John McCain, Candidate for President of WTFistan

Honestly, I no longer know what to make of John McCain anymore. A man who has readily admitted he doesn’t know much about the economy makes a big show of bringing his presidential campaign to a grinding halt to rush to Washington to fix it, which seems a bit like a NASA auto pool mechanic declaring to all and sundry that he’s going to stop making oil changes to rush to Florida to consult on the Shuttle. And, by the way, he also suggests we cancel (or, “delay”) the presidential debate on Friday, and maybe the VP debate next week. You know, just to be sure we’re all focused on the economy, instead of, frivolous things, such as the fact that John McCain apparently hasn’t had a useful thought about the national economy since he married a heiress, and that Sarah Palin can’t be trusted to extemporize about damn near anything without appearing like she’s stuffing her conservative-yet-stylish pumps far enough down her throat to alarm her epiglottis. Really, no. Just no.

I don’t mind that McCain is suddenly very actively concerned about the fundamentals of our economy; it’s a nice change from the previous week. But I wish that this sudden, overwhelming concern wasn’t such a transparent attempt to continue to McCain presidential strategy of attempting to win the White House without being required to articulate coherently to the public or the press why he’s presidential material. McCain has missed more Senate votes this year than any senator not recovering from a massive stroke, so an active presence in the Senate is not something he’s put much of a premium on since beginning his campaign. He isn’t rushing to Washington to help, he’s running away from everything else. He is the Sir Robin of 2008 presidential election. Soon they will have to eat the flacks. And there will be much rejoicing.

As many other people have noted, a president will need to be able to do more than one thing at a time, and a president should at least be able to look as if he’s thinking about what might give him a political advantage for the next five minutes, after which yet another course correction will be needed, and soon. This stuff doesn’t make him look decisive and focused; it makes him look desperate and opportunistic, as in thank God, I have an excuse to bail out on my commitments, and waving a hasty “see ya” and leaving it to his spin boys to explain why his absence is a manifestation of his virtue. It’s not. His commitment at the moment is making the argument that he should be president. He’s failing that commitment, and the argument, and, incidentally, the nation he wants to lead.

139 thoughts on “John McCain, Candidate for President of WTFistan

  1. What makes me wonder is that he is still running neck-and-neck with Obama. What is going on? Is there anybody out here who can provide any kind of insight on this to me (and other interested foreigners)? Please?

  2. This may be the excuse he needs to get some rest. His heavy schedule may have been taking more of a toll than we knew.
    He bailed on Letterman last night at the last minute, saying he was rushing back to Washington to save the economy. Then Letterman showed a clip of him being made up for an interview with Couric while last night’s episode was being filmed.

  3. Yesterday morning it didn’t seem like a financial rescue plan would happen because of partisan differences. McCain’s decision to suspend his campaign and delay the first debate put a lot of FOCUS on passing a rescue plan quickly. Once again, McCain is bring Republicans and Democrats together to accomplish big things in the common interest–something Obama has no demonstrated experience doing. Because of McCain’s leadership, it’s quite likely we’ll have a deal later today.

  4. I used to respect John McCain, really, I did. Damn, was I an idiot!

    #1 Not anymore he’s not; the post-convention, post-Palin bounce is over.

  5. It has nothing to do with the McCain campaign finances having already topped out (by accepting matching funds), and spent out (media blitzes). Nothing to do with realizing that he may have to prepare for the debate (let us see how much time he spends working in the Senate, or sequestered in his office). Nothing at all to do with trying to gain the higher ground on an election issue he’s seen as weak. Nothing to do with trying to take notice away from having employed (and floated the balloon of a possible Treasury Secretary) Phil Gramm whose policies more and more people are beginning to blame for this debacle.

    No, it would have nothing to do with those things at all.

    I’ve adjusted my opinion of how well Obama will do on Friday from “holding his own” to the McCain campaign (inferred) estimate of “kicking ass.” Why else would both John McCain and the President dare Obama to leave his debate preparations to run to Washington.

  6. It sounds as though you know EXACTLY what to make of him.

    Facetiousness aside, you’ve articulated it perfectly. And since we all know people willing to believe that Obama is a egomaniacal Muslim because he changed the American flag logo on his campaign jet, then surely the GOP knows that there are people who be willing to believe that McCain is suddenly the Picture of Economic Concern who can Fix Things.

  7. I think you are missing the point. Some stories are reporting that only 4 Republican members of the House are supporting the plan. Pelosi won’t pass it without substantial Republican support (bailing out big corporations is never popular and can be twisted in future elections). Bush has no more pull with his own party.

    McCain is going to Washington to bend the ears (and maybe the arms) of Republican congressman. He’s the top of the ticket and is far more likely to bring some small government idealist around to the plan than Bush.

    You are right. McCain is no economic genius. He is, on the other hand, a leader. And that is what he is trying to do, for all of our benefit, Republican and Democrats.

    As I personally don’t want to see another depression or even a severe recisission, I think McCain has the right idea and Obama should be jumping on board if he has even half a courageous bone in his body. Congressmen and women are cowards who want the political cover McCain and Obama can provide. Obama should help provide it by getting to Washington, putting his name on the bill and voting for it.

  8. Ken:

    Yesterday morning there didn’t look there was gong to be a deal because the proposed bill had some real insane provisions in it. Then the Congress got its back up and said “wait a minute” and changes were worked in that everyone could live in, which is why the bill now has a better chance of passing. To suggest that McCain’s decision to come to Washington affected that to any extent is to suggest that because someone chooses to walk in front of a parade already assembled, they are thereby leading it.

  9. Given that McCain would be effectively GWB’s third term, and that Bush has taken the most vacation time of any sitting President, it sounds to me as if McCain is trying to act Presidential. Not that he’d know what that meant if someone attached strings to his limbs and manipulated him, while doing the world’s greatest ventriloquist act so that McCain made sense (for once).

    I’m sticking with my previous suggestion that we let this election be decided by a game of one-on-one basketball between Obama and Ms. High School Superstar Basketballer. Or even two-on-two, so that when she kicked Obama in the crotch, Biden could singlehandedly save the day. (Or would it take a two-handed set shot? :-)

  10. I feel like having the debate now would be like having a picnic on the lawn of a burning hospital. It’s certainly hard to please us all isn’t it.

  11. Since part of a Vice-President’s job is to be the stand-in for events at which the President cannot personally attend, perhaps Governor Palin should debate Senator Obama on Friday while Senator McCain attends to the people’s business.

  12. “As I personally don’t want to see another depression or even a severe recisission, I think McCain has the right idea and Obama should be jumping on board if he has even half a courageous bone in his body. Congressmen and women are cowards who want the political cover McCain and Obama can provide. Obama should help provide it by getting to Washington, putting his name on the bill and voting for it.”

    Or, you know, something like this might actually hasten a depression, rather than push it back. If this goes through, stocks will plummet, the value of the dollar will decrease rapidly, and more homes will foreclose because the loans that are shitting up our economy will STILL be out there.

    It’s a bailout for the corporations who got us into this mess, not for the American public who will have to deal with this mess.

    Obama is doing the intelligent thing- the debates ARE more important than this bill. And I suspect that he knows it.

  13. I feel like having the debate now would be like having a picnic on the lawn of a burning hospital. It’s certainly hard to please us all isn’t it.

    Uh, I personally would like to have the men who are going to lead the country for the next four or so years get up and have a discussion about the issues. Neither of them is going to do anything meaningful in Washington right now, but talking to the American people about *how* they’re going to do things when they can do something meaningful would be nice.

  14. I agree with Seth (and Letterman who suggested it first). McCain should say he is too busy saving the country and send Palin. I predict she’d hold her own against Obama.

