Earlier today, I mentioned both thoughts I had for potential posts as well as my mixed feelings of John McCain’s decision to suspend his campaign to focus on the Wall Street bailout.
As I said at the time, I have mixed feelings on McCain’s decision. On the one hand, I do think it shows resolve to confront head-on the most important issue facing the country at the present time. On the other hand, it does look like a political stunt.
Jonah Goldberg thinks politically is a “shrewd even wise” move: “It demonstrates McCain’s willingness to make politics and partisanship a secondary concern.” Â Rich Miniter agrees:
It makes McCain look engaged in solving the number one issue on the minds of Americans, right now. It gives him a bigger bully pulpit to fight the Christmas tree of legislation that is winding its way through Congress now (even student and car loans have been added to the bailout).
Read the whole thing. Â Rich also see some downsides to the move.
This follows, what I would argue, has been the worst week for the McCain campaign. Instead of responding to the Wall Street mess by pointing to the legislation he had proposed and/or promoted over the years to reform Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (which are at the core of this problem), he lashed out at Obama before finally finding his footing on Friday.
While McCain was the first (of the two candidates) to propose a solution, he allowed Obama to appear more level-headed. Not just that, Obama has no record of reform here, no attempts (like McCain) to work across the aisle to craft legislation to address then-looming crisis. Obama could warn and call for. McCain acted.Â
Bill Kristol summed up the situation pretty well:
. . . it was a poor week for the McCain campaign (though the candidate did begin to right the ship with a sensible speech Friday morning in Green Bay). To be fair, the right response to the financial crisis wasn’t so clear, either substantively or politically. Obama played it smart by basically doing and saying nothing–and simply seized on McCain’s mistakes. McCain’s flailing allowed the Obama campaign, which had been off balance for almost a month, to regain its footing.
That said, McCain may well have seized the initiative again with his move, but it’s way too soon to tell.
It is amazing how Obama, by playing it “cool” has surged ahead in most (but not all) polls even by doing nothing. Perhaps, McCain’s suspesnsion will expose the emptiness of his opponent’s rhetoric. Or perhaps people will see this as the political equivalent of a “Hail Mary” pass.
If the media were covering this campaiagn fairly, we would know that John McCain did something to try to prevent this crisis from happening while Obama sat silent in the Senate. Â And that the Republican nominee righted himself last Friday with his excellent speech in Green Bay.
Maybe this move was necessary to highlight his record.