Wednesday, September 24, 2008


With his numbers nosediving in polls from The Wall Street Journal to even Fox News, with news of McCain getting $5,000 make-up treatments, with Laura Bush agreeing that Sarah Palin has zero foreign policy experience, and with Palin herself tanking in an interview with Katie Couric:

...what's a hero to do? Meltdown.

From Reuters:
Republican White House hopeful John McCain threw the campaign into turmoil on Wednesday by calling for a delay in the first presidential debate to try to forge a Wall Street rescue plan -- a surprise move promptly rejected by Democrat Barack Obama

The political stunner came as some polls showed McCain falling behind Obama in their race for the November 4 election. Republicans and the White House welcomed McCain's move as a needed appeal for both parties to work together, while Democrats suspected a publicity stunt.
Y'think? Why the hell is McCain scared to be seen on the same stage as Obama -- unless he's somehow stacked the deck. And why are they trying to push off the Vice Presidential debate between Biden and, gulp, cratering Sarah Palin? Could it be...panic?

McCain's appeal is a cynical move based on a genuine economic crisis. Not the economic crisis in Washington. The financial crisis is in McCain's campaign. McCain has only $85 million to play with. Even though the RNC is skirting the fringes of election law and subsidizing McCain's ad campaign, McCain is still at a disastrous financial disadvantage. Obama plans to spend $40 million in Florida alone.

Every day McCain can shave from the remaining forty odd days left in the campaign via "suspending" his campaign makes his financial disadvantage less significant. Con the media into giving him free airtime to cover his "surprising announcement?" Good. Bully Obama into pulling ads? Even better.

The fact is that previous debates have been held while a crisis was happening and each candidate could walk and chew gum at the same time. Per Obama:
"It's my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsible for dealing with this mess," said Obama. "Part of the president's job is to deal with more than one thing at once."
And while McCain pretended he couldn't get back to Obama when Barack approached him about doing a bipartisan statement, he was actually meeting with mega-wealthy ex-Clinton supporter Lady Lynn Forester de Rothchild. You know, "Country First."

Harold Meyerson nails what's really going on here, and it is appalling:

Slipping in the polls? Concerned that Americans may be paying more attention to the declining economy -- and even supporting economic regulation again -- than to your own stellar leadership abilities?

What's a Republican presidential nominee to do?

If you're named John McCain, the answer became apparent yesterday afternoon -- make the solution to the economic crisis all about yourself. Suspend your campaign. Pull out of tomorrow's debate -- a trivial exercise merely allowing Americans to judge the two candidates side by side. Change the terms of the nation's economic discussion from the course we should take, and the defects of the laissez-faire model that got us here, to the indispensability of John McCain, leader of leaders.

Meanwhile, those doing the real work and late hours all this week to craft a deal like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tell McCain to stay away. Rep. Barney Frank goes further:

"All of sudden, now that we are on the verge of making a deal, John McCain here drops himself in to help us make a deal, Frank said.

He expressed fear that McCain, a U.S. senator from Arizona who has spent much of the year away from the Capitol campaigning, could end up slowing down work on the bill.

The Massachusetts Democrat noted that a meeting on Capitol Hill on Thursday will be interrupted for a "photo op" at the White House with congressional Democrats and Republicans as well as Bush.

"We're trying to rescue the economy, not the McCain campaign," Frank said.

Aside from the fact that "Ole Miss" has been preparing for this debate for ages and that cancellation by McCain would cause yet another financial crisis, losing them several million dollars, there's the psycho nature of the whole ploy, per Michael Tomasky:

Think about the kind of mind that's required to even think up something like this. I could never think up something like this. Most average people, of whatever political persuasion, could never do it. Some pundits are talking about desperation and Hail Mary passes and so on, but that doesn't really begin to describe the deviousness at work here.

This is like a man who gets caught cheating on his wife and then, with his back against the wall and with confrontation looming, goes out and intentionally wrecks the car, contriving to break a few ribs and get rushed to the hospital, all to delay the inevitable conflict and in the cynical knowledge that, in front of the doctors and until the wounds are bound, the wife will be forced to offer sympathy. Males are messed up creatures, but believe me, only a rather small percentage of us is really capable of thinking this connivingly.

I mean, which one of these two is shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater, and which one would you trust in a Presidential crisis:

Clue: It's the one who took questions.

(And, more ominously, who's left eye isn't twitching like something medical is going wrong inside.)

But the most brutal commentator of all today was none other than David Letterman, stood up by McCain supposedly so the Senator could jet back to D.C. (where he's missed more votes this year than any other Senator) and solve the crisis, but was revealed to be in studio with Katie Couric, possibly to try and drown out the Palin interview. And it looks like Letterman is not a guy you want to stand up:

Ouch, ouch, ouch. For the whole show. Relentless. So McCain is down in the 4th Quarter and, for a multitude of reasons, calls for a time out.

Matthew Yglesias recalls what happens when you try a stunt like that.

1 comment:

Erika said...

I just watched the entire Couric interview w/ Palin. Holy smokes! It's over! That is so clearly a paper doll and she's going to be McLame's great undoing. If he hasn't undone himself already.

But I do believe he lost the election today.