  15. John, what you said…keep saying it, and saying it, and saying it…

    besides, I think McCain’s acting like a kid that didn’t do his homework and got caught! He’s been saying for weeks that the economy is strong. Right. He obviously has no concept of what goes on down here in the trenches where real people like us have to live every day. Only when the few, the powerful, the money-grubbers of his own ilk were threatened is he worried about it!!

    Oh, wait, the first debate is on foreign policy? Maybe that’s the home work he didn’t do and will do anything – including running to Washington to “help” the Wall Street big boys…I mean try to save an economy he knows little about – to get out of giving his report in front of the class.

    Sad part is, Obama’s been told to be at the White House today as well so the President can do his posturing with McCain at his side. However, somehow I do believe he’ll have his homework done on both subjects. Being a gentleman, though, Obama will just sit back and let them implode on themselves all on their own…shouldn’t take long.

    And Obama will still be ready for the debate. At least if he shows up the $4.5 Million spent on the debate site & other prep won’t be completely wasted.

  16. My friends at the University of Mississippi IT group are not at all happy about this turn of events… they’ve spent a lot of time, money, and effort getting things ready for the debate. Its a shame McCain is playing politics with the debate – while Ole Miss has its flaws, its not a bad school and does not deserve this slap in the face.

    Postponing it would be very, very difficult – there are actually families who’ve provided rooms for reporters and such to stay… not to mention the logistics within the school and the town..

    Dr E

  17. “I agree with Seth (and Letterman who suggested it first). McCain should say he is too busy saving the country and send Palin. I predict she’d hold her own against Obama.”

    Obviously you haven’t heard her talk. Obama would slaughter her. The man can talk, can write, and can improvise. He articulates exceptionally well and thinks fast with things that make sense.

    Without a teleprompter, Palin is screwed.

    “Uh, I personally would like to have the men who are going to lead the country for the next four or so years get up and have a discussion about the issues. Neither of them is going to do anything meaningful in Washington right now, but talking to the American people about *how* they’re going to do things when they can do something meaningful would be nice.”

    I agree 100%. Them going to Washington won’t change much of anything, since neither of them hold the power they might in the next few months.

  18. wendyb_09 – $4.5 million is just what the University has spent.. Oxford and the county have probably spent that much too. And its not a wealthy area in Mississippi either…

    Dr E

  19. 1. # JReynolds – I am really sorry to be the first to say this, but one of the reasons (not the *only* reason) is there are still bigots in America. They will *not* vote for Obama because he is black. Some are out-and-out bigots (i have an uncle i love dearly, but he hates all people of color), some who are using lies (I don’t trust Obama – he is a MUSLIM!!!) to excuse their bigotry (i have another uncle who i love dearly, and he will not vote for Obama because of this excuse, and he is a life-long democrat).

    I listen to BBC World News on NPR every day. It’s interesting things will say to BBC journalists that they would NEVER say to an american journalist. Every day that there is a story on the American Presidential election (which is practically every day, now-a-days) they have a recorded quote from some American who says they aren’t voting for Obama because he is black.

    4. # Shrike58 – I used to respect John McCain, too. I respected the way he reached across the aisle to try to get work done in Washington. (remember the McCain-Feingold bill? Anyone? Bueller?) I think now he is just trying to get elected any way he can with the support of anyone he can find. And Republicans are running away from GW like a bunch of cockroaches who have ‘seen the light’ (which they may well have – 8 years too late. thanks for nothing, guys) The worst part is he wants to get elected in the worst way, and seems to be running his campaign that way, too.

    I know lots of folks who were undecided until after McCain chose Palin for his running mate & we started finding out she’s *SO* not ready to lead. Their minds are made up now, buddy boy, and they’re voting *for* the Obama/Biden ticket as much as *against* the McCain/Palin ticket.

  20. Because, you know, the other 98 senators and 435 representatives can’t do anything on their own; they need McCain and Obama to drop everything and run back to Washington to lead them out of the wilderness.

    If I were a senator or representative, I’d be insulted by McCain’s implication.

    stevem @#7: “McCain is going to Washington to bend the ears (and maybe the arms) of Republican congressman.”

    What, they don’t have telephones in the McCain campaign?

    Here’s my hypothesis: Seeing how abysmally Palin has performed in any kind of question and answer setting, the McCain campaign wants to kill the VP debate. But short of another Exxon Valdez, they can’t come up with an excuse for Palin to have to rush back to Alaska, so they insist it’s necessary to reschedule the first presidential debate — and, gee, shucks, the only way the schedule will work out is to move it to next Thursday and cancel the VP debate.

  21. @ken Interesting that you credit McCain’s leadership for things that happened BEFORE he actually made it to Washington. Nice.

    Doesn’t make a lick of sense though.

  22. “My friends… tonight I’d like to articulate in detail my views on both foreign policy, and the manifold intersections that policy has with the internals of our economy. Let us first consider — Quick! Look over there!”

  23. Sorry for the double post, but after I posted my hypothesis, I came across this:

    McCain supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham tells CNN the McCain campaign is proposing to the Presidential Debate Commission and the Obama camp that if there’s no bailout deal by Friday, the first presidential debate should take the place of the VP debate, currently scheduled for next Thursday, October 2 in St. Louis.

    In this scenario, the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin would be rescheduled for a date yet to be determined…

    I oughta go into political consulting or something.

  24. john -

    keep on keeping on! I am SO glad that you have (temporarily) lifted your politics moratorium.

    The analogy that keeps coming to mind is that of the kid, losing the playground game. “Time out – I got something in my eye! Hey… no fair – i said time OUT!”

    As I have said all year – I voted for the McCain of 2000, and would have been happy for him to win. The McCain of 2008, with the twin Hail Mary’s of Palin and the ‘campaign suspension.’ —> not so much.

  25. Perhaps a picnic on a burning lawn is how you characterize the debates, Debbie, but given that the McCain team is getting more and more scripted in its appearances and control of media access (very much like a certain Bush in office now) I really want to actually see McCain and Obama in unscripted moments. These are the people who will lead during the next four–very rough–years.

    When I’m hiring, I background check and interview the job candidates, and never skip a step because I never want to be bitten later because I was lazy. Far from a picnic, I see the debates as necessary and serious. McCain is suggesting that we, as a nation, skip our due diligence with the candidates. That comes across as sleazy to me, not honorable, and not “country first.” It looks a lot more like McCain first, treating us the voters as if we’re irrelevant.

  26. The campaign suspension was a blunder of massive proportions. We’re already seeing how non-aligned voters and wavering Republicans are acting. Hardly anyone who wasn’t a partisan is left in the McCain camp anymore. The shift in polls has been massive.

    I’ve heard reports from people who deal with GOP activist groups. They’re drinking heavily and waiting for it to be over, or for Obama to get caught with an underage hooker. Because that’s about the only thing that will turn this around if it continues the way it has.

    I don’t much hold with prognosticating on politics, but at this point, I’m inclined to agree. A strong case can be made thatn on-aligned voters and moderate Republicans see McCain as someone who’s floundering, and out of touch.

    Some of this is the Obama campaign staying on message, and the message sticking. But it’s not all Obama propoganda.

    Just a few weeks ago, he was telling us that the fundamentals of our economy are strong and a few weeks before that, his economic adviser, Phill Grahm told us that we were in a mental recession, and that we were a “nation of whiners”.

    Add to that the fact that the McCain campaign has decided that the media is an enemy camp, which scratches any chance of broad positive coverage from anyone other than FOX news.

    I’m not saying that McCain can’t turn it around, but the odds are stacked against him right now. Casting himself as a leader on these specific economic issues is going to be an uphill fight.

