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Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain’s Very Bad Week

posted by on September 26 at 11:10 AM

This week is a total disaster, politics-wise, for John McCain. Maybe he’ll blow everyone’s mind at the debate tonight and as a result his strange gambits over the last few days will be forgotten. But I doubt that.

Let’s review, briefly.

McCain began the week with his standing in the polls sinking, the economy imploding, and Sarah Palin continuing to give embarrasing interviews (and, for the most part, not giving public interviews, which was also embarrassing). On Wednesday, trying to get the spotlight back on himself and attempting to appear presidential and above politics, McCain announced he would be suspending his campaign and heading back to D.C. to help push an economic rescue plan through, and that he would not be attending the presidential debate on Friday if the economy wasn’t saved by then.

That’s quite a marker to throw down. And if you do that, you better be thinking several steps ahead about possible moves by your opponents. But it seems like McCain wasn’t.

First, Obama gave a press conference in Florida announcing that he believed the debate should go on, and saying, essentially, that a president needs to be able to multi-task. He also warned that injecting presidential politics into complex economic negotiations in D.C. could be a bad idea.

Then, when McCain landed in D.C., it turned out that lawmakers were already close to an economic bailout deal. Without him. Then, at a big White House meeting that McCain appears to have requested, the deal fell apart. (Who predicted that?)

Then, today, still with no deal, McCain put his tail between his legs, reversed himself, and put out a statement saying he would be at the debate despite the little progress being made.

Thats a total reversal, and again, a total disaster.

McCain, through a series of impulsive decisions, has managed this week to set traps for himself and give Obama an opportunity to look calm, deliberative, multi-tasky, and presidential. At the same time, McCain has left a lot of people with the impression that all he does is create an atmosphere of utter confusion around himself—an atmosphere that impedes real progress.

I don’t know how much of this week’s machinations will filter through to the general public. And, of course, more drama at the debate could sweep all of this out of the media spotlight. But if this week enters the collective consciousness as an object lesson in how McCain would run the country, then McCain is toast.

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Sentences like this :

"And, of course, more drama at the debate could sweep all of this out of the media spotlight."

,,,really chap my ass. Why should that be so? Is the media also incapable of "multitasking"? Just because something "new" happens means we can no longer talk about something(s) that happened in the (still very recent) past?

And when you make irresponsible statements like this - about what probably MIGHT happen, you give it a better chance of ACTUALLY happening. Way to go. Keep up the douche work.

Posted by Treat 'em like sheep and that's how they'll act | September 26, 2008 11:16 AM

I'm inclined to agree, but my friend brought up last night how much McCain's campaign was flailing in the early primaries and how he seemed by all accounts to be toast. He might have something up his sleeve yet (aside from friends at Diebold, that is).

Posted by Levislade | September 26, 2008 11:17 AM

McCain didn't have anything up his sleeve during the primaries - he was simply the last man standing after everyone else died on their own. He was the least objectionable candidate and Winner Take All primaries with a divided field allow him to rack up a lead that no one could ever catch up to.

Remember, despite being the defacto nominee since February 5th, he finished with less than half the primary vote.

Posted by whatwhat | September 26, 2008 11:28 AM

Also, don't underestimate this week's torching by Letterman.

It's amazing that McCain's handlers this week dismissed the show as mere "comedy", even though McCain chose the Letterman show to announce his candidacy in the spring of '07.

Posted by Joe M | September 26, 2008 11:34 AM

I think there's a strong current coming that could change the relative position of Obama vs McCain on the economy.

I could never vote for a Republican because of social issues but I'm worried about this.

EVERYONE (left and right) is talking about people buying homes that they can't afford. Eventually people are going to connect the dots to folks like Barney Frank wanting to make housing "affordable".

Posted by daniel | September 26, 2008 11:37 AM

daniel, the sad thing is; if you want to make housing "affordable" you gotta let the market clear all the junk out of the system and not create an artificial floor.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 26, 2008 11:44 AM

McCain seems to have almost singlehandedly subverted the attempt to save the economy because it didn't comport with his plan to take credit for everything.

This is the most damning piece of info I think I've read about McCain in a week filled with damning info:

"a top aide to Mr. Boehner... Kevin Smith, said Republicans revolted, in part, because they were chafing at what they saw as an attempt by Democrats to jam through an agreement on the bailout early Thursday and deny Mr. McCain an opportunity to participate in the agreement."

Posted by Trevor | September 26, 2008 11:48 AM

OBama gaining in polls slowly; the real clear no toss up view shows VA and CO now in Obama camp putting him at 286 with 270 needed to win.

