Wondering Out Loud

McCain & Obama: DC and debate or bust

OK, I’ve had a chance to hear both McCain’s and Obama’s statements regarding the pending monetary meltdown. McCain wants both suspend their campaigns, postpone Friday’s debate and head back to DC to find a way out of this mess.

Obama’s plan is to continue the campaign, keep his date with the debate – because the American People want to see the two of them duking it out – and will head back to DC if his presence is needed.

Personally, I think either tactic – and let’s face it their decisions are tactical – is perfectly fine and both stated their cases well, but both also blew an opportunity to show real leadership. You decide for yourself who blew it worst.

First McCain:His call to return to DC is noble on the surface. The US and, by extension, the world are facing a potential financial disaster and leadership is needed.  It only makes sense that the two men hoping to be the next president should be in DC with the bailout plan floundering as it is. After all, in less than 4 months one of these guy is going to be at the helm and the problems we’re facing damn sure won’t be over. Under the surface it is a brilliant tactical move. Not long ago he took an unpopular stance in favor of the surge in Iraq saying he would rather lose and election in order to win a war. This is the economic equivalent.  He is apparently willing to lose the debate and potentially the election in order to do what he can to shore up the economy and prevent a catastrophe the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Great Depression.  This is all well and good, but he blew it when he called for a postponement of the debate.  We, the people, have been waiting for this debate and he and Obama can certainly take time out to debate as planned. I think he overplayed the leadership hand here. I don’t believe, like many of the Obama supporters I’ve been following, that it’s a sign of weakness or a lack of confidence. That kind of talk is partisan nonsense. But it did open the door for Obama to take a shot at McCain saying a president has to be able to manage multiple crisis at one time – how true that is.

Now Obama:Obama is correct that the debate should go on, to miss this opportunity to go before the American people is unwise. Others have reminded us that, before Obama claimed the nomination last summer, McCain offered, and Obama accepted, a plan to do 10 town hall meetings. Had Obama not backed out, we would have seen quite a bit of the two by now. That said, Obama blew it when he said during his press conference that he would be available to go to DC if he is needed. Bad move. I know he’s not supposed to agree with McCain on anything, but here is an opportunity to step to the fore and show America, and the world, his capacity to lead. He swung and missed at this one. Following McCain’s lead and going back to DC is a no-brainer. He’ll get more TV face-time – one on one – than he will on the stump and he’ll be able to claim he was part of the fix. Instead, while McCain is in DC doing the heavy lifting, Obama will be on the road, consulting with his advisers and Secretary Paulson, and waiting for the Obamaphone to ring. With the bailout leading every newscast, The action is in DC and his decision to stay on the road is not a sound one.

My take:Leaving the stump is a good idea – strategically speaking – but it’s not necessary to completely suspend the campaigns. Obama and McCain each have surrogates – not to mention VP candidates – who can continue to travel the country ginning up votes. Obama should take heed and go back to DC. Although with Obama’s VPC, Biden, being a Senator as well, that could be problematic. Going back to DC to be part of the discussion and negotiation is a winning move for both. Unfortunately in politics that won’t work because the two have to be in constant conflict, or so they think. The debate has got to go on. If McCain doesn’t show it’ll be a sign of weakness. I personally think he’d clean Obama’s clock on foreign policy, the theme of Friday’s showdown, but that doesn’t matter. It’ll be spun as weakness and weakness it’ll be. McCain, get thee to Mississippi.

The bottom line: McCain wins this round, but if he doesn’t show up in Mississippi on Friday night, he could lose a lot more than he won.


September 25, 2008 - Posted by | Miscellaneous | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] events of yesterday, which I posted about here, got me hearkening back to a few weeks ago when Russia invaded Georgia and the dramatically […]

    Pingback by Obama’s fundamental problem « Wondering Out Loud | September 26, 2008 | Reply

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