  27. “BeVibe–I am really sorry to be the first to say this, but one of the reasons (not the *only* reason) is there are still bigots in America. They will *not* vote for Obama because he is black.”

    The truth is Dukakis lost, Gore lost (yes, he did), Kerry lost…and they aren’t black…they’re too left of center for the electorate. Obama is even more left of the electorate. If Obama loses it will be because of where his is on the political spectrum.

    In contract, McCain is about as centrist as a senator gets: McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, etc.

  28. [deleted because it has nothing at all to do with the topic, and pointlessly frivolous in context beside. Josh Jasper, you know better than that.]

  29. I can’t believe he’s going to get away with this. He ought to be disqualified from the whole election for stunts like this.
    Surely you cannot be elected (or take part in elections for that matter) if you refuse to say what your politics are? Because that’s what the McCain campaign has been doing for the past few months. Other than throwing dirt at Obama and lying about almost any topic they did bring up, they have refused to answer any questions on the real issues…

    Hence my concern. How democratic is the election process in the USA, if you can (maybe) win an election based on lies, zero accountability, and total and utter disregard for the voting public and the media?
    Scary stuff.

  30. Man, I can’t believe that John McCain is trying to weasel out of tomorrow’s debates at Ole Miss (one of my old stomping grounds). People have put in a lot of time and effort to prepare for this debate over the past seven months, and a lot of people are already en route to Oxford. Hotels are booked solid for miles around.

    The debate must be happening at the same exact same time as the lightning is going to strike the town square, which he needs to charge the flux capacitor and take the DeLorean back in time to warn banks about subprime loans! :)

  31. Um, Ken, there are Democrats who’re not voting for Obama because he’s black. They were supporting Clinton, and now they’re backing McCain because (a) Obama is black, and (b) they’re idiots and think he’s a Muslim.

    In fact, a GOP connected phone bank out of New York has been calling voters in battleground states and pushing the Muslim and angry black man canards. Mailings have gone out. Internet whisper campaigns have been started. Mat Drudge was (a while back) pushing a silly photo of Obama in traditional African dress he put on for a state visit a while ago.

    This isn’t exactly a secret. Trying to pretend there’s no racial issue here is only going to fly with the Free Republic crowd or Michelle Malkin fans.

  32. We have three senators in the presidential campaign. I think all 3 three of them should be in Washington while this gets sorted out. If not for the debate, at least for the vote(s).

    Stopping a campaign to do your job isn’t getting away with anything, or using an excuse for anything. It’s doing what they were elected to do.

  33. John, you should be actually happy about this, because if McCain stays true to form, this is going to ensure an Obama victory, and probably one that’s a fairly large margin.

    McCain’s general mode of operations on something like this is to immediately go in, and make a beeline for the Democratic position, give them everything they want and more, in exchange for very small, meaningless concessions. You think that $700B was bad? When McCain gets through “compromising” it will probably be over a trillion dollars. He’ll then convince enough liberal Republican senators to go along with it and create another Gang of nn, and ram it through, as, say, “McCain-Dodd” or “McCain-Reid”.

    This will, of course, remind the conservative base exactly why they detest him, and just exactly how painful four years of him as president will be, and undo every bit of the good he did with the base by selecting an actual conservative as his veep nominee. And discouraged, they’ll stay home.

    Now, I could be wrong, I have been before, but basically I see this like the old parable of the scorpion and the frog. When the frog gets stung halfway across the river and they both drown, and he asks why, the scorpion simply says “That’s what I am, that’s what I do”.

  34. It seems to me that McCain and Palin are trying to back up their debates, to get ready. They need the extra time to allow the spin doctors opportunity to work their magic.

    How a member of the Keating 5 thinks he will single-handedly rescue America from this meltdown is beyond me. He may try to appear folksy and a “real guy” but this guy didn’t know how many houses he owned and has 13 cars! He is so out of touch with real people and has no way of understanding this crisis on a personal level.

    At least congress had enough (collective) sense not to pass the original Bush proposal. It took a lot of stupidity and greed from many people to get us into this mess. I want a solution that doesn’t wind up making things worse.

  35. So what? Why is this news to anyone? McCain has done this his whole political career, but now that McCain is not trying to fight against his party, the media isn’t covering for him. He’s a joke and always has been. He won the nomination because the conservative party was split between Romney and Huck-a-moron. True conservatives know this about MCCain, which is why there were all kinds of conjecture about true conservatives staying home this election. Too bad most true conservatives won’t stay home and stick to their principles about McCain.

    What’s shocking is that people are just figuring this out about the man. McCain’s interests and world view stop at his skin. He flips and flops like Kerry on good day.

    Again, I think McCain is the Republican party’s admission that they won’t win this election. He has made a lot of noise, annoyed a lot of people in his own party and the conservative movement; so, they let him run in an unwinnable election. The hope is that this will shut him up.

    Looking at the Republican nominees this year, I dread 2012. Thank goodness that according to the Mayan calendar that’s when the world ends.

  36. @34 – Stopping a campaign to do your job isn’t getting away with anything, or using an excuse for anything. It’s doing what they were elected to do.

    Except it becomes political once you have announcements and statements etc. If it’s really just about doing your job, you do it. You don’t have to announce it. Just go to DC. As it stands now it’s just posturing. (Made funny now by David Letterman).

    In the end, i agree with Obama – now more than ever we need to hear what these people are thinking. They can fly to DC for a meeting with the President, or for a vote AND still debate (because lord knows real work in DC won’t happen at 9 p.m. on a Friday!)

    We’re acting like the future leader of the free world can’t multi-task. Isn’t that what is supposedly Palin’s biggest credential? Raising 5 kids AND being a maverick at the same time?

  37. McCain reminds me of Dilbert’s boss–he’s not needed to fix the problem, it’s not his job to fix the problem, and he has no idea how to fix the problem. Nonetheless, he’s going elbow his way in there and spray Leadership all over it.

  38. Given that presidential candidates jet from state to state throughout the campaign, often several states in one day, is it any stretch to ask McCain how jetting to Mississippi for a few hours and then back to D.C. is really going to be a burden on him?

    He’s like a kid wishing for a snowstorm the night before that big test he forgot to study for.

    “Prayer — Last refuge of a scoundrel.” – Lisa Simpson commenting on Bart’s begging for devine intervention the night before such a big exam.

    Also, Letterman may not be a newsman, but McCain truly screwed Dave over last night. Letterman sounded as if he was cool with an emergency, but when they cut to the live shot of McCain getting makeup before his Couric interview, well, Dave just about had it. “Hey John! You need a ride to the airport????” Uncool, Mac.

  39. There seems to be a pattern of thought among Obama supporters that McCain is afraid of debating Obama. There is no evidence of this whatsoever.

    Consider:

    1. McCain hasn’t said cancel the debate. All he wants to do is have it next week.

    2. McCain asked for 10 MORE debates, than the 3 actually agreed upon. Obama was the candidate who declined more debates, not McCain.

    3. McCain is the candidate with less money, as he opted out of private financing while Obama is taking private money in record droves. The more face time McCain can get with Obama benefits McCain, as it equates to free advertising for McCain, which is likely why Obama declined the other 10 debates proposed by McCain.

    4. President Clinton, arguably to most succesful democratic candidate in 50 years (the only 2 term Democratic president in that period), has stated that McCain is not ducking Obama, citing most of the above.

    Finally, there is a lot of talk that McCain is losing at the polls. This is true, if looking at the polls of registered voters. Among this group, McCain was winning a week or so ago and now Obama is winning. It will continue to go back and forth between now and election day.

    Polling amongst likely voters, however, seems to document that McCain is winning. The most recent of these polls if from NPR, hardly a bastion of Republicans. McCain has been consistently winning this all important group, not Obama.

