Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Campaign suspended

John McCain would have you believe he suspended his campaign because of the financial crisis—you know, the one that started with the subprime mortgage meltdown but is now threatening to affect rich people. But that’s probably just an excuse to skip the debates. It’s more likely that the McCain camp realized that Obama is improving in the polls as a result of the economy, and that Friday’s debate is likely to accelerate that trend. Given McCain’s high-speed flip flops on the AIG bailout and government regulation, it’s possible that McCain doesn’t understand what’s going on with the economy and has no policy for dealing with it. That would be kind of difficult to hide in a debate setting. McCain’s involvement in the Keating Five scandal doesn’t exactly help him, either.

What else doesn’t help McCain is the seemingly endless string of monumental mistakes by his campaign, like this.

In addition, the McCain campaign wants to reschedule the presidential candidates’ debate for the day the vice presidential candidates are scheduled to debate. That debate would be postponed until never. There’s at least some rationale for postponing the presidential debate, flimsy though it may be. What rationale could there be for postponing the VP debate? That makes it pretty clear, I think, that the Republicans want no part of any debates. It’s awful hard to make this election about personalities when everybody’s asking about those pesky issues.

I think the McCain camp would rather let McCain debate Obama wearing nothing but a leather thong and pasties than let Sarah Palin within a mile of a debate with Joe Biden.

I’ve read comments that said suspending the campaign was a shrewd move by McCain because it forces Obama to follow McCain’s lead or appear to put politics before country. But now that McCain has commited to stopping campaigning and fundraising, Obama has refused to cancel the debate and many people see this move by McCain as a political ploy, how does McCain artfully return to the fray, especially if a resolution to this crisis takes more than a couple of days to cobble together? Through surrogates, I suppose, but that’s not exactly a substitute for having the candidate at the top of the ticket out there pressing the flesh, in front of the cameras and headlining fundraisers.

It looks like McCain has pushed all of his chips to the center of the table. But if this move paints anyone into a corner, it’s John McCain.

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