Daily Archives: September 25, 2008

In Which Clarity is Restored

Okay. I feel better now. Yesterday, as many of you may have seen, I was more than a little miffed with John McCain for bowing out of the presidential debate this Friday evening. I was stunned. How could a man running for the most powerful position in the world show such, if you’ll forgive the expression, a streak of yellow?

Well, silly me. I knew it was politics, I just didn’t know to what degree. Or angle, as the case may be. Y’see… well, here, I’ll just link CNN’s political ticker right here on WP.

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, and take place in Oxford, Mississippi, currently slated to be the site of the first presidential faceoff this Friday.

So there you have it. Last night’s suspension of the campaign and refusal to debate had less to do with not wanting to debate Obama than it did not wanting Gov. Palin to debate Joe Biden. Small wonder; he’s going to chop her up into itty bitty peices, chew her up and spit her out.

Sen. McCain, if you are this afraid for Gov. Palin, why on earth did you choose her as a running mate?

Around the World in 40 Days or: Sarah Palin’s World Leaders Photojournal

So with about 40 days left til the general, some brilliant individual over at the McCain campaign finally figured out that being able to “see Russia from [her] back yard” isn’t really the same thing as foriegn policy experience. Enter the Magical Diplomacy Tour idea.

Premise: parade Sarah, as photographed by the press corps, in front of as many world leaders as is humanly possible in four days. Ordinarily I would write this off as a cheap stunt, but let’s face it…after her cringeworthy interview with Katie Couric and how “mean” the press is being to her by reporting the facts about her, the woman can use all the good press she can get.

Maureen Dowd, for one, remains unimpressed:

I don’t agree with those muttering darkly that the picture of Gov. Sarah Palin with a perky smile and shapely gams posing with a pleased Henry Kissinger, famous for calling power the ultimate aphrodisiac, is a sign of the apocalypse.

It isn’t even a sign of the apocalipstick.

Gotta love the woman.

To be fair, Ms. Palin is playing a game of catch-up against a competitor who has had years to build his foreign policy resume. However; I’m not sure parading her in front of the press and some pervy Pakistanis telling her what a babe she is is any more of an endorsement than Laura Bush saying she catches on real quick. This is the same woman who says history will vindicate her husband.

In addition, it seems Ms. Palin isn’t discussing much with these world leaders once the obligatory photo ops are out of the way. The fact that the press still insists on following her on her It’s-A-Small-World-Express even while it’s made quite clear they’re little more than accomplices as a means to her end is more than a bit mystifying. Kate Snow in particular wasn’t pleased:

SNOW: Outside, a clear shot of her exit. Until, a patrol car and Secret Service SUV just happened to pull up right in front of our cameras. Next up, Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe. They reportedly talked trade. The pool camera got 15 seconds. With Henry Kissinger, even less.

UNIDENTIFIED VOICE TO CAMERA MAN: Would you please turn around and walk out the door? Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you, guys. Please. Thank you.

SNOW: Outside, a quick good-bye. And even quicker exit.

MATTHEW DOWD (ABC News analyst): The campaign is trying to protect themselves and Governor Palin, from putting her in a position where a mistake can be made.

SNOW: While Governor Palin played diplomat, husband Todd and the kids were secretly sight-seeing, taking pictures in front of the Statue of Liberty, visiting Ground Zero, eating hot dogs in Central Park. And trying on princess dresses at FAO Schwartz. Constantly in motion, Palin side-stepped questions and fans as she was whisked from one meeting to the next.

So quit encouraging her! This is obviously a publicity stunt. Take the cameras and go find another story. Heaven knows we have enough going on with the economy to keep everyone busy. Bloody hell, to think a few weeks ago I was annoyed at McCain for invoking Paris Hilton. I didn’t think, then, that he was going to put someone equally vacuous on the ticket. In fact, Palin’s worse than Hilton. At least Hilton knows she’s nothing more than a vapid heiress. Palin actually thinks she’s relevant.

It Isn’t About Leadership. It’s About Perception.

I’ve spent the past 15 hours or so, when not sleeping, watching the talking heads. I’ve even tuned in to Fox news just to make sure their eyeballs haven’t exploded trying to work their poor abused heads around the idea that capitalism is what got us into this mess. Rest assured; Fox News has learned nothing from the current crisis.

It’s been an instructive 15 hours (aside from the sleeping bit).  The pundits all seem to be focusing on

a. Whether or not “The Bailout* ” is a good thing and

b. Whether John McCain rushing back to Washington and suspending his campaign is a gambit or concern.

None of them seem to be able to answer A, and the jury is hung on B. Only one person, The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, got it right. Last night while discussing the move by McCain to suspend his campaign and the debate, Chris said “Anyone who thinks that anything a candidate does this close to an election isn’t about politics, doesn’t know much about politics.” And the truth shall set you free.

Don’t think it’s true? Well, let’s take a look at what’s being said by the McCain camp. This morning, John McCain’s spokeswoman Nicole Wallace actually sidestepped the question to both Joe Scarborough and Matt Lauer. She told Scarborough “Is that what you thought? I think the American people will remember the bipartisan message coming from both candidates.” Really, Ms Wallace? Is that why John McCain rushed out to make the first statement? So that everyone would remember the joint statement that came later? Way to underestimate the intelligence of the American people. The reason for that was fairly transparent, and we all know it. It was politics, pure and simple. Ms. Wallace’s remarks to Matt Lauer here. In both cases, she seems reluctant to actually answer the question put to her, namely: “If the joint message about fixing the problem was what was important, what was your guy doing if it wasn’t upstaging?” I’m more than a little annoyed that two seasoned journalists were unable to force an answer to that question and let it go at a ridiculous hand waving justification.

Neither Sen. McCain nor Sen. Obama are part of the committee attempting to solve this economic crisis. At this point, the Repugs are dragging their feet against passing anything in order to correct the situation, and there’s no foreseeable solution. If no one blinks, what then? We put the election on hold, too?

Sen. Jim Demint just said that “new thinking” is needed on the issue, and he “trusts the free market.” Okay, Sen. Demint; isn’t that WHAT GOT US INTO THE PROBLEM IN THE FIRST PLACE?!  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said infusing presidential politics in the situation will only muddy the waters. Chuck Hagel said last night that everyone in Washington knows the meetings in the Oval Office isn’t where the work gets done; it’s the breakaway meetings AFTER those meetings that actually accomplishes something.

Which leads us right back to: Why the hell are we ONLY focusing on this crisis? We also have TWOT (the war on terror) going on. Should we put government on hold until Sen. McCain comes up with a solution for that as well? And….WHO has a messiah complex again, please?

Ladies and gentlemen, let us buy a clue, if necessary. We cannot simply keep putting things on hold because something comes up. We deserve to know who will be leading us, regardless of which candidate is chosen. It IS our country, after all. We’re the ones making the decision. We deserve to have all the data we can get before we make what may well be the most important choice of our lives.

Senator McCain, step up. Heroes do not run from a challenge, sir.

*I think it’s deserving of Caps. In 75 years, school kids are going to learn about the Great Globalization Crisis of ’08. They’re gonna want to know why we were so stoopid.