    McCain, whether grand standing or a display of genuine patriotism, suspending his campaign for a few days costs him nothing. It will serve to strengthen either his leadership credentials or bi-partisanship credentials. McCain is not a dummy and has been in politics a lot longer than Obama. Like the Palin pick, I suspect that McCain just threw Obama another curveball.

  40. Y’all must have missed this:

    Did McCain answer a 3 AM call?
    posted at 9:55 am on September 25, 2008
    by Ed Morrissey

    CBS News reports that John McCain suspended his campaign as a response to a call from Henry Paulson to rescue the bailout plan, which would have headed for defeat without his leadership. Bob Schieffer reported this morning that McCain flew back to Washington to help reach a compromise that would allow Republicans to support a form of bailout, and that without his help, efforts to resolve the crisis would have collapsed:

    [video at source of link]

    I am told, Maggie, that the way McCain got involved in this in the first place, the Treasury Secretary was briefing Republicans in the House yesterday, the Republican conference, asked how many were ready to support the bailout plan. Only four of them held up their hands. Paulson then called, according to my sources, Senator Lindsey Graham, who is very close to John McCain, and told him: you’ve got to get the people in the McCain campaign, you’ve got to convince John McCain to give these Republicans some political cover. If you don’t do that, this whole bailout plan is going to fail. So that’s how, McCain, apparently, became involved.

    He has gotten what he wants, he’s going to have this meeting, kind of a summit today with the president and Barack Obama. I’m told that the leaders of both parties are getting close to having some kind of a bill. The question, though, is whether rank-and-file Republicans, especially, are going to vote for this.

    This makes quite a bit of sense for those of us who have followed the trek of this bill on Capitol Hill. Republicans had rebelled against the idea of a bailout, mainly on principle, not wanting to use taxpayer money to subsidize market stupidity. McCain, being the party leader now, needed to provide leadership and also to work a bill into something that would be more palatable for Republicans in Congress to support, even with reluctance.

    Also, when last I checked, both Obama and McCain are serving Senators. Neither resigned to run for the Presidency. Both still have obligations to their electorate. This legislation is certainly the most significant legislation this Congress will consider.

  41. I had a dream last night where I was sitting next to Obama in a theater. Here was my big opportunity to ask him what ever I wanted! The best my dream-self could come up with was WTF is up with McCain and why aren’t you using it more?

    I guess this is what I get for turning on NPR and hitting the snooze button.

  42. Great analysis! Unfortunately, being correct, colorful, and funny automatically guarantees you’ll never be an analyst on television; not even MSNBC will give you a show now!

  43. “Josh jasper: Trying to pretend there’s no racial issue here is only going to fly with the Free Republic crowd or Michelle Malkin fans.”

    Trying to pretend that if Obama loses it’s because he’s black is wrong and divisive. Most centrists and moderate conservatives wouldn’t vote for him if he were white–it’s his Carter/Dukakis/Gore/Kerry/Pelosi/Reid policies.

  44. Well my question is, “has McCain really suspended his campaign?” He was interviewed by Katie Couric, his people are still emailing talking points (per the Republican blogger at politico.com) AND he stayed in New York last night to give a speech this morning at some conference?

    In short, he’s done just about everything imaginable BUT “fly to Washington and fix this.”

  45. the bill now has a better chance of passing

    Should it, though? The “new” bill doesn’t strike me as all that much better.

    I’m pretty cynical these days, and anything Snippy wants, I’m generally against. But this whole mess is so big and confusing I’m not entirely sure what the real goal is, and that means I don’t know the best way to try to fix the problem.

  46. stevem – Except most of America doesn’t seem to agree with you. General opinion seems to be that this was a boneheaded idea. About 15% of the population support suspending the debates.

    Finally, there is a lot of talk that McCain is losing at the polls. This is true, if looking at the polls of registered voters. Among this group, McCain was winning a week or so ago and now Obama is winning. It will continue to go back and forth between now and election day.

    Polling amongst likely voters, however, seems to document that McCain is winning. The most recent of these polls if from NPR, hardly a bastion of Republicans. McCain has been consistently winning this all important group, not Obama.

    If anyone is interested, Talking Points Memo has a poll tracker section. Don’t take my word for it, go look.

    Or go visit professional polling sites like Rasmussen, Zogby, or Quinnipac.

    Hhere’s the latest Rasmussen.

    Things do not look good for McCain.

  47. What’s really fun is watching Malkinites praise McCain for being so responsible as to duck out of a presidential campaign becuase the pressure is getting to him.

  48. “Trying to pretend that if Obama loses it’s because he’s black is wrong and divisive. Most centrists and moderate conservatives wouldn’t vote for him if he were white–it’s his Carter/Dukakis/Gore/Kerry/Pelosi/Reid policies.”

    Centrists and moderate conservatives in this case equals what, the non-frothing at the mouth part of the 27% of the country that thinks Bush is doing a good job.

    Too bad, when presented with the candidates beliefs, more of the country identifies with what Obama believes than McCain.

    But, just like everyone thinks they’re middle class, everyone thinks that their views are “centrist and moderate”, too.

  49. “McCain is the candidate with less money, as he opted out of private financing while Obama is taking private money in record droves. The more face time McCain can get with Obama benefits McCain, as it equates to free advertising for McCain, which is likely why Obama declined the other 10 debates proposed by McCain.”

    That or 10 debates in what amounts to the next 30 days is kind of ludicrous from an organizational point of view?

  50. In addition, nobody — not the candidates, not the voters — needs 10 debates. If the candidates can’t make their positions known (assuming they want to) in a few debates, more debates aren’t going to do anything but waste time and money.

  51. When the going gets tough, call “Time Out.” Hey, it works in football …. I want to know when he’s going to punt.

  52. McCain hasn’t cast a vote in the Senate since April – he’s missed 109 of the last 110 votes. Kennedy, recovering from brain surgery, has actually cast more votes this session than McCain has.

    On the town halls, as I’ve read it, McCain proposed 12 town hall debates. The Obama camp thought about it for a couple weeks, and counterproposed 4 debates. The McCain campaign accepted immediately without counter-counterproposing anything and has since been complaining about the Obama camp “refusing to debate in town halls”.

  53. Found the reference, offline only I’m afraid.

    Mcain has missed 412 votes, Tim Johnson 311, and Obama 295, Ted Kennedy 115.

    Obama came off the campaign trail in July to do some Senate business, although those of us opposing FISA sometimes wish he hadn’t.

  54. #50: The Rasmussen poll gives Obama the lead at 49% to 46% of the popular vote, and 255-247 in the Electoral College.

    Obama’s 3% lead is within the margin of error of the poll, and being 9 votes up on the Electoral College doesn’t seem to be a big lead. This will probably change in the weeks before the election. I hope, anyway.

    If it doesn’t the whole USA will be WTFistan.

  55. 11:

    If Kim Campbell had ever actually said “an election is no time to discuss serious issues,” I’d be quoting it now.

  56. As far as their senatorial duties are concerned, neither Obama nor McCain are on (Dodd’s) Finance committee, which is actually engaged in the negotiations. This is not happening on the floor of the Senate in open debate.

    If, when it comes time for a floor vote, the senators miss it, particularly if their presence could have changed the result, then it will be time to talk about ignoring their responsibilities.

    Today, they’re going to Washington to meet with the president as the standard-bearers of their particular parties and (I’m sure they all hope) to participate in a photo op to make everyone feel better about the situation.

  57. There seems to be a pattern of thought among Obama supporters that McCain is afraid of debating Obama. There is no evidence of this whatsoever.

