Wednesday, September 24, 2008

With the Soft Touch of a Bull in a China Shop, McCain "Suspends Campaign," Dons Captain Maverick Suit to Save the Day

It's not surprising to me how devious and calculating the McCain campaign has become; after all, as they say, politics ain't bean bag. It's just surprising how poorly McCain pulls it off.

Surely you've heard by now that today, John McCain announced that the economic crisis was so big that it just couldn't be solved without him. So, saying he was putting his country ahead of politics, he suspended his campaign, tentatively called off this Friday's debate, and headed to Washington to fix everything.

Except, of course, none of that was true. The bail-out deal is nearing a consensus,and McCain is trying to swoop in at the last minute and take credit for something that the rest of Congress and the Bush Administration has sweated out for a week.

And McCain's campaign sent around a talking points memo to tell his surrogates how to exploit his "non-partisan" decision for nakedly partisan political gain. (Which, by the way, is to be expected 40 days before the election, but McCain shouldn't blow smoke up our wazoos by telling us that HE is completely above politics and is marching off to Washington self-sacrificingly. That's just patronizing and insultingly transparent -- maybe the first transparent thing about the McCain campaign since it chose Palin as McCain's running mate.)

Plus, if it's that important to McCain, why did he wait until today to bail out? Why not yesterday or the day before, when the Dow dropped much more precipitously than today and a bail-out seemed a lot more tentative?

And if it's such a terrible emergency, why did McCain ditch David Letterman, falsely claiming that he had to fly to Washington post-haste to save the world, when he (1) hadn't cast a roll call vote on ANY matter since April and (2) went over for a make-up job with Katie Couric rather than rushing to Congress like he said?

(Look for the make-up about 6:40 in the video.)

And if McCain is really just trying to put country first, if he isn't sneakily trying to cheat the American people out of 1/4 of their chances to hear from the two campaigns on the most important issues in debates, then why is he trying to get everyone to agree to scrap the vice-presidential debate altogether?

Maybe because Gov. Palin deals painful blows to the campaign every time she opens her mouth in public lately?

It kind of reminds me of high school, when some of the kids would drag in bleary-eyed on the Monday morning of a test and beg to postpone it, because something important came up over the weekend. (Nine times out of 10, the "something important" was a keg party rather than, say, a grandparent's death.) Surely the American people can sense that McCain is stalling, casting a grappling hook as far as he can and hoping that it catches on something he can use to stop his precipitous slippage.

Let me be clear. I do not believe for a second that John McCain really thinks that now, at the end of this bail-out negotiation, he needs to be in Washington. But I also don't believe that he's afraid to debate Barack Obama. After all, if the primary season is any indication, Obama usually doesn't shine in debates.

"There's no need to fear! Underdog is here!"

I think McCain is terrified at new polls showing his grasp on the race eroding. I think he is mortified that either his campaign manager Rick Davis has lied to him, or he has been caught in his own lie to the press, about Davis's lobbying firm receiving $15,000 a month from Freddie Mac until last month. I think he realizes what an absolute disaster last week was, as he flipped and flopped on his response to the economic crisis enough to make John Kerry look like the Rock of Gibraltar. And he figures, if I can just get people back to talking about how ambitious and selfish Obama-the-Celebrity is, instead of talking about how unscrupulous and clueless and volatile McCain is, then maybe he'll have a shot of winning.

I've got to hand it to McCain. He's not afraid to shake the snow globe and see where the flakes fall. If you gave him one of those choose-your-own-adventure books, I get the sense that he'd just pick the first option, every time, without batting an eye.

The problem, of course, is that the world isn't a snow globe, but an actual globe globe. And in the real world, the first option that comes to mind isn't always the best one, and sometimes it has disastrous consequences.

I say the Senators go to Washington, meet with Bush, put in their two cents' worth, and then get back to taking their cases to the American people. Putting aside politics for bipartisan cooperation is what brought us the Patriot Act and the Iraq War. Let's have the debates -- all of them -- so that folks can make an informed decision about how to cast their votes in just five short weeks.


Ryan said...

I think you're right--it's going to look really bad when he suspends his entire campaign the very day before they come to an agreement and then the debate will be canceled on Friday, with nothing to do!

Benny said...

Well it has been a couple of days now and the first debates happened...i think now seeing McCain speak and the way he avoided eye contact with Obama...he was just stalling for time...he sees that he is up against a younger, more energetic opponent that has fresh ideas about the future of our great country...but I will say is we the people that are just as responsible for this financial crisis that we face by losing our work to earn ideals and just wanting fast, instant gradification...we are the ones that have taken out loans that we couldnt pay for...put things on credit cards that we knew we couldnt lets not bail out the ones that gave us idiots that credit to hang ourselves and put that 700 billion dollars into educating the future generation on the mistakes that our generation has forgotten...the value of hard work...and the quality that used to be American made...I am done....good luck Barrack you have my vote...