All washed up
Watched the the first debate between Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama last night. McCain showed up after announcing on Wednesday that he was “suspending his campaign” in the face of the dire Wall Street Emergency and the financial “bail-out” being hammered out in Washington, which he gravely told us couldn’t be done without his help.
Twenty-two hours later, after taking part in two televised campaign interviews and speaking at a special event in New York City (during which he rehashed his campaign talking points), he finally went to Washington. There, he met with Codpiece, Obama, Nancy Pelosi and a few other high muckety-mucks — and didn’t say a word for most of the hour-long meeting. As you’ve probably heard, there was a deal. And then Republicans did an about face and there wasn’t a deal. Not only did McCain not add anything helpful to the process, he was also completely unneeded.
Nor did he actually “suspend” his campaign. Along with the abovementioned interviews and speeches he did during the first 22 hours after announcing the “suspension,” his campaign ads continued to run on television and radio, McCain campaign branch offices all over the country were open for business, and his website was online, complete with an ad saying that he’d “won the debate” before he’d even actually debated with Obama. Nevertheless, he had the gall to tell Obama that he, too, should “suspend” his campaign, citing a national crisis.
Obama ignored him.
As part of this stunt, McCain tried to get the first presidential debate delayed unless there was a bail-out deal on the books by Friday. The delay would have necessarily bumped the Palin-Biden debate next Tuesday to some other, unannounced time (maybe in December?), which could well have been the real reason for the whole sordid stunt in the first place.
Obama was having none of it, however, reasonably suggesting that a president should be able to handle more than one thing at a time. Obama said he’d be in Mississippi for the debate whether McCain showed up or not.
Yesterday, Friday, there was still no Wall Street bail-out deal. And McCain, whose stunt hadn’t worked, had a choice. He could refuse to debate Obama as promised, thereby giving Obama an unprecedented opportunity to speak directly to the nation for 90 prime-time minutes without commercial interruption. Or he could slink to Mississippi and participate in the debate after all. He chose the latter.
But oh, Mr. McCain was not a happy camper. He barely looked at Obama throughout the debate. He was openly condescending and contemptuous, calling his opponent “naive” and insisting that he “didn’t understand” about important issues. And McCain refused to speak directly to Obama, though such interaction between the two was a part of the debate design he’d agreed to weeks ago, and which he had to have known before he walked on stage.
While both men were strong in their answers to the questions they were asked, McCain was rattled, angry, and combative. Obama, on the other hand, was cool, calm and collected throughout.
McCain did himself no favors by pulling this idiotic stunt, but it wasn’t his first. Choosing Sarah Palin as a running mate, who’s obviously, woefully unqualified to be Vice President of the United States, was McCain’s biggest and most jawdropping stunt. He chose Palin not for her ability to lead, her mental brilliance or her experience, but as a token Christianist female to lure in female voters and appease his base: the Christianist fundamentalists and conservative right-wingers. She’s attractive and she has boobs. That’s all he cared about.
Both stunts were craven and dishonest. And they backfired. Watch Obama’s pick for VP Joe Biden tear McCain a new one after the debate ended. It’s basically a coup de gras:
I think John McCain is all washed up.