    Consider:

    1. McCain hasn’t said cancel the debate. All he wants to do is have it next week.

    2. McCain asked for 10 MORE debates, than the 3 actually agreed upon. Obama was the candidate who declined more debates, not McCain.

    I don’t think the McCain of Fall 2007 was afraid to debate Obama; he was a experienced debater and fast on his feet, and debate isn’t Obama’s strongest suit anyway. The question was if the McCain of Fall 2008 is entirely well and thus up to it, *because* it was so bizarre that he would try to skip out on something that played to his strongest suit.

    But I think the real game became clear when they suggested moving it and postponing the VP debate to some vague future time. They are reallllly nervous about putting Palin up in any nonstructured situation.

  58. Gallup Daily: Race Back to a Tie at 46% Each

    Intrade: Obama 278; McCain 260

    Don’t get too excited, seems pretty close to me.

  59. FWIW, if McCain manages to pass the Paulson proposal, I’ll hate him even more.
    There has to be a way to keep the finance market alive without buying trash that everybody knows is trash to keep the market in trash alive.
    This is 1000x worse than the old honey subsidy… (and, like 28,000x larger)

  60. I have an idea – why don’t they move the VP debate UP? It’s fairly absurd to think that Obama would agree to debate the BOTTOM of McCain’s ticket, but Joe’s there. He could step right on in, couldn’t he? And if Sarah Palin can field-dress a moose! SURELY she can handle Joey the Shark, right?

    Yeah, I’m not holding my breath either.

  61. Brave Sir Robin ran away — bravely ran away, away…

    And now that they seem to have reached an agreement without his help he can go back to banging his coconuts on the campaign trail…

  62. I posted a response a friend of mine had to this mess on my blog today. He has an interesting analysis that I haven’t seen anywhere else:

    “September 25: ‘Well it was a well run campaign, midget and broom and whatnot.’

    So, let me get this straight. You feel such an urgent need to race to Congress to bail out the nation from its financial turmoil that Sarah Palin needs to cancel her debate with Joe Biden? There are many people willing to give John McCain the benefit of a warehouse of doubts in this campaign but this last gimmick to avoid debating Obama is nothing short of an admission by the McCain campaign that this election is over. You simply don’t use words like “suspend my campaign” or “time out” unless you want out. Others still cling to the notion that McCain is trying to look statesmanlike and underscore recent attacks that Obama is putting politics above country, but the choice of words is important. If he had wanted to be a statesman there must be a thousand combinations of words in the English language that could have had that effect. But the choice of words here underscores the real feelings of this campaign: despite the burning in their hearts to get their hands on real power – the truth is no one in the McCain campaign knows how to govern in a future where the Church of Free Markets is out of business. They want more wars, but the money for them has disappeared. Foreigners can no longer be relied on to reflexively buy out debt. The dollar is dropping. A Depression looms (Great Depression has been used, how about Bush Depression). The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy cannot now be made permanent. A full scale examination of the perils of “de-regulation” is already underway. Criminal investigations have begun on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. No longer do lobbyists have the answers he was relying on to run the government day to day. Simply put, they used the words they did because McCain doesn’t want the job anymore.”

  63. More polls.

    Sep 25 Hotline/Diageo – Obama (D) 47%, McCain (R) 43%

    Sep 25 Rasmussen – Obama (D) 49%, McCain (R) 46%

    Sep 25 Res. 2000 – Obama (D) 49%, McCain (R) 43%

    Sep 24 LAT/Bloomberg – Obama (D) 49%, McCain (R) 45%

    Sep 24 Str. Vision (R) -Obama (D) 47%, McCain (R) 46%

    Sep 24 NBC/WSJ – Obama (D) 48%, McCain (R) 46%

    Those are nationwide. Of course, the battleground states are most important.

    It’s close, but Obama is pulling ahead. Polls point to perception on the the economy and the campaign “suspension” as the main factors for this.

  64. McCain also has a running mate, who should be able to step up to the plate if she is needed. He should be able to hand running the compaign to Palin. I am sure that Obama could hand things over to Biden if he needed to do so.

  65. The second I heard he was trying to “suspend the campaign” and delay the debate, I knew it was more to avoid actually coming up with concrete answers to what he plans to do than to fix anything. The fact that he talked with Obama earlier and made no mention of the suspension until he announced it to the press was just another way for him to try to look like the better man which it didn’t manage to do. I mean, if he was serious about the two of them going back to Washington to help with this mess, why announce it to the press before actually discussing it with Obama? It was pretty much the same old McCain tactics to me: say nothing of substance while trying to make a bad guy out of Obama. Not the kind of president I want, thank you very much.

    As for delaying the VP debate, I can understand that. They haven’t let Palin say anything unscripted or important since day 1. Debates tend to be both. Has to have them shitting in their pants wondering how to keep her from making a mess of it.

  66. How convenient. Dodd and Frank reach a deal with their counterparts — just in time for Commander McCain to breeze into town to take credit.

    Anyone who has been following politics in even the most cursory way knows that McCain has almost no influence with his colleagues.

    Dont’ be the “some of the people” that you can fool “all the time”.

  67. Dr. Eric @ 20 – “$4.5 million is just what the University has spent…Oxford and the county have probably spent that much too. And its not a wealthy area in Mississippi either…”

    Figured as much, but only heard the University’s number before I had to head out the door to catch the bus. One of the organizations I belong to has an active chapter there, I’m familiar with the area as I’ve known many alums from there over the years.

    Not good, not good. In the event it were to be posponed until next week, it would screw up Oxford’s and the University’s schedules for next week. I’m sure it took months to work it into the calendars for the whole region!

    Keep up the good fight down there! Those of us that know what it takes to mount a mammoth event like this debate appreciate everything that’s been done to get to this point.

  68. JReynolds wrote:
    “What makes me wonder is that he is still running neck-and-neck with Obama. What is going on? Is there anybody out here who can provide any kind of insight on this to me (and other interested foreigners)? Please?”

    could it be because polls are conducted on land lines but many young voters use cellular phones?

    http://www.startribune.com/politics/29748134.html

    if this is true, then obama has way more support than the polls indicate.

  69. As a Canadian, I realize I don’t get to have a voice on the Presidential race because I don’t live there. But I have to say that if (in spite of his blatant buffoonery and lack of anything other than a hand-waving “look over there!” style of campaigning) McCain/Palin pull it off and win, I will be forced to move… to Uzbekistan/Peru/Tibet/anywhere but next to the USA.
    Please don’t take this the wrong way, I love your country, and am intrigued by many things about it, but rest assured if McCain wins, I will pack my bags and flee. I don’t think I could stand by and watch your great country disintegrate like that.
    Apologies for your troubles from across the border.
    Anna.

  70. Hmm, isn’t “suspend the campaign” what people say when they mean “drop out of the race and concede, but I’m not quite ready to announce that yet”?

    I doubt that’s what McCain meant, but given recent uses of the term his words were poorly chosen.

    But wow. What if he DID mean that? Does Obama autmatically win, or does the Torture and Economic Ruin party have to come up with another candidate? And who the hell would it be?

  71. JJS @ 34
    Well, you can look at it two ways:

    The first is that he’s a senator, all the time. If that’s the case then McCain going back to do his job now is a bunch of hooiey. McCain has been so uninvolved with congress during 2008 that he’s statistically unviable to count in records regarding pariticpation. He has, in fact, only been beaten by a senator who is recovering from a brain tumor. All of the other senators who ran for president managed to get back and do some of their elected work. That he chose now, when this mess has been growing for over a year, is telling.

    The other way you could look at it is that, yes, he is a senator, but he’s also now a presidential party nominee. If that is considered a valid position to be in, then it is his job to campaign, to try his hardest for his supporters and his party to become the next president. If that is the case, then by suspsending his campaign (and, really, how suspended is it when he was interviewing with Katie Couric at the same time he was telling Letterman he was unavailable or doing live chat sessions with Washington Post reporters today) he’s shirking his duties in that area.

