John McCain is saying he is postponing his campaign in order to go to Washington and work on the bailout. McCain has said that he wants Sen. Obama to do the same.
This is a political stunt. And I pray the Obama campaign will call McCain out on it.
John McCain has been in Congress for 26 years. For 26 years, he pushed the exact same deregulatory policies that led to this crisis. McCain had 26 years to take action to prevent this economic collapse from happening. But he didn’t. Now, suddenly he’s running for President, the economy is a major issue and now McCain is putting everything on hold to work on the economy. Are you kidding? We need a President who will prevent problems fro happening, not one who waits until a crisis develops and then does something.
Second, John McCain has been the most absent Senator of the 110th Congress. He’s been so busy campaigning for President he didn’t even bother to show up for two-thirds of all Senate votes. But after two years of abandoning his duties in Congress, all of a sudden he’s rushing back to deal with it. I mean, it’s nice that he’s actually doing the job he was elected to do, but it’s sad that it took a national crisis—a politically-expedient crisis, I might add—to bring him back to Washington.
Third, we’ve had some major crises develop during this campaign. Hell, Russia and Georgia fought a war during this campaign, but that didn’t get John McCain off the campaign trail. Funny how his polling numbers start to tank and a major political issue develops and suddenly that’s enough to get him off the Doubletalk Express and back doing his job.
Stemming from that, well, Ben Smith puts it best:
But in terms of the timing of this move: The only thing that’s changed in the last 48 hours is the public polling.
Face it, this crisis hasn’t gotten dramatically worse in the past two days. The only thing that has gotten worse is John McCain’s polling numbers. This is a blatant stunt on McCain’s part to regain momentum in this Presidential election. When he had the chance to show leadership, he didn’t. When other major issues developed it wasn’t enough to pull him off the trail. But suddenly he’s tanking and this issue comes up, and he’s flying back to Washington to do the job he’s spent the past two years ignoring.
Pathetic. And I hope the Obama campaign and the media call this out for what it is.
UPDATE: Some interesting details on this have just come to light.
Apparently, at 8:30 this morning Senator Obama called Senator McCain about working in a bipartisan fashion to address the economic crisis. Later in the day, at about 2:30, McCain called back and agreed to work with Sen. Obama to come up with a bipartisan solution.
And shortly after that, McCain made the announcement he’ll be suspending his campaign and is urging Obama to do the same.
The question is, who made the first move? Who took the first step towards bipartisanship? It looks like Obama reached out to McCain, convinced him to work together for the good of the American people, then McCain turned around and stabbed Obama in the back by making his announcement, thus giving the appearance that McCain was the one who initiated the bipartisan conversation.
McCain just made a coldly political move. Will it backfire on him? Well, if Obama can prove that he made the first move and McCain stabbed him in the back to make himself look better for the cameras, I bet it will.
UPDATE II: Okay, so John Cain says our economic crisis is so bad he not only needs to suspend his Presidential campaign, but he wants Obama to agree to put off the first Presidential debate.
But just yesterday, John McCain was attacking Barack Obama for not agreeing to do more debates with him:
“I have town hall meetings across America. I am in touch with the American people. I have asked Sen. Obama to join me. He refuses.”
So yesterday this wasn’t bad enough to warrant putting off the debates–in fact, just yesterday McCain was calling for more debates with Obama.
What changed between yesterday and today? Nothing on Wall Street or Capitol Hill–but plenty changed in the polls.
Let’s face fact, McCain is tanking. McCain is desperate. And thus a political stunt is born, and I’m calling him out on it
UPDATE III: Obama responds, saying he thinks now–more than ever–it’s important the American people hear the ideas and proposals of the two men running for President. He links foreign policy–the topic of Friday’s debate–to the economy, rightly pointing out that our economic security directly affects our national security.
He rips John McCain for first pledging to work together in a bipartisan fashion then turning around and stabbing Obama in the back in order to score political points.
Most importantly, Obama says that a President should be able to do several things at once. Let’s face it, the President of the United States can’t suspend his duties to focus on just one thing. If McCain can’t multitask, McCain can’t be President. Period.
UPDATE IV: SurveyUSA has released a preliminary poll and the numbers don’t look good at all for McCain.
86% of Americans believe Friday’s debate still should be held–50% say it should be held as scheduled and 36% say it should be held and refocused on the economy. Only 10% agree with McCain that the debate should be postponed.
79% of Americans believe the candidates should continue campaigning–31% they should continue as is and 48% believe they should continue but refocus on the economy. Just 14% agree with McCain that he and Obama should suspend their campaigning.
46% believe that postponing the debate would be bad for America; only 14% think postponing Friday’s debate would be good for America.
FINAL UPDATE: My last thoughts on today–
Either one of two things happened to lead us to this point. Either John McCain made a purely political calculation or he just realized that the economic problems facing America are significant.
Neither option is good for McCain. If the first is true, then McCain is playing politics with America’s biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression. If the second is true, then McCain is so out of touch it took several days for him to realize he should be doing something about it. In either case that’s not the type of behavior I want from my President.
It would have been smart for McCain to have done this days ago, when the crisis first developed–he would have shown he was on top of things and he could have gotten involved in the negotiations from the start. Now, though, what’s he going to do? These are sensitive negotiations–they involve Democrats, Republicans, the White House, the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, Wall Street…he can’t just drop himself in the middle and start messing with everything. In the end, he might drop everything, go to Washington and find himself unable to do anything but vote on the final bill.
Worst of all, today the American people didn’t see a President McCain. What we saw was someone in a panic–someone who realized the political winds were not blowing his way and latched onto the first ‘so crazy it might just work’ idea thrown to him.
On the other hand, we did see a President Obama today. He was calm, he was confident–he showed us that he understands how serious this crisis is, yes, but that he can deal with that as well as the other issues concerning the American people. Obama did exactly what a President does in a situation like this–he gets in contact with all the important players, getting their opinions and sharing his ideas, but in the end he lets them do their jobs. Obama showed he understands that this is not a time for politics and that the best thing he could do for America is to keep Presidential politics far away from the negotiation process.
This is a stunt, and the American people know it. And unfortunately for McCain, all it did was reveal why he’s not fit to be President. America’s Commander-in-Chief can’t panic and drop everything when a major crisis develops–he has to be calm and confident, and he has to be able to both manage the crisis and every other issue demanding his attention. Today, I learned that Obama fits that description and John McCain doesn’t.