25 September 2008

Disappearing Act

It's been a ballsy week for the McCain/Palin ticket.

As everyone knows by now, America is in the middle of a major financial crisis.  Actually, it seems more appropriate to say crises, since they are arriving on the heels of each fresh disaster.  Huge lending firms like AIG are going out of business, and the administration is pushing a $700 billion bailout for them.  The public is not too happy about this, by and large.  They are inclined, for some strange reason, to blame things on the party that has dominated the whole of government for eight years.  They're just irrational that way.

So naturally, the Dems numbers started going up very quickly.  This is bolstered by the ugly fact that McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, is still an officer with a lobbying firm that is being paid $15,000 a month by Freddie Mac - one of those financial giants in such trouble.  And it is further bolstered by McCain's irrational reaction to the crisis, wherein he initially attempted to deny the real severity of the problem by repeatedly declaring that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong," before moving on to loud criticizing of deregulation later in the week.    This last move was a bit awkward, since McCain has actually been a vocal proponent of the very deregulation that led to this crisis.  Even Katie "Softball" Couric was motivated enough to press this one in the face of such a lie!  When Couric seems tough, you know it's pretty weak sauce.

So McCain is attempting a hugely ballsy move, again in this campaign.  The last one was picking Palin, which has turned out pretty badly for him.  Now he's making another play of similar magnitude: he wants recess.  He has announced he is "suspending his campaign," and has declared he is going to go back to Washington.  McCain has also said he wants to cancel the first debate on Friday in favor of delaying it.

Talk about savvy: this is damn smart.  Obama is put into a tough spot, with either choice he makes being ripe for GOP spin.

If Obama agrees, then he has just made McCain the bipartisan leader willing to rise above politics.  Every headline would read "Obama Follows McCain's Lead" or similar, and it would give enormous credibility to this move.

On the other hand, if Obama declines to agree, then McCain can suggest that Obama is putting politics ahead of the people, and try to put himself up on the cross.

However, it sure doesn't seem like it's working.  Things were going too badly for McCain, and he didn't have this kind of political capital with the people on the economy.  With the upcoming debate, it looks instead like he is just running away from his own mistakes and errors.  Obama has rejected the gamble and answered it with a very effective charge, saying that a debate is needed now "more than ever."  Columbia Journalism Review has a great piece about the reporting on this "McGambit," saying:
This move is so transparently political that covering it as a transparent act of politics is pretty much the only approach.
McCain even canceled on his upcoming Letterman appearance, prompting the comedian to joke:
"What are you going to do if you're elected and things get tough? Suspend being president? We've got a guy like that now!"
No one's buying this one, Mac. Sorry.

1 comment:

  1. I was quite fond of the Letterman joke, as well as Obama's comment regarding the president's ability to handle more than one thing at once. :-)

    Also, thanks for birthday greetings! Miss you and your b-day visit!