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Posted by on Sep 24, 2008 in Economy, Politics | 12 comments

(Updated) McCain: I Be Presidential, So Grab A Bucket & Help Me Bail, Barack My Man


As noted here, last week was the game changer in the 2008 presidential campaign and that finally seems to have sunk in this afternoon as John McCain announced that he was suspending campaigning to help fix the economy, urged Barack Obama to do the same and, oh, wants to hold off on that first debate.

The McCain-Sarah Palin campaign is imploding. After campaign spokesmouths criticized one national poll earlier in the day showing Obama and Joe Biden pulling away as an outlier, Fox News‘ own latest poll confirmed the fact that the race has again become the Democrats to lose.

The feeling grows that John McCain is not fully in control of himself. That his party animal past and legendary inflexibility may be catching up to him. That he doesn’t have the mental agility to stay sharp, let alone face down Obama, and that he is unsteady without Palin at his side.

Meanwhile, the post-convention bounce and Palin boomlet have ended with a thud and the Alaska governor’s negatives have intersected with with her positives. Snippets from Palin’s third interview, this one with CBS News‘s Katie Couric, are making the rounds and already are provoking derision, while McCain himself has not had a press availability since mid-August.

So what’s a campaign that is all smoke (and mirrors) and no fire to do?

Throw a Hail Mary pass as it did with the unvetted Palin.

McCain’s contention that he suddenly is needed in Washington when he was putting out word that he might be absent for the bailout plan vote is ridiculous on its face. Nothing has changed on the economic front but much out on the stump. Still, there are no flies on Obama if he accepts McCain’s challenge.

Ezra Klein brilliantly summed up the roller coaster ride:

“Both candidates made an effort to transcend the campaign today. At 8am this morning, Barack Obama called John McCain and asked that the two collaborate on a statement on the bailout. The call was not announced to the press. At 2:30pm, McCain called back and accepted. The initiative made sense: Without some unity from the two campaigns, some linkage of their fortunes, the two parties would be too paralyzed attempting to ratf*ck each other to actually pass a bailout proposal. The statement, meant to remove the interests of the two presidential candidates, is forthcoming.

“Later in the day, John McCain surprised the Obama campaign by going before the press and announcing a cessation of the campaign and a delay in the debate. There was no effort to plan a coordinated action with the other camp. Rather, he publicly demanded that Barack Obama follow suit. McCain promised that he would return to Washington to work on the bill. The drama of the negotiations will now be combined with the drama of the presidential campaign. The leadership structure of the Senate Republicans is suddenly unclear. No one quite knows what effect the presence of two presidential candidates — and their attendant political incentives, media strategies, and advisers — will have on the process.

“The contrast here is a clear one. Obama argued that the presidential candidates should recede into the background, agree on a common position and let Congress work without the impediment. It was a bipartisan stunt meant to construct a protected space for the congressional negotiations, where they could proceed without relative freedom from the presidential contest.

“McCain loudly proclaimed the need to set aside politics, focused cameras by demanding a suspension of the debates, and promised that both candidates would fully insert themselves and their entourages and their media power and their electoral interests into the negotiations. The McCain campaign has politicized the bailout debate even as it volubly denounces politics. It is astonishingly reckless. In that, it is par for the course. Whenever the polls turn, they seek comfort in chaos. They speak of the experience and seasoning needed for governance but pick Sarah Palin. They call for an end to politics amidst crucial congressional negotiations then fling the crush of the presidential campaign atop an already-delicate process. In their attempts to define themselves as above politics, they will politicize anything.”

And like that first Hail Mary, this one also will go out of bounds as McMaverick and his Gal Pal go down in flames.

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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • Marlowecan

    “Who’s Your Daddy?”

    Shaun is wishing and hoping . . . but this was smart politics on McCain’s part.

    He shifted the MSM focus — the NYT et al howling about Davis — and he seems like the father figure from the “Daddy Party” taking the initiative to go back to Washington and take care of business.

