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Rhetoretician -- Fiction etc.

Debate Delay Rant

Debate Delay Rant

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As someone who has always admired John McCain for a lot of reasons, I'm disappointed by his request to postpone the first presidential debate so that he can work on the financial bailout deal.

There are 98 U.S. Senators who aren't John McCain or Barak Obama, not to mention 435 members of the House. I simply don't believe that all 533 of them are so incompetent that they can't create a viable agreement without the Guiding Hand of John McCainTM to help them. If I thought that McCain really believed that, I'd be concerned that he was having delusions of grandeur.

But he doesn't really believe it.  McCain's been losing ground in the polls in the last few weeks, and the first presidential debate always helps the less well-known candidate (in this case, Obama). By putting off the date of the debate, he lessens its impact. By claiming to do so because of a national emergency, he makes himself look like a "responsible leader" instead of the cynical politician I'm starting to think he is.

The choice of the upcoming presidential election is easily as urgent as the economic crisis. We need all the information we can get. Senator McCain is needed there more than he's needed at the bargaining table.
  • I guess we're in a lot of trouble if they need the Guiding Hand of John McCainTM.

    Think of this way. He gets to duck and get a photo op out of it. No, it's just not McCain. Obama is getting his too. Although I'll give credit to Obama for thinking faster on his feet.

    They aren't true debates anyway. That would really put the audience to sleep. Instead, they get to recite answers from old speeches.

    Sigh...I'm so cynical, I could cry.
    • Hi Rachel. Yeah, I know it's not a real debate, but it's still the only chance we get to see them talking about important issues in the same room. It's not ideal (by any means) but it's better than nothing.

      As for Obama, I don't really know what else he could have said. The proposal is ridiculous, but how to say so without looking like you're shirking your responsibility?
  • I disagree. This debate was to be on foreign policy, no? (If not, I'm sorry but I read that somewhere.) If so, that is an advantage for McCain to look better than Obama. And you can bet that if I had the possibility of leading the country in the near future, I'd want to be involved in this bailout decision right now.

    I think it's silly to think a man who survived years of torture in a POW camp and has come this far in a campaign for president would run from his first presidential debate like a scared little kid. The country is in crisis, he wants to be there to work things out. I respect that.

    • Hi, Annette. Yes, the debate was going to be on foreign policy, and it's entirely possible that McCain would look better there. But in terms of poll results, the outcome of the first debate has been pretty consistent across the board since 1976. People like you & me forget how disengaged a lot of the U.S. electorate is; at the time of the first debate, a huge number of them have never even seen the lesser-known candidate, or haven't heard him say anything for more than a five-second sound byte. McCain has been a nationally-known figure since at least 2000, and probably earlier; Obama's prominence is of more recent vintage. Failing a major gaffe by Obama, the first debate is bound to help him. (The second and third debates are an entirely different matter.)

      Of course McCain wouldn't run scared from a debate. But making a tactical decision to delay a debate for political advantage is another matter. The Palin selection demonstrated the high level of strategic subtlety that that campaign commands; the Democrats fell for it utterly, and if it hadn't been for the last two weeks' economic crisis news they'd still be locked in their feedback loop.

      As for wanting to be in Washington to work things out, I'd respect that too, under other circumstances. But the whole Congress and the Administration are engaged in this negotiation; they don't really need McCain or Obama. We do need McCain and Obama to help us decide between them in this election, which is going to have a huge impact, probably including the reprecussions of the current crises and possibly involving other, even more difficult and dangerous issues. Yes, I'd like to be there to help carve out the solution too, but I'm not walking away from my job to do it.

      And of course McCain doesn't walk away from his job either. His job, right now, is running for President. He knows that; he's not walking away from it. That's my point. This is his way of running for President.
  • Just another reason for me not to vote for McCain. We , the State of Mississippi, have alot invested in this and not just financially. My 16 year-old's friends who usually could not care less about politics are all upset. Schools across the state have really gone all out to involve the kids in the process. I hope they are not all disappointed by this man's grandstanding.
    • Hi Helen.

      As I say, I've admired McCain for a long time. That's why this action disappoints me.

      It's good to hear that students are getting involved in electoral politics. Hopefully this time it will stay with them and they'll be an engaged adult generation too. (Yeah, I know, but I can hope...)
  • I'm just delighted that this isn't *my* election... What a mess. *shakes head*

    (signed: Ursula) *grins*
    • Oh, well, if it comes to that, most national elections in the U.S. are an undigified, unfocussed, undisciplined mess. We sometimes do better in local elections, though.
  • Well looks like it's back on!
    • Which tells me more than ever that is wasn't a ploy, but a sincere concern on McCain's part, otherwise why would he want to look like he's changing his mind on a whim?
      • That—or he's madly reading the polling numbers and realized that the public response to his plan to skip the debate wasn't exactly positive.
  • Like you, I have always respected John McCain for his integrity and independence. So far I'm disappointed.

    Someone on my flist who's (even) more cynical than I am pointed out that just as cynical a maneuver was his response to the idea that he shouldn't skip a debate was to suggest that this one could be scheduled to replace the VP debate. After her first flush, Sarah Palin's negatives have been growing, and she's not a particularly skilled debater; perhaps he was also trying to hide her.

    And of course, McCain's insistence that his presence was essential brought my old high school Civics dander up: which house of Congress oversees taxing and spending again?

    I haven't watched the debate—my wife and I had a command performance social event at her school tonight. I'm holding my breath.
    • Hi, AC. Is it the House that oversees spending? I thought the House & Senate did it together... *Runs to find that old copy of the Constitution buried under the tennis racquet*

      Did you like the LPW drabble?
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