Why Doesn’t McCain Just Give Up?

I mean really? He’s getting caught on all his lies and double standards, so his solution? Suspending his campaign, and attempting to postpone the first presidential debate, which he’s now clearly terrified of flubbing. McCain said:

it was time to put politics aside and return to Washington to help Congress reach a deal on President George Bush’s proposal for a $700bn economic rescue package.

Yet neither Obama nor McCain are on the House Banking Committee, and neither holds any leadership roles in Congress, so it remains completely unclear what McCain thinks returning to Washington could do, other than make him look presidential and somehow above politics. Obama’s response was quite right to point out:

“This is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsible for dealing with this mess,” the Democratic party candidate said. “It is going to be part of the president’s job to deal with more than one thing at once.”

But we now have a consistent pattern for McCain – he encounters a crisis (the economic meltdown, his inability to land a blow on Obama which could stick), he panics and does something rash which he doesn’t think through. This he calls ‘being a ‘maverick’. Do you want a President who acts rashly when the going gets tough? What would he do in a conflict with Vladimir Putin? Suspend his presidency? Michael Tomasky puts it far better than anyone else so far:

Abraham Lincoln ran for re-election while leading the Union troops in the civil war. Franklin Roosevelt ran for re-election in the midst of terrible depression in 1936, a far worse economic crisis than we have right now, and in 1944 while prosecuting the second world war.

If John McCain can’t debate while thinking about the country’s economy, then he’s even more ill-equipped to hold the job than I think he is. But of course he is capable of doing both. His proposal is not serious. It is just a rancidly political act. That he goes before cameras and tries to pass it off as nonpolitical, hoping that people will buy it, is what makes it contemptible.

Fortunately the debate will go ahead, and McCain needs to be very afraid. His tactics have been universally condemned as the fraud they are, just a night before he has to look more presidential than his opponent. Game, set and match to Barack Obama?

(via Andrew Sullivan)


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