    Either way, this stunt is crap.

    Tim @ 41

    When is the debate scheduled to start? Does it begin after Senate’s sessions close?

  72. @ Tim #41

    He’s like a kid wishing for a snowstorm the night before that big test he forgot to study for.

    “Prayer — Last refuge of a scoundrel.” – Lisa Simpson commenting on Bart’s begging for devine intervention the night before such a big exam.

    I believe that the Simpson’s quote is based on a Samuel Johnson quote: “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

    Which might be seen as topical as well.

  73. Ken said: “Yesterday morning it didn’t seem like a financial rescue plan would happen because of partisan differences. McCain’s decision to suspend his campaign and delay the first debate put a lot of FOCUS on passing a rescue plan quickly. Once again, McCain is bring Republicans and Democrats together to accomplish big things in the common interest–something Obama has no demonstrated experience doing. Because of McCain’s leadership, it’s quite likely we’ll have a deal later today.”

    Do you really think McCain’s little pronouncement MADE the rest of congress get to work?! Wow that is one strange idea. You know, a lot of politicians were all over this trying hard to get an agreement done –both Dems and Repubs — and they were addressing it and talking and working hard BEFORE McCain decidede to use this situation for his own gain. Both sides were saying they wanted to change the proposal before they passed it and I heard more bipartisan agreement than I have heard in years on this.

    McCain literally had nothing whatsoever to do with solving this. Neither did Obama. It was our less-flashy elected officials who got to work and got things done.

  74. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned in any of the other comments is this:

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said flat-out that it would be better if the candidates skipped the negotiations re: the bailout plan, rather than risk contaminating the process with presidential politics: “If there were ever a time for both candidates to hold a debate before the American people about this serious challenge, it is now.”

    That being the case, I believe Obama staying on track for the debate makes sense, and McCain’s just demonstrating his grandstanding skills and blatant hypocrisy.

    Feh on McCain.

  75. @JReynolds

    While not necessarily any different than any other country in the world the US does harbor a fair number if idiots too dogmatic to take an active interest in their own self interests. In another country this kind of self-disinterest might be expressed as violent action in support of a person obviously not interested in pulling anyone but himself out of abject poverty (see Robert Mugabe) to the much more common problem of general apathy which prevent Europe, Russia or China taking a preeminent place in the history books for their next go around on the world stage.

    In the US we don’t have the problem of violent unrest quite yet because there’s still enough to go around for most people’s appetites. Even if you’re dirt poor you’re probably still going to get fed tonight and for a little while longer. In my opinion what people are missing is that their apathy combined with their ardent dogmatic approach to politics is what has caused American decline. We vote or don’t vote a party ticket, often not because we read or understand the candidates and their platforms, but because they happen to be from party X or party Y. And because we might have seen them praying in a picture in the news paper or heard from our friend that they were caught doing something we all might like to get away with sometime.

    It’s kind of silly.

  76. Just for folks’ information:

    In the five hours after McCain’s speech, aides Nancy Pfotenhauer, Tucker Bounds, and Mike Duhaime appeared on Fox News and MSNBC five times, frequently criticizing Obama and Democrats.

    Putting politics aside and suspending the campaign? LOL!

  77. Maybe I missed this suggestion, if anyone has made it. Why not just have the debate in DC somewhere? There has to be a place that is willing to provide space for this on short notice, given the situation. It may not end up as polished as Ole Miss, but it would serve and there wouldn’t be 12 hours of travel involved.

    And if you’re an Obama fan, you can pitch this and watch McCain shoot it down then jump on him for it (he won’t take two hours out during a crisis that’s been going on for a week to debate me?), or you get the debate. Seems like a win-win for the Obama side.

  78. JReynolds@1–it’s not neck and neck. Most polls show Obama ahead–by a slim but consistent margin (anywhere from 2 to 6 points.) Check out fivethirtyeight.com for national and state-by-state polls.

    3. …The more face time McCain can get with Obama benefits McCain, as it equates to free advertising for McCain
    Not if McCain flounders, or looks foolish or tired. And particularly not if Obama looks Presidential by comparison.

    4.
    McCain, whether grand standing or a display of genuine patriotism, suspending his campaign for a few days costs him nothing. It will serve to strengthen either his leadership credentials or bi-partisanship credentials. McCain is not a dummy and has been in politics a lot longer than Obama. Like the Palin pick, I suspect that McCain just threw Obama another curveball.

    Would this be the same Sarah Palin whose approval/disapproval ratings are now 41A/48D–the lowest of the four candidates? The same Sarah Palin currently involved in the
    To extend the baseball metaphor beyond where it should go, the Palin pick wasn’t a curve ball–it was a Wild Pitch–and Obama’s stolen second and is approaching third.

    As for “costing him nothing” check the polling on whether the debate should continue. 85% say it should. Not good for McCain.

    The truth is Dukakis lost, Gore lost (yes, he did), Kerry lost…and they aren’t black…they’re too left of center for the electorate.
    White people losing had nothing to do with them being black. Well, no, ya can’t argue with that…

  79. Anna K: Given McCain’s “Lead us to a great nation” declaration and the fact that Canada’s water resources are lusted after by the same people who make water parks in deserts and our oil sands by folks who set up drilling rigs off the coast of tornado alley… You want to move to avoid the incipient invasion, not to avoid ‘watching’.

    If they win, it’ll be for having pulled out all the stops to defraud the American public of their basic right to vote, and we won’t be looking at a democracy south of the border.

  80. Mark – Mississippi has spend quite a lot of cash on preparing for the debates, and it’s not money they can get back. Having the debates in DC would be a slap in the face for them.

  81. Alternate Scenario

    McCain announces he’ll be at the debate. The left rises up and accuses McCain of ignoring the nation’s pressing problems in favor of satisfying his ego.

    Can you tell me honestly that wouldn’t happen?

    It matters fuck all what he does, for there are people who would condemn him regardless.

  82. “2. McCain asked for 10 MORE debates, than the 3 actually agreed upon.”

    That was last year, before he knew what he was up against, and he probably figured he could coast on his ‘war hero’ cred.

  83. McCain and Obama, with all their staff and secret service and scores and scores of embedded press followers showing up in Washington is too much of a distraction to those involved in the negotiations. Both of these men have been nominated by their parties to seek the highest office in the land. Translation, they have been asked to suspend their duties as Senators to campaign and get elected to be president. Obama had the right idea, keep their media circus out of Capital Hill while the negotiations are going on. Any input required from the candidates can be achieved remotely. Note to McCain… learn to use a damn Blackberry. Quit posturing in the wake of a real crisis, grow a set, and go debate Obama.

  84. I’ve apparently grown a clone. He should probably watch his language–that’s kind of rude.

    @Josh: Then I’d find some way to compensate Ole Miss. It’s not their feelings I’d be worried about here, to be honest–I’d rather see the debate in DC than not see it at all because I’m afraid of hurting Ole Miss’s feelings.

  85. Part of the problem remains that the electoral process in the US is NOT democratic. Will any of you actually be voting for a presidential candidate? No, you’ll be voting for an electoral college who are not even legally obliged to follow the majority vote. Maybe if things ever boil down to a system where you actually get to vote for something of substance then you will get a leader truly elected by a popular vote. Until then suck it up and enjoy the beauty contest.

  86. Alan, then those awful leftists would have to explain why their “how can you debate at a time like this?!” arguments did not also apply to Obama. But you knew that.

    Really, the talking-points game is a lot trickier around here than on whatever right-wing blogs you’re used to. Do try again.