    McCain has nothing to lose. Obama, with an advantage on the economy, has everything to lose.

    Sen. Obama has been caught off balance by this . . . but he has no choice but to follow McCain’s lead. To continue campaigning would be suicidal to his electoral hopes.

    Give McCain his due, Shaun. It was a brilliant political gambit that nobody saw coming. McCain has re-written EVERYBODY’s campaign schedule and narrative.

    And it might work. . .

  • DLS

    Shaun’s imagination and immaturity continue their runaway “progress” [sic].

    * * *

    “It was a brilliant political gambit that nobody saw coming. McCain has re-written EVERYBODY’s campaign schedule and narrative.”

    McCain did the right thing, surprising us once again. He seized the initiative and is in a position to seize the economy as a winning issue from Obama if Obama is like those who do little more than whine and attack McCain and Palin, etc. without merit these days.

  • DLS

    I wonder sometimes if Shaun has McCain-Palin-Bush nightmares routinely and confuses his waking and sleeping hours due to all that sleep-related stress.

  • Gichin13

    Rewriting narrative once again by not demonstrating leadership and instead playing politics instead of solutions.

    The real leadership is the morning call from Obama. The playing leadership is turning it into a stunt.

  • archangel

    dear everyone,
    please stay to the topic, not to an analysis of the writer. Appreciate it.
    This is not mom, just

    assistant editor, TMV

  • StockBoySF

    McCain just wants to suspend his campaign so he can huddle with all his ex-Fannie/Freddie lobbyists and discuss what to do… 🙂

  • RevDave

    Country First? Smart political move? – every day brings another clear reason to vote for Obama as McCain lurks from one position to another, one political gambit to another. He hasn’t voted since April 8th and just yesterday said he hadn’t read the bailout proposal – what a deeply cynical man.

  • Marlowecan

    So Obama has refused the gambit! Wowsers…

    He will be relying heavily for cover from the MSM.

    I imagine the New York Times editorial board is pulling out their Template Republican Deunciation Editorial now . . . and filling in the blanks for this latest story.

    I also imagine Reid and Pelosi will refuse to meet with McCain in Washington.

    But if McCain is serious in suspending ads . . . that he has unilaterally pulled . . . Obama will not look good in continuing to campaign.

    Beating up on an opponent who refuses to fight . . . but is instead “working for his country” is bad optics.

    The MSM will have to do yeoman’s work to cover for Obama to get him through this one.

  • JSpencer

    Shaun, maybe you need to water down that reality check for some of our more partisan commenters. 😉 And I see an incredible deal of patience is exhibited toward one in particular, but that’s an old, boring story. The fact is, this McCain gambit can be summed up in one word, and even after careful thought, I have to say the word is : “Stunt”.

    Marlowe : “He will be relying heavily for cover from the MSM.”

    Just a little while ago you claimed the American people would see things your way, now you suggest they would need the MSM to “help” them figure things out. Choose a story and stick to it dude. You can’t have it both ways.

  • Kathryn

    I have been a bit out of the loop lately, (back to school time) I just wanted to give Shaun some support.
    As that liberal icon George Will said on Sunday (yes I am paraphrasing)
    “only one candidate was calm, measured and ‘presidential’ and it wasn’t John McCain.

    My guess is that McCain saw the writing on the wall with the polling and decided if he could get Obama to suspend as well the playing field would be even again. I don’t know, I’d prefer someone who can talk and chew gum at the same time.

  • DLS

    [yawn] “Talk and chew gum” is the parrot call today on all the lefty talk shows. At least “coward” has something of an IQ above room temperature to it if you add “clever” or “cunning” before it. At least that tired stuff is better than the whining and tiresome attacks. [rolling eyes]


  • DLS

    “please stay to the topic, not to an analysis of the writer.”

    _They_ must engage in badly needed quality control and improvement first. You cannot “blame” or legitimately criticize people with higher standards who don’t care for drivel or worse and respond appropriately to it.

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