John McCain called off Friday's debate by saying that he didn't want to participate in partisan politics until this crisis had been addressed. He then said that he was suspending his campaign and flying back to Washington to help in the negotiations. I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds this almost laughable. John McCain is going to try and get into the middle of negotiations about a topic which he has stated, more than once, is not his strong suit. This is the same John McCain who hasn't made it to a vote in the Senate since April. This is the same John McCain who lobbied against the new G.I. Bill, then didn't bother to show to vote for it and then received credit for it's passage by George Bush. This is the same John McCain who didn't show up to vote on the new energy bill or the Medicaid bill. This is the same John McCain who just last week said that the "fundamentals of the economy" were strong. This is the same John McCain who was disciplined by the Congress for his role in the S&L disaster. This is the John McCain who now wants us to believe that his leadership is absolutely required to help out on a deal that according to those closest to the negotiations is practically done.
A spokesman for the McCain campaign said that perhaps the debate could be delayed until next week. Of course next week is the Vice Presidential debate, which the same spokesman said might also be "delayed" until the crisis was over. Now why on earth would they need to delay the VP debate? Could it be that Sarah Palin has to rush to Washington to help out in the negotiations as well? Oh, that's right, she's not a Senator. But apparently she would be so "involved" that the debate would be out of the question. It couldn't have anything to do with her invoking the prospect of a "Great Depression" in her interview with Katie Couric, could it? There's nothing American public appreciates more from it's leaders than for them to fill us with confidence by saying that we might be on the verge of the worst economic collapse that the country has seen in almost a century. Great work Sarah. The McCain campaign can't get you away from a microphone fast enough.
This gambit by McCain has been roundly criticized in the press as a "political ploy". I think that McCain was unprepared to talk about the economy on Friday night. The debate was supposed to focus on foreign policy, but with the current situation, it is clear that at least some of the time would be spent addressing the proposed bailout and the effect that it would have on the world economy. I would ask Senator McCain if FDR called for a timeout when Pearl Harbor was attacked, or did Churchill call for a timeout when London was bombed night after night? Did Kennedy ask for a timeout during the Cuban Missile Crisis? The answer, just in case Senator McCain is a little fuzzy on his history, is NO. To try and make the claim that taking two hours on Friday to debate with Barack Obama is going to somehow make or break and agreement on this financial bailout plan is absolutely ridiculous.
The McCain camp seems to be grasping at straws these days. McCain seems to change his strategy every day. One day he's against bailing out AIG, the next day he's for it. One day he wants to fire the head of the SEC and the next day he's saying what a decent man he is. One day he's all for deregulation and the next day he's calling for greater government oversight of financial markets. One day the financial crisis is a time for bipartisan efforts to deal with the problem and the next day it's all Barack Obama's fault. I'm not sure what's going on over at McCain headquarters but they could certainly use a timeout. Unfortunately, this is not a football game. The action cannot be stopped just because one party thinks that he needs some time off. Unfortunately for John McCain, we can't just call the whole thing off.