In a political shocker today, John McCain announced that he would suspend his campaign for president and head back to Washington to work on solving the economic crisis with Congress.
McCain also called for the postponement of Friday night’s debate between Obama and McCain.
When did he want it rescheduled? October 2, coincidentally, the very same day the Vice Presidential debate is scheduled between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. McCain wants the VP debate to then be rescheduled for a later date.
As I wrote on Tuesday, John McCain thinks the American Public is stupid, and this is another excellent example of that.
Clearly this is a political ploy. It is a photo opp for John McCain, a chance for him to be seen "doing something" with Congress. And it is a desperate stab of an attempt to continue to keep Sarah Palin out of the public eye for as long as possible, a move that is looking more and more necessary for Team McCain as the days go by.
McCain’s sudden interest in his duties as a Senator is laughable.
Sure, any presidential candidate who happens to be a member of Congress is going to have a hard time making it back to Washington for every vote, but McCain has missed a staggering 64.1% of the votes during the 110th Congress (2007 - 2008), almost 20% more than Obama’s 45.9% missed - and remember Obama was bogged down in a very lengthy Primary Campaign until June while McCain sat on the sidelines waiting for his opponent.
McCain’s whopping 412 missed votes over the past two years are the most missed in the U.S. Senate. Obama ranks number three in missed votes with 295.
So who is between them at number two? Democratic Senator Tim Johnson from South Dakota, who spent several months recovering from a brain hemorrhage which he suffered in late 2006. Johnson missed 48.4% of the votes, or almost 16% fewer than McCain missed. Fortunately, Johnson has returned to the Senate.
McCain hasn’t been there in five months.
For Obama’s part, he plans to leave Florida tomorrow, where he has been doing debate preparation, and head to Washington for a meeting with President Bush and John McCain at The White House.
Obama, however, seems quite confident that his time in Washington will not make it impossible for him to debate John McCain Friday night. As Obama himself said on Wednesday "Presidents have to deal with more than one thing at a time."
Senator McCain, however, is making an effort to capitalize on this crisis by running around and telling anyone who will listen that he cares more about America than winning an election. He and Palin love to say "Country First".
The truth is, John McCain is putting John McCain first, not the country.
He is in full panic mode and he understands that his golden opportunity to make up some ground on Obama was Friday night’s scheduled foreign policy debate, but now that the economic crisis has taken center stage the focus of the debate is likely to shift a great deal.
The economy is one of McCain’s weakest topics and dealing with it, rather than the topic of foreign policy, is something Sen. McCain just simply would prefer not to do. But, unfortunately, as president he will not be able to select when and what type of crisis hits. He’ll have to be prepared for all of them. He better get used to it if he wants to continue to be taken seriously as a candidate.
In addition to McCain’s debate problem, though, he is also beginning to figure out that his running mate, whom he met only once in his life prior to selecting her, has a debate problem of her own - she is completely unprepared for facing Joe Biden.
So the Senator from Arizona decided to gamble that this economic crisis was going to give him and Palin both a way to distract the public while the two of them slithered out of their debate commitments. There is nothing "country first" about that. In fact, when it comes down to it this is nothing more than a "McCain First" moment.