Whose Ego?

All indications are that John McCain’s debate-skipping stunt will backfire on him, especially after the roasting he got on Letterman last night. Lots of folks in the Homeland do watch Letterman. I suspect the late-night comedians have at least as big an impact on public opinion as the “pundits.” Maybe bigger.

One of Letterman’s points — a valid one — is that even if McCain were to be called off the campaign trail by a crisis, there is no reason his running mate, who is not in Congress, couldn’t keep up the campaigning. Except, well, apparently she can’t.

CNN reports that the McCain campaign wants to “postpone” the vice presidential debate and use that time for a first presidential debate. I believe either Letterman or Olbermann predicted last night that’s what they would do. The McCain campaign seems almost desperate to keep Palin in a media burqa, which is peculiar given that she’s the only reason McCain’s campaign has been competitive since the conventions.

I don’t know how accurate this is, but a poll conducted last night by SurveyUSA showed overwhelming opposition to canceling tomorrow night’s debate. I don’t think McCain is foolin’ anybody, except those predisposed to be fooled.

Rightie blogger:

DAVID LETTERMAN THINKS HIS COMEDY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE UNITES STATES FINANCIAL CRISIS … What an ego! … The LEFT just does not get it. It’s not a matter that McCain canceled the Letterman appearance and instead was doing an interview with Katie Couric as Comments from the Left explains. The fact of the matter is that going on a LATE NIGHT COMEDY SHOW WAS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR THE TIMES!

So, what, ten days into THE UNITES STATES FINANCIAL CRISIS McCain and Bush suddenly decide it’s serious? And the “LEFT” doesn’t get it?

Harold Meyerson:

What’s a Republican presidential nominee to do?

If you’re named John McCain, the answer became apparent yesterday afternoon — make the solution to the economic crisis all about you. Suspend your campaign. Pull out of tomorrow’s debate — a trivial exercise merely allowing Americans to judge the two candidates side by side. Change the terms of the nation’s economic discussion from the course we should take, and the defects of the laissez-faire model that got us here, to the indispensability of John McCain, leader of leaders.

One gets the impression that McCain wants us to see him as the white knight riding to Washington to rescue the fair damsel in the tower. But unless he pulls off something extraordinary in the next couple of days, like maybe talking Sweden into buying all those subprime mortgages, I doubt this will work. If McCain’s presence in Washington has no dramatic impact on the crisis, ducking the debate makes McCain look weak, not strong.

On the other hand, if Congress suddenly comes to an agreement in the next couple of days, McCain probably will get credit for this and remain competitive in the campaign. Since most of the opposition is coming from Republicans, I suppose this could happen. We’ll see.

Michael Tomasky says the real reason McCain is riding into Washington is to turn attention away from the connection between his campaign manager, Rick Davis, and Freddie Mac. That’s probably part of it. The fact is, McCain was having a terrible week and needed to turn attention away from a lot of things.

[Update: Tomasky’s speculation is supported by the latest news about the Davis-Freddie Mac connection.]

For example, there was George Will’s highly publicized criticism that McCain lacks the temperament to be president. “Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama,” Will said. Ouch. I bet that punched McCain right in the ego. Rookie, huh? I’ll show him!

The Anonymous Liberal speculates that the real purpose of the stunt was Palin damage control.

I’m serious. The more I look at what happened today, the more I think it was all an elaborate attempt to stem the fallout from the truly disastrous interview Sarah Palin taped this morning with Katie Couric. In that interview, Palin did two things that hurt the McCain campaign and, but for McCain’s late afternoon shenanigans, would have garnered much more attention. First, buying into the premise of one of Couric’s questions, she all but stated that if no bailout legislation is passed, we’ll be headed into the next Great Depression. Even if true, that’s not a very smart thing for a politician to say and, importantly, it all but foreclosed any possibility of McCain voting against the bailout.

The other thing that hurt McCain is revealed in this part of the interview:

COURIC: But he’s been in Congress for 26 years. He’s been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.

PALIN: He’s also known as the maverick, though. Taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he’s been talking about — the need to reform government.

COURIC: I’m just going to ask you one more time, not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation?

PALIN: I’ll try to find you some, and I’ll bring them to you.

Palin is turning into a joke. Even Alaskans may be having second thoughts about her.

15 thoughts on “Whose Ego?

  1. The bitter-enders must think that using ALL CAPS makes a dead-wrong statement into a correct one.

    Letterman used to suck up to McCain. Now, Letterman is as pissed as the rest of us that McCain is hijacking the electoral process to pressure Congress into a rushed bailout.

    Democracy, remember? We are entitled to hear the presidential candidates debate. It isn’t up to McCain. If he doesn’t get his ass down to Oxford, MS tomorrow night, to hell with him.

  2. Maha:

    Thanks for the link to Letterman. I can’t stay up to watch it and I have been so disgusted and depressed over this whole mess that the laughs did me a world of good. Now I can go out into the world and know that God is in her Heaven and also laughing at us puny humans trying to look important.

  3. …I would offer the theory that, aside from his handlers’ strange perception that this charging off to DC will make him look leader-like, this also gets Huggy Bear into a controllable environment and out from in front of cameras and behind microphones out there on the hustings making an ongoing string of increasingly bizarre and contradictory statements on the economic crisis. I’m calling it the Palinization of John McCain.

    [I just learned that he used a teleprompter to make his ‘suspend’ statement yesterday. Priceless!]

  4. I’ve had some time to sleep on this, and believe it all comes down to cancelling Sarah’s debate. No way do they want her in front of a camera, under pressure, for a whole hour to 90 minutes.

