Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘WTFMcCain?

After the Flood

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Trying to puzzle out John McCain’s motive for the campaign suspension stunt is proving rather difficult. A lot of people are looking to Palin, both her disastrous Katie Couric interview and the repeated suggestion that hey, you know, we could just cancel the VP debate. (On the margins, Palin’s so-called “preacher problem” is also showing up in these discussions; she definitely loses the secular progressive swing vote with this one.) Or maybe, others venture, he’s trying to cover up his own lack of debate preparation. Still other people think he may be trying to keep the Rick Davis story out of the papers, as there’s now word that Rick Davis didn’t sever his relationship with his lobbying firm and is in fact still listed as one of its only two officers. And a lot of people just point to the polls—witness as just one example a Rasmussen poll that now puts Obama ahead right here in North Carolina (!). Or maybe we should just bring it all back, as Steve Benen does, to the fundamental question that recurs about so much of John McCain’s gambles: cynicism, or risk addiction?

Whatever it is, it’s worth noting that McCain has pulled this very stunt at least twice before.

Reactions have been legion, almost all of them negative, but Noam Scheiber in particular is on fire with posts that suggest just how badly this may backfire on McCain, comparing it first to a form of political hari-kari and then pointing out elsewhere the way in which the gambit automatically defeats itself:

“Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative.”

Clinton Global Intiative > financial crisis > longstanding-to-the-point-of-sacred tradition of nationally televised presidential debate? This will not stand.

More on G.C.S.G. ’08

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More on G.C.S.G. ’08.

* It’s being widely reported now that McCain is threatening to not show up to the debate if a deal hasn’t been reached by Friday. Just who is this supposed to threaten?

* By the way, contrary to reports, Friday’s debate will not focus exclusively on foreign affairs—Jim Lehrer informed the campaigns last week that there would be economic questions too.

* From the Dept. of You’ve Got To Be Shitting Me: Ben Smith reports that the McCain campaign has generously offered to move Friday’s presidential debate to next week’s VP debate, with the VP debate rescheduled to some unknown date in the future.

* Edge of the American West has an exclusive copy of the email McCain sent to Ole Miss asking for an extension.

On Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 12:00pm, John McCain wrote:

sorry to bother you and i know this request is late but i have been really busy and i want to call an emergency meeting with the president and understanding all the material is taking up a lot of my time so i find myself woefully underprepared and i am throwing myself on your mercy. can i get an extension over the weekend on the debate so i can present my best work to you? or should i get a dean’s excuse?

thanks,

john

* And slightly lost in the midst of all this is the fact that McCain gave Letterman the finger to do it. Letterman’s not happy.

David Letterman tells audience that McCain called him today to tell him he had to rush back to DC to deal with the economy.

Then in the middle of the taping Dave got word that McCain was, in fact just down the street being interviewed by Katie Couric. Dave even cut over to the live video of the interview, and said, “Hey Senator, can I give you a ride home?”

Earlier in the show, Dave kept saying, “You don’t suspend your campaign. This doesn’t smell right. This isn’t the way a tested hero behaves.” And he joked: “I think someone’s putting something in his Metamucil.”

“He can’t run the campaign because the economy is cratering? Fine, put in your second-string quarterback, Sarah Palin. Where is she?”

“What are you going to do if you’re elected and things get tough? Suspend being president? We’ve got a guy like that now!”

Written by gerrycanavan

September 25, 2008 at 12:17 am

Reactions to the Great Campaign Suspension Gambit of ’08

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Reactions to the great campaign suspension gambit of ’08.

“If you were wondering how bad McCain’s pollster was telling him things are, there’s your confirmation.”
—A Democratic strategist Michael Crowley knows

“It’s the longest Hail Mary pass in the history of either football or Marys.”
Barney Frank

“I understand that the candidates are putting together a joint statement at Senator Obama’s suggestion. But it would not be helpful at this time to have them come back during these negotiations and risk injecting presidential politics into this process or distract important talks about the future of our nation’s economy. If that changes, we will call upon them. We need leadership; not a campaign photo op.”
Harry Reid

Shorter Ben Burton: We’re already working on a joint statement, and it was Obama’s idea.

“Both candidates have been marginal players; McCain, though, seems to have the potential to make himself a major one, and his move is a mark, most of all, that he doesn’t like the way this campaign is going. But in terms of the timing of this move: The only thing that’s changed in the last 48 hours is the public polling.”
Ben Smith

“Isn’t this the campaign equivalent of faking an injury when you’re down late in the 4th quarter?”
John Marshall

Uh, no.
—Barack Obama

Written by gerrycanavan

September 24, 2008 at 8:40 pm

McCain Wants to Cancel the Debate?

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McCain wants to cancel the debate? What?

Republican John McCain said Wednesday he was suspending his White House campaign and asked to put off Friday’s presidential debate over the nation’s financial crisis.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 24, 2008 at 7:02 pm

¡Zapatero!

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“¿Deaf, senile, or insane?” is the subtext of a huge number of posts in Left Blogopolis today after John McCain inscrutably declared that he wouldn’t meet with Spanish president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero as president during an interview yesterday. Credit is due to Josh Marshall for forcing the American media to pay attention to this: it’s since appeared all over, even making Drudge.

For its part, the McCain camp has chosen to go with “insane” as its official explanation for the gaffe:

McCain foreign policy adviser Randy Sheunemann said McCain’s answer was intentional.

“The questioner asked several times about Senator McCain’s willingness to meet Zapatero (and id’d him in the question so there is no doubt Senator McCain knew exactly to whom the question referred). Senator McCain refused to commit to a White House meeting with President Zapatero in this interview,” he said in an e-mail.

Spain, of course, is a long-time American ally, a fellow member of NATO, and a charter alumnae of the Coalition of the Willing™ (2002-2004).

It’s clear to see why they went with “insane” over anything that might signify “old,” but this is genuinely nuts. Benen and Hilzoy each have good posts explaining why. Here’s Benen:

Let’s also not lose sight of the broader pattern. McCain thinks the recent conflict between Russia and Georgia was “the first probably serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War.” He thinks Iraq and Pakistan share a border. He believes Czechoslovakia is still a country. He’s been confused about the difference between Sudan and Somalia. He’s been confused about whether he wants more U.S. troops in Afghanistan, more NATO troops in Afghanistan, or both. He’s been confused about how many U.S. troops are in Iraq. He’s been confused about whether the U.S. can maintain a long-term presence in Iraq. He’s been confused about Iran’s relationship with al Qaeda. He’s been confused about the difference between Sunni and Shi’ia. McCain, following a recent trip to Germany, even referred to “President Putin of Germany.” All of this incoherence on his signature issue.

McCain’s actually lucky if people will stick to talking about his cluelessness on economics today.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 18, 2008 at 5:51 pm