I’ve been trying to think of how to describe the extraordinary developments involving John McCain on the campaign trail today. The best way I can think of it is as an attempt by McCain to roll back the clock to before the Wall Street debacle. He realizes, and yesterday’s Washington Post poll confirms, that the financial collapse is just killing his campaign. I’m guessing his pollsters are telling him that his numbers are in free fall. He desperately needs some breathing room. Anything to change the tone and subject of the debate. Hence, the “brilliant” idea of ending “business as usual” by suspending his campaign and going, like Mr. Smith, to Washington to set things right.
This is the type of impetuous thinking on McCain’s part that brought us Sarah Palin. It’s politics by the seat of your pants. It may sometimes work when you’re a Navy pilot in a dogfight (not that McCain flew in many). But in a presidential campaign when a nation’s health and well-being is at stake? I think not.
Someone will have to tell me what unique quality McCain brings to the table in D.C. that will resolve the crisis and requires him being there to do so.
The idea of cancelling the debate is another McCain horror. If that guy does go through with that, he should be flayed from here to kingdom come. What ludicrousness. He signed up for the debate. Now that things are tough for him he wants to weasel out of it. He reminds me of the time when we were kids and we didn’t like a roll of the dice in a board game and asked for a do-over. Somebody ought to tell McCain we’re not kids anymore. We’re in the middle of a presidential election and the American public wants the candidates to do just that–be candidates. Tell us how they’re going to run the country.
One thing that alarms me is that McCain and Bush have together maneuvered Obama into having to accept an invitation to join them in the White House to discuss the crisis. The whole thing strikes me as bizarre. Why does George Bush need to meet with the two men who want to succeed him? I can’t recall such a meeting happening during any previous presidential election. What is this meeting going to add to the mix? And why isn’t Bush doing something real about solving the meltdown instead of meeting presidential candidates?
Bush’s speech tonight was laughable. The nation is in mortal danger from an imminent threat. We must act and act now. Hesitation could be fatal. Delay could be fatal. Thinking could be fatal. Remind you of anything? 9/11? Saddam Hussein?
There was also an echo of Bush’s complete impotence in dealing with Hurricane Katrina. Then too he went on the air with an uplifting message reassuring Americans that his heart was in the right place and that he would do right by New Orleans. What followed was more of the same–precisely nothing. To this day the city is vulnerable to the same kind of disaster.
From what I’m hearing and reading, I don’t see any way that Democrats, or even Republicans for that matter, will fall for this. They’ve been around the block with Bush one too many times. I think Bush needs Congressional support more than Congress needs to be seen to be doing his bidding on this. So I presume that whatever legislation ends up passing will be quite different than the original one by Henry “Doing a Heckuva Job” Paulson.