  87. MikeB: the system works pretty much as people expect. Of all the things that might bring down America in the next however many years, the existence of the electoral college is pretty far down on the list.

    Also, all elections are beauty contests. That’s the nature of democracy. A good portion of potential voters, in ALL democratic countries, don’t know what’s good for them and will vote based on who their parents vote for, who their friends vote for, or on irrelevant ‘concerns’ such as the rumor that Obama is a Muslim that they read in an email their coworker’s buddy sent them. This is as it has always been (take a look at some of the Presidential races in the 1800s), and being bitter about it isn’t going to change it.

    And what’s the alternative? Do you deprive stupid people (and by whose definition that?) of the right to vote? Do you suddenly require a high school degree? Or a bachelor’s? That’s not democracy either. If you’re going to have it, you’re going to take the good with the bad.

    So, we do what we can–vote for the candidate we support, volunteer, donate. Complaining changes nothing, and the last thing I’m going to do is complain about something like the electoral college that has no practical effect on the outcome of the election.

  88. Alan @ 95, that makes no sense.

    Like… none at all. As far as we knew, both candidates were going to be at the debate, until McCain said he wouldn’t. There was no serious call in the media or blogs or punditocracy for a cancellation of the debate. It was a call that came only from the McCain camp. If he hadn’t made that call, there’d be no talk about whether to do the debate or not, they’d both just be there getting on with it.

    Now, if he decides to turn up before a bailout deal is reached, he could fairly be accused of hypocrisy, but as mythago said, he can’t be accused of egomongering and putting himself ahead of his country if Obama is at the debate as well!

  89. stevem @ 42

    McCain didn’t ask for 10 more debates, he asked for 10 Bush-style controlled and staged “town halls”. Not even near to the same thing.

    McCain -is- being a coward as far as the dodge the debate issue goes.

    This is also playing to his need to kick the can of public understanding (re: his real positions and lacks or Palin’s lack of substance period) down the road till election day is to close for it to hurt him.

    Also, as far as I can tell, both banking committees were somewhat in agreement on key issues before McCain blew in. After his late afternoon arrival and meeting with general Republican House members, the tentative agreement on basics exploded. While I may have been leary of many specifics of the compromise, this was at least moving in the right direction. Now, thanks to McCain’s “leadership skills”, we are several steps back from where we started. On this critical-urgent-fiscal-explody-urgent-quick before Saddam nukes the terrorists-urgent economic Kaboom. (did I say urgent?)

    Reminds me a lot of the pre war hustle. Did you notice that the ‘paulsen plan’ has been being discussed for months in the Executive? Emergency my ass!

  90. The commentariat in Australia are of the opinion that McCain is finished. Unfortunately the average Joe/Jane in America doesn’t know that yet. All Obama has to do now is apply the killing blow and that remains to be seen. McCain has supplied plenty of ammo in the last day or so. Ditching Letterman was probably a minor but telling mistake.

    If anyone thinks Palin was a good choice you are seriously deluded. She was skewered by the noted political heavyweight Katie Couric. Bidden and Obama will make mince meat of her.

    It seems your Republicans are throwing out the old socialism red herring to sink the Wall Street bailout. Most of the rest of the world seem to think that it is the only solution left now. You will take all of us down with you when you go you know.

    So after all that it looks like the Bush presidency has cemented its place as the worst in history what with the Iraq adventure debacle and now one of the worst financial crises in history.

  91. Once more, the Democratic partisans here manage to completely miss the point. McCain isn’t afraid of debating Obama nor does this stunt have much to do with the campaign. McCain, as de facto leader of the Republican party, is being flown in to try to bully the House Republicans who stand in the way of Wall Street’s attempted bank-a-thon.

    I’m running a poll on my right-wing blog now. The readership is about 80 percent Republican. So far, “Ignore the bankers and let the crisis play out naturally” is running neck-and-neck with “Guillotine the greedy bastards”. Not a single person has yet supported the “Give the bankers what they say they need to rescue the economy” option.

    If either Obama or McCain wanted to seal the deal, they’d announce a plan for the arrest of Wall Street executives, the seizure of the $38 billion in bonus money paid to them last year, and federal security for underwater mortgages. Not only is there no need for bailing out Wall Street, doing so will be a disaster and ensure that the next crisis is even worse. This is not meant to rescue the economy, it’s meant to rescue the Wall Street elite from the economy. The problem is the banking system itself; fractional-reserve banking based on fiat currency was always doomed to failure and be replaced sooner or later, given the longest historical lifespan of such currencies is around seventy years. The Bretton Woods “full faith” dollar was so hopeless that it’s looking like collapsing after barely half that time, despite all the massive external support for it.

    But Obama fans may find themselves celebrating the way in which McCain’s involvement with the Paulson plan should help sink him with all the conservatives who were seduced by the Palin pick. I can honestly say that I would much prefer a Obama presidency myself at this point, not that I’d ever vote for him.

  92. Okay, so perhaps it’s not quite neck-and-neck:

    00% Give the bankers what they say they need to rescue the economy.
    43% Ignore the bankers and let the crisis solve itself.
    57% Guillotine the greedy bastards.

    Vote here if you’re interested.

    So, I tend to doubt McCain is helping himself with Republicans here, especially in the aftermath of his Andrew Cuomo-for-SEC brainstorm.

  93. Did anyone else just notice that, after “suspending” his campaign (as if!), McCain’s move was to then totally scuttle careful negotiations between a bipartisan team of Democrats and Republicans, jettison the Bush proposal, and turn the whole thing into a circus? And the proposal that’s being floated? It’s expecting the floundering baking industry to magically make the cash appear for the bailout

    It’s like, because he wasn’t the center of attention, he decided to burn the place down in order to focus things on him.

    That’s megalomania you can believe in!

  94. The baking industry?

    We’re having a bake sale to save the economy?

    Great! Sarah Palin can make snickerdoodles!

  95. Vox @ 107: You would prefer to see Obama in power than McCain and you still won’t vote for him? Remember that party affiliations are not absolute! Vote for the person you think will do the best job or you’re missing the entire point of having democracy! It’s how you express your faith in the candidates in question, not some cult or tribe that you belong to forever. And then if next election you have more faith in the GOP’s candidate, feel free to vote for him.

  96. Where does this “running neck-in-neck” meme come from? Sure, the national polls are showing about a 5% separation, but last time I checked we were still planning to use the electoral college. The various sources I’ve checked for that (electoral-vote.com, realclearpolitics, and one whose name I can’t remember) show a pretty substantial lead for Obama. McCain is certainly not going to turn any blue states red this time, and the states that are in play are for the most part typical red states. I really don’t think it’s going to be that close. Also, anecdotaly, I live in the Republican enclave of Tulsa, OK and I have noticed (and friends from other cities have noticed) that Obama bumper-stickers and yard signs outnumber McCain’s easily 10-1 here. I’m sure we’ll still go red, but I think it shows a level of enthusiasm for Obama among his supporters that sharply contrasts with that of McCain. I think that will be pretty valuable on election day.

  97. John, I need your help. I read your final phrase as “… the nation he hopes to loot.”

    Do I need new glasses or is that an unexpected outburst of honesty from a candidate?

  98. I had no idea the baking industry was floundering. I am off to eat my weight in pastry to help out. No, no, don’t thank me…it’s the least I could do.

  99. Jason @ 112 – actually, democracy means getting to vote for the candidate you want, and not having to obey anyone’s rules in making that selection but your own. Perhaps Vox wants to vote for Libertarian candidate Bob Barr. Perhaps he’s in favor of the Constitution Party candidate, Chuck Baldwin. Perhaps he’s got a secret forbidden love for Ralph Nader.