I wouldn't say McCain's week was a failure yet. The whole bailout package is going to dominate the rest of the campaign. If the Dems give in the GOP plan, then McCain will be saying "I ensured we just didn't had out $700B to those rich guys on Wall St." He will actually be able to tie Dems and Obama to....GW Bush! That's his plan anyway. I don't know if it will work. Not opining on that. ANd duh not saying I want his plan or him. I am liking the fact that the Dem plan now has an equity statke in it and I would like to see more help directly to mortgage holders in distress as a certain former pres. candidate urged in WSJ yesterday. And most of all if the Dems in Congress can't get the House GOP to along then feck 'em and have the balls Dems for once in yoru life and pass it anyway, please stop kowtowing to the GOP -- and McCAin -- when you ahve the voters. Talk back to McCain "yes you wanted a free market insurance solution and that wouldn't prevent meltdown plus we needed direct help to mortgageholders in distress, now. You guys were gambling with the solution just like your free market wild gambling theory caused the problem in teh first place," then picot to overall growth, health etc.

Yr. humble crrspdt,

Posted by PC | September 26, 2008 11:49 AM

McCain is acting like the Senatorial Minority Leader.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 26, 2008 11:51 AM

I'm really starting to see the Palin choice as a dealbreaker. Her interview with Couric will be going viral over the next couple days so it may take a week or so to see the full effect in the polls.

The guy from the Young Turks does a really good job of calling her out. Fast forward to about 5:30 if you just want to hear the funniest bits.

Posted by DavidC | September 26, 2008 11:52 AM

Sure I guess I'm not sure exactly what you mean. It seems like someone like Barney Frank wants to make housing "affordable", prices can't come down, not really easy to do that and besides homeowners will freak out.

Instead jazz the lending standards to make it possible for lower income people to afford houses. Basically everybody gets on board with this, it's like a no-lose social program, you're trying to get lower income people into houses but you're also driving up the value of the middle class's homes.

But we knew it couldn't last. I mean how long have we been talking about the value of the dollar, the average amount of CC debt of Americans, etc.

The problem here is that McCain said some stuff that sounds great about Fannie, and Frank said some stuff that sounds terrible. And Obama doesn't really have a record at all.

The lobbyist money is sick. Obama doesn't look good on this. Rick Davis looks like shit, I mean that wasn't even campaign contributions that was money in his pocket.

Posted by daniel | September 26, 2008 11:52 AM

I liked this article in the London Times, "This is the Election you Wouldn't Want to Win"

Maybe McCain has been thinking similar thoughts lately?

Posted by PopTart | September 26, 2008 11:55 AM

McCain is toast.

He would be, if he weren't running against a black man.

Obama should have a 80 point lead by now. I hate this country sometimes.

Posted by Mike in MO | September 26, 2008 11:58 AM

don't forget about october's terrorist attack.

Posted by chet | September 26, 2008 12:07 PM

Except this will have no effect on the morons who were going to vote for them (he & Palin) anyway.

Posted by elswinger | September 26, 2008 12:08 PM

i'd like to see you try & sell this analysis to the drunk hillbillies in the earlier post.

they don't give a fuck about the economy; they're already poor.

Posted by max solomon | September 26, 2008 12:12 PM

oh, and PC, I'd like to point out how wrong you've been over the past 3 days.

go back and read your posts.

Posted by chet | September 26, 2008 12:12 PM

But... Dan keeps telling me to panic.

Posted by JC | September 26, 2008 12:13 PM

Mentioning McCain's role in passing the deregulatory measures that led to this crisis during the 70's and 80's would absolutely sink him.

Posted by Gomez | September 26, 2008 12:25 PM

"multi-tasky" is fun to say...

Posted by i have a medium penis | September 26, 2008 12:42 PM

The latest state polls are very encouraging...inching AHEAD in VA and NH and NC...a point behind in FL...and it's looking like MO is back in play.

Posted by michael strangeways | September 26, 2008 12:50 PM

Obama should say "no, John, I'm going to sit in Florida for the next three days preparing for a debate at which you will not show up, while you go back to DC and start making news from DC about the bailout, making you look like a leader in tough times, and leaving me looking like an idiot" is pretty fucking stupid advice.

Now is the time for Obama to lead. Debate prep isn't leading.

Unity y'all--

Posted by PC flashback | September 26, 2008 1:02 PM


Posted by Sad Comment | September 26, 2008 1:05 PM

Chet @14:
1. You Suck
2. You're correct

Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber | September 26, 2008 1:26 PM

"It's time for House Republicans to come to the negotiating table and for presidential politics to leave the negotiating table,"

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said this morning. "I asked for (Sen. McCain) to take a stand on the issue. But all he has done is stand in front of the cameras. We still don't know where he stands on the issue."

...and for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to stop, in their view, impeding the process by injecting presidential politics into what were already tough negotiations.

Reid this morning implied that House Republicans seemed on board until McCain returned to town and inserted himself in the process.

The process was on track, Reid said, "and then guess who came to town?"

McInsane and his Theater of the Absurd!

Posted by one4REALchange | September 26, 2008 2:06 PM

When we look back on this, this will be just one in a long series of very bad weeks for the Cialis spokesman former Senator McCain.

Posted by Will in Seattle | September 27, 2008 12:08 AM

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