Republican Off The Rails
This is absurdity. Suddenly, Pres. Bush is feeling left out of all the excitement, so he calls an urgent press conference and requests the two Presidential candidates return to the Hill and save the day. John McCain has jumped on his horse, slung his six-shooters on his hips and is ready to ride to the rescue, eschewing Friday's Presidential debate and, hell, the entire campaign until this problem is solved. Why?
Do we really need Mr. McCain trying to dig us out of financial crisis that was already visibly underway when he was telling us "the fundamentals of the economy are still strong"? Is the man whose candidacy was bolstered at the GOP convention by Fred Thomson's mocking Democrats for worrying over the health of the economy really who we need trying to fix this mess? The man who spent his career fighting regulation on Wall Street will suddenly save the day by implementing regulations on Wall Street? Suddenly, now that Sen. McCain has finally been convinced that there's a problem with unfettered financial gambling when it imperils his campaign, everybody has to stop what they're doing? The man who, at a Republican primary debate last December, was quoted as telling reporters: "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should," McCain said.
But even so, even if we really need all our legislators involved on this immediately, why cancel the debate? Does Mr. McCain need more time to study? Can he not work on legislation for two days and then handle an hour-and-a-half debate? A President needs to be better than that.
Sen. McCain would have us believe that canceling the debate and suspending the campaign would be a selfless choice. But simply by saying that, by claiming to put politics aside to work together, Mr. McCain is making a solely self-serving political move. He bets that the American public won't see that he's just trying to use our financial woes to gain points in the polls based on his character, his willingness to sacrifice, to work out a problem everyone else has already been working on for days while he's campaigned. Sen. McCain's suggestion isn't really a suspension of the campaign, it's rather an attempt to bring the campaign to Capitol Hill. As Rep. Barney Frank said about the impending arrival of the candidates:
"We're going to have to interrupt a negotiating session tomorrow between the Democrats and Republicans on a bill where I think we are getting pretty close, and troop down to the White House for their photo op," said Frank, the House Financial Services Committee chairman. "I wish they'd checked with us."
Harold Meyerson suggests that McCain, realizing that Obama is more right on the economy than he is, will use the pressure of pseudo-bipartisanship in national crisis to erase the distinction between them in the minds of the public.
And, by avoiding debate with Sen. Obama, Sen. McCain is continuing the traditional Republican ploy of hiding from scrutiny, hiding from the people. Now, when we need to hear from it most, the so-called straight-talk express tries to slip into a dark tunnel. If the Democrats -- and we the people -- don't nail McCain's ass to the wall on this, they might as well roll over now. And that would make for a real nightmare.