    It’s his vote. Democracy means he gets to cast it for himself as a write in candidate if he wants.

    Mike B @113. – Battleground states are VA, PA, OH, NM, NC, MN, CO, FL NH and OR.

    Polls are a bit delayed, but McCain leads in VA CO and FL. NC is up for grabs. The rest are mostly in Obama’s camp right now. This might change, but as things stand, if polls are accurate, Obama wins.

    Everyone else, please send cookies and pie. The baking industry needs your support :-)

  100. You would prefer to see Obama in power than McCain and you still won’t vote for him?

    Yes. I have nothing but contempt for Obama, but I’d prefer him over McCain because I think he will screw up the country in far more interesting and amusing ways than the old “maverick”. Plus, we’ve already had eight years of seeing Republicans trying to come to terms with the Bush administration before finally realizing its full horror; I see no reason why Democrats shouldn’t enjoy the chance to get stabbed in the back by the perfidy of their own elite.

    I’m a libertarian, so I have no allegiance to either side of the bi-factional ruling party. But I am thoroughly enjoying the show, it’s much more entertaining than 2004. It’s going to be hard to top the sight of Democrats trying to hand over $700 billion to Wall Street, but then, we haven’t even seen the first debate yet.

  101. So, now that we’re 24 hours down, the Republicans have scuttled an agreement at the last minute, and McCain has announced he’s going to the debate. How’d everybody do on their political futurism bingo cards?

  102. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/27/us/politics/27debatecnd.html?hp

    Mr. McCain had thrown preparation for the debate into turmoil on Wednesday afternoon after he announced that he intended to suspend campaigning — including participating in first of three nationally televised presidential debates — to be in Washington for the negotiations. His campaign issued a statement Friday morning saying he was now “optimistic” that a bipartisan bailout agreement would soon be reached, citing “significant progress” in the talks.

    Excuse me, but wasn’t he one of the ones torpedoing the first round of talks? I mean, basically,the chosen negotiators among the Democrats and Republicans had actually reached a deal, then all of a suddenly he Republicans pulled the rug out from under their negotiating team and did an about face, basically throwing Bush under a bus.

    I guess if the Republicans were looking for a way to repudiate Bush, they found one.

  103. Hey Wait! I thought Obama was the guy who could sit down with a diverse group of people and bring them to consensus?

    So how’s he doing with that?

    Oh that’s right. He said he not needed. They’ll call him when something gets worked out.

    Meanwhile, the guy who doesn’t know anything about the economy said this in 2005:

    Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae’s regulator reported that the company’s quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were “illusions deliberately and systematically created” by the company’s senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.

    The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.

    The OFHEO report also states that Fannie Mae used its political power to lobby Congress in an effort to interfere with the regulator’s examination of the company’s accounting problems. This report comes some weeks after Freddie Mac paid a record $3.8 million fine in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and restated lobbying disclosure reports from 2004 to 2005. These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform.

    For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs–and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO’s report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO’s report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.

    I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

    I urge my colleagues to support swift action on this GSE reform legislation.

    On the other hand, the guy who is now saying Republicans suck (the man who is the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee) ’cause they won’t give his friends $700 billion said this in 2003 when Bush submitted legislation to oversee Fannie and Freddie

    ‘These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

    Wolf. Henhouse.

    Yum.

  104. Prediction: Some time within the next week, Palin will announce that she’s dropping off the Republican ticket because she needs to concentrate on her family demands. The Repubs can then take the focus off anything of substance for two more weeks as they go through the whole pick-a-VP dance again and get another bounce.

  105. Frank, to bad as an established member of the majority party at the time, McCain couldn’t even get the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190 scheduled for a vote.

  106. Steve

    Frank, to bad as an established member of the majority party at the time, McCain couldn’t even get the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190 scheduled for a vote.

    Actually, he was not a member of the committee, he just co-sponsored the bill and argued for it. Obama, Mister Expert-On-The-Economy was not a co-signer of the bill. That would probably be because he took more campaign money from Fannie and Freddie in his three short years in the Senate than any other Congressman save Chris Dodd, who is Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee (and a Friend of Angelo) and has been in the Senate almost 30 years..

    The bill itself never got out of Committee.

    And it didn’t due to bi-partisan negligence.

    But Barney Frank, once he became Chairman of the Finance Committee could have revived Bush’s 2003 plan to create an agency to oversee Freddie and Fannie.

    But he didn’t because, well, to him nothing was amiss.

    Now we know he was remiss.

    Along with Senator Dodd.

  107. I’m sorry, Frank, did you just say it died of bi-partisan negligence in a Republican Controlled Senate famous for aligning their party for votes and then go on to blame the Democratic members of the Senate?

  108. Steve

    I’m sorry, Frank, did you just say it died of bi-partisan negligence in a Republican Controlled Senate famous for aligning their party for votes and then go on to blame the Democratic members of the Senate?

    Yes.

    Why?

    Democrats control things now.

    And Chris Dodd and Barney Frank were part of the problem. And they are being asked to oversee the fixing of things. What is one of the things they want to do with the bailout money? Give some the the ethically-challenged ACORN.

    Remember Scalzi his own self argued for Republicans to throw the bums out and vote in Democrats if for nothing else but to teach them a lesson.

    So I’m thinking that turn about is fair play.

    Here’s a newsflash: Pelosi and the Democrats don’t need the 100 or so Republicans in the House who are balking to pass the “bailout”.

    At least in the House.

    So what’s the problem?

  109. “So what’s the problem?”

    Because the Republicans in the Senate can scuttle the deal by filibuster and the Democratic Party is more interested in actually solving problems than scoring cheap political points on votes that have no chance of sending a bill to the President.

  110. Steve

    Because the Republicans in the Senate can scuttle the deal by filibuster and the Democratic Party is more interested in actually solving problems than scoring cheap political points on votes that have no chance of sending a bill to the President.

    Really. It’s time to pay attention. It will pass the Senate.

    It’s House Republicans who have a problem.

    And their objections are substantive, not political posturing.

    But their votes aren’t needed for it to pass the House.

    But Democrats want political cover for such an unpopular bill. That’s why we are waiting.

    But it is possible that the bill will be improved as a result.

    You know, it is possible.

  111. Frank @ 132

    So it’s the -House- Republicans who are more intrested in scoring cheap political points rather than the Senate Republicans. Thanks for clearing that up.

    To you and any other informationally deficient types out there.

    The so called Democratic majority in the Senate is
    a) razor thin
    b) in paper only, as there has been at least one Dem Senator unable to vote for medical reasons for most of the last 2 years
    c) Independant (ha!) Lieberman is a RINO
    d) all ties are broken by a hostile VP
    e) Republicans are notorious for party line block voting with little or no attention paid to the facts.
    f) Republican party before country ideology and practice is incontrovertably the cause of our current problems yet they would rather try to score political points than help somebody fix the results of their 40 year malpractice.

  112. #116, 117: Roughly what I was suggesting except, since the coverage north of the border only mentions the two-party candidates I didn’t know there were currently any other candidates, and I thought that write-in candidates are typically considered “Spoiled” due to you guys having machines counting ballots. But sure, if there are actually other choices, feel free! I just count my lucky stars that I’m not hemmed into strategically voting between Conservative and Liberal up here (the rough equivalents of Rep. and Dem. ;) but rather have a few more parties that get statistically significant representation. Now if only people could get as worked up over our election…

    #133, 134: Just a quick check; DINO and RINO: [party-name] In Name Only?

  113. Jason – I was reminded by your comments of the grafitti currently being sprayed around here on signs from all candidates. It reads “No More Cons!” – not a likely proposition but a nice semtiment even if directed only at the party whose name it abbreviates..

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