidate your dog enough to make him stop dragging his butt across the carpet. Nice try.

The problem with McCain-Feingold was that it contained more loopholes than the wall between a high school girls’ locker room and the wood shop. This was not by accident. The Wall Street bailout legislation promises to be just as iron clad as CFR, except far more expensive.

John McCain would earn my vote if he’d come out and admit that Congress “doing their job” is how we got into this mess in the first place, but instead he’s cozying up to the same old characters and joining Congress in “doing their job.”

Considering the approval rating of Congress is hovering around a toddler’s age, a presidential race between two senators in this volatile year boils down to a simple notion: The man who most distances himself from that collection of worms called Congress is most likely to win the election.

So far that man is not John McCain.

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