Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Panic in McCain City

If you've looked anywhere online in the past few hours, you've seen that the latest news from John McCain is that he wants to postpone this Friday's debate. Spinmeisters aside, everyone who I've seen weighing in on this proposal, including the MSM and many on the right, is calling it a stunt, a desperate attempt to stop the momentum by putting the lipstick of "country first" on his pig of personal ambition. The view is unanimous: someone who wants to be president ought not shy away from the idea of having to deal with more than one thing at a time. One wag had it that Obama's insistence that the debate go on as planned shows his confidence in his own ability to walk and chew gum at the same time.

When I first started seeing this news, the first thought that popped into my head was an idle one: the debate prep was going so badly that McCain, or his advisors, or both, started wondering if there was any way to get out of doing the debates, and then this handy crisis came along to provide just such an excuse. Were Friday's debate not about foreign policy, I guess I wouldn't be so quick to reject this thought.

I don't guess I see it much differently from anyone else. This is just the latest attempt by McCain to do something mavericky, to create a new story that will distract the media and take the heat off him for other things. I do wonder, though, if rather than this being a calculated maneuver, McCain is truly so lost in his own self-created image that he actually thinks this is a worthy idea. He'd be far from the first politician to think that appearing to be doing something is the same as doing something.

Additional wrinkle: Apparently, McCain is also "suspending" his campaign and calling on Obama to join him in canceling campaign appearances and political advertising. I usually say, "It never hurts to ask," but in this case? It's hard to see how more than a very few will see this as anything but a pathetic attempt by McCain to call a timeout.

Wheels further off the straight talk express bus department: McCain "too busy" to take Obama's call this morning to discuss a joint statement on bailout proposals. Why? Because he was meeting with Lady Lynn de Rothschild.

Wheels even further off: McCain cancels appearance on Letterman, saying he had to "rush back to DC to deal with the economy." Busted again.

Rumor: McCain's proposal to postpone the debates is part of a strategy to squeeze the VP debates out of the schedule altogether. See my above speculation about worried debate coaches. Maybe I was onto something. Some basis for rumor here. [Added: And more here.]

Delight: Even Fox News can't cook this data.


Anonymous said...

Nonsense. He saw the image projected onto the cloud, and now he's headed for the Batcave. It's a contractual obligation.

And I hear that Clay Aiken is the understudy for Robin...

Anonymous said...

This whole thing is just amaaaaazing. I honestly can't believe he's pulling these stunts. I'd be amazed if he could persuade anyone who wasn't already a supporter that this is anything but a desperate political ploy.

Also: Maybe suspending the debate, if that means canceling advertising, is also a way for him to hoard cash. (?)

Anonymous said...

Ooops, I meant to say "suspending the campaign" may be calculated as a way to save money. Not suspend the debate, which obviously won't have any impact on McCain's spending.

I really should proof-read these things.... :)

bjkeefe said...

Further evidence that this was a planned political ploy: talking points inadvertently leaked. (h/t: John Cole.)