    If the election were held today, McCain might squeak by, abetted by the usual Republican dirty tricks. It’s a dice toss whether a McCain debate would help or hurt him, but Sarah is a bona fide idiot and would sink the ticket. Two weeks of cramming at Wingnut U wasn’t enough to fix that.

  5. Agree with Moonbat: after the Couric interview its obvious that there is too much to absorb in the short period of time available and that even a more structured debate format would still be risky for her and a potential disaster for the campaign.

    It’s a tragedy that even with God on her side the spiritual warfare being conducted by Say-ton(!) is just too strong. When that old devil has us secular huminst libruls on his side she’s too distracted to learn about (pffft!) economics or foreign policy, but at least Pastor Muthee has teh witches on the run.

  6. I just got into a near-shouting match in the lunchroom with a couple of my Limbaugh-fed coworkers, who think McCain is a “hero” for suspending the campaign. Actually, the dispute was 2 against 2, although the woman who agrees with me was afraid to speak up, because she considers herself ill-informed.

    In fact, it was the McCain supporters who hadn’t heard that McCain has also asked to have the Oct. 2 VP debate canceled. They didn’t know that Phil Gramm, co-sponsor of the 1999 bill that contributed hugely to this mess, was McCain’s economic advisor and the guy who called us “a nation of whiners.” I set them straight on both points, although I got the sense they thought I was making it up. (One of the two Righties is an open racist anyway; I don’t credit him with the brains to remember to vote on election day.)

    After the two Righties had gone, the other pro-Obama woman said she’s afraid someone will assassinate him. I said I have that fear, too. At least we have the sense to be afraid.

    If McCain is elected, or heaven forbid the election is so interfered with that it doesn’t take place, this country is seriously screwed. The tiny majority that refuses to think for itself, that insists on judging people by their race or surname, will have won the day.

    In the past, I would have sat in the lunchroom silently grinding my teeth over the Righties at the next table. Those days are OVER.

  7. Just think, we actually held elections, and I assume debates between opposing candidates, during the Civil War and WWII. Apparently politicians used to be better multi-taskers?

    McCain’s latest move may be no more than political gymnastics to avoid exposure of incompetence in his ranks, more than likely is, but what it also may reveal is that he can’t walk and chew gum at the same time – a disastrous quality in the ‘leader of the free world.’

  8. joanr16 #6 – Obama better have his own security detail, cuz he’s not getting much help from the US govt. Dave Neiwert at Orincus blogs here and here about how three tweakers (crystal meth addicts) plotted to kill Obama at the DNC in Denver – they even had a gun, and one openly said they were going to kill Obama – and yet the Bush/Rove appointed US Attorney basically shrugged. Contrast that with the Imperial Storm Trooper performance at the RNC, where people had not even done anything, and they were harassed at their homes, as well as scores or hundreds of people arrested.

    Good for you that you’re speaking up. I’m surprised it took so long, since you’re pretty outspoken on this site. I don’t take any crap from these people any more, and I used to be very silent.

  9. #1 joanr – wasn’t it here that I read about the way to win arguments was to say your side repeatedly and say it louder?
    That way even if you are wrong, people give in.

    #4 moonbat – I think they want to avoid both McCain and Palin debating. I hope Obama has his own security detail too. I went to the link about security at the convention and it is shocking that they would be so relaxed about his security, knowing politicians have been assassinated in our country.

  10. moonbat, I do remember the feds were dismissive of the three guys who turned up in Denver pretty well-prepared to kill Obama “from a high vantage point.” And that the “security” thugs inside the RNC’s hall were all over that one protesting war vet in no time. Just recently, a guy was arrested for trying twice to approach the Obama home in suburban Chicago. He was found to have a gun and bullet-proof vest in his car. It was a minor blip in the news, and then it was gone.

    I guess I take my coworkers for what they are (mostly hopeless) and so refuse, generally speaking, to engage them in political debate. Granted, I am a bit of a loudmouth in my own dept. at coffee-break time. Not that it does much good– some of them are such deeply-ingrained racists and homophobes that nothing will ever change them. They thrive on fear, and accepting anything new is what they fear the most.

  11. McCain thinks the financial crisis is so serious he hasn’t bothered to read the 3 page proposal for the bailout. He’s had days to do it; it’s THREE PAGES.

  12. Chris Dodd said after the WH meeting that it looked like and I don’t have the exact quote, House Republicans had come up with a plan to save McCains campaign. Reports are that McCain made a brief statement which was neither for nor against the Congressional plan.

    I am going to make a prediction. McCain is going to oppose the plan that the House, the Senate & the WH have agreed to in principle. He’s going to propose an alternate which will NOT be acceptable to Democrats in Congress, and he’s going to claim he can save the economy without risking 700 Billion.

    WHY???? To save his campaign. If he goes along with Bush & Congress, he’s going along with Obama. And Obama is winning. McCain has to do something different and more popular. So expect the McCain ‘I can walk on water’ economic plan. Expect it to shore up support with the Republican base and include elements designed to appeal to Independents generally opposed to ‘big gubment’.

    The idea will be as solid at the Titanic (post ‘berg), but McCain has no expectation of seeing his plan pass. He just has to stop Obama.

  13. joanr16 #11 – For me the issue is not changing these people – I may try that if someone seems open – the issue is boundaries. I’ve learned to have firm boundaries with wingnuts, many of whom are spoiling for a fight – not surprising, given all the buttons a typical dose of Rush does for them. Often they’re seething with rage, especially around someone like me who isn’t buying it. They’re perfectly free to believe what they want, but I’ve learned to not allow them to push their garbage in my direction. Zero tolerance here.

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