Rope-A-Dope

By now, of course, you have all heard that John McCain, whose love of country and capacity for personal sacrifice know no equal, has sorrowfully set aside his personal ambitions to answer, once again, the call of duty.

It is hard to find fault with Mr. McCain’s ostensible purpose here. One can certainly argue that it is entirely appropriate for the Senate’s most influential member to drop whatever else he might be doing and show up for work at a time like this, and so Mr. McCain is perfectly positioned to affect wounded indignation should anyone make the cruelly cynical suggestion that he is motivated solely by his lust for the glittering prize that suddenly seems to be slipping away. It is a brilliant tactic, and indeed it may well be more than just a tactic: even though both sides are predictably applying the spin that suits their needs, the beauty of this move is that it serves both purposes — playing for the high ground in the political skirmish, and actually helping to get this crisis under control — equally well.

If nothing else, we must give the man full marks for having made this presidential campaign some of the best political theater I’ve seen in my 52 years, first with his selection of the ostentatiously underqualified populist mascot Sarah Palin as his understudy, and now with this clever gambit.

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19 Comments

  1. KMoore says

    McCain & Obama are not on the committees that are negotiating this bailout. Their presence only politicizes a critical time where bipartisianship is attempting to take place. McCain rushing to Washington – grandstanding. McCain is avoiding the American people and using this crisis as an out. The American people have a right to hear these candidates for president now, time is short and we have a right to hear them.

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 3:10 pm | Permalink
  2. JK says

    Well Malcolm,

    Look at this from the bright side. He did pull his campaign ads off the airwaves (for how long, who knows). I for one rather enjoy the momentary return to leggy beauties hawking Fords.

    Maybe this was far more strategic than we give him credit for. I’ll bet even he enjoys endorsing skimpily clad beauties far more than those where he dutifully says, after some sort of “yada, yada, yada, I’m John McCain and I approve this commercial.”

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 3:28 pm | Permalink
  3. Malcolm says

    Hi K, and thanks for visiting.

    M & O, though they may not be on the relevant committees, are the most prominent and influential members of the Senate right now — and of their respective parties’ caucuses. They are certainly going to have important roles to play in assembling the votes to pass or block any proposed legislation.

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 3:47 pm | Permalink
  4. Brandon says

    http://www.truthout.org/article/mccain-and-pow-cover-up

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 3:48 pm | Permalink
  5. Malcolm says

    Thanks, Brandon. We’ll have a look.

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 3:54 pm | Permalink
  6. jerry rubin says

    This is pure nonsense, we all know it and should admit it. Besides not being on the committees who first layout the groundwork, he was in NY all last night in interviews and on talk shows. He did not head to Washington. He did not call parties who were negotiating the deal. He did not call Paulson.

    All he called was GWB and said help me!

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 4:14 pm | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    Hi Jerry,

    Well, he’s in Washington now, meeting with the president as we speak.

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 4:30 pm | Permalink
  8. Jean says

    The “immediate crisis” has more to do with Congress’ desire to adjourn for five weeks.
    Rather than the grandstanding which is going on now on both sides as well as in the Oval Office, perhaps Congress needs to stay in Washington a few more days and get the job done. Rushing to get a huge deal done smacks to me of expediency and self-interest. We the common folk who have been watching our retirement accounts shrink are going to be paying top dollar to bail out the Wall Street dudes.

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 4:54 pm | Permalink
  9. Ray says

    John McCain needs to stop making up rules as he goes along. It’s important to hear about what the 2 candidates have to say about our current situation in wars, healthcare, education, and economy. I’m sorry but we need a leader that can walk and chew gum at the same time – the debate is too important as we the people can finally learn more about them.

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 5:15 pm | Permalink
  10. Daniel says

    It’s Mccain’s way or the highway. No townhall meetings… I’ll show you.
    No backing my buddy Bush’s plan…I’ll show you. I’m not going to go to your little debate tomorrow. You…you…you….terrorist.

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 5:49 pm | Permalink
  11. Michael says

    I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a president who micro-manages.

    It’s obvious to anyone with half a brain that neither Obama nor McCain can do anything to significantly help with the economic crisis. McCain himself is admittedly weak on economic principles, and both are presidential candidates — which means they bring all the drama of the presidential race with them, wherever they go, whether they “suspend” their campaign or not. Did we all suddenly stop talking about McCain because of the suspension? No. Would we stop talking about them if they both suspended and “got down to business”? No!

    If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Sometimes the best thing to do is get the f’ out of the way of the people who can solve the problem. Let the committee negotiate without the ALL SEEING EYE OF MSM directly on them. Have the debate, and keep the cameras away from Congress — a lot more can get done when no one is looking to take credit or assign blame.

    I’m glad one of the candidates understands this.

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 7:36 pm | Permalink
  12. sarahdoodle says

    Politics really is an ugly business. I just had a customer in my store and I tried to have a civil conversation and find out her feelings and views regarding this whole bailout/postpone the debates situation. I asked her if we should postpone the debates and she vehemently asserted that we should. I really don’t know what happened next but she said with a sarcastic angry smile on her face “I’ll bet you hate Bush too” to which I replied “yes, I do” and she huffed out without giving me the chance to say that I was trying to have a civil conversation and really wanted to understand her point of view. I really didn’t mean to offend her, but apparently I did and for that I am truely sorry. I want to understand other people’s point of view, but every time I try, people get so angry. I respect the fact that not everyone feels the way I do and I try to be tolerant. But I have to admit, sometimes it is difficult for me because of (what I perceive to be) the sheer stupidity of some people. I’ve started to wonder if the reason the Republican Party votes so often against education legislation is so they can assure themselves of a dumbed-down electorate for years to come. God help us, we need to work on educating every American. I really want to understand the Republican way of thinking, but it just seems so greedy, judgemental, hypocratic and manipulative to me. For example, I saw a snippett of John McCain being introduced at a rally by two guys who were clearly “bikers”, and I asked myself, seriously, would he ever socialize with these guys….NO, but he’ll exploit them to get other “biker” votes. One last observation… When John and Cindy McCain were on the view, one of the ladies asked Cindy how many homes they had and her response was “that’s not part of this campaign” and did not answer the question. I was very disappointed because not one of the ladies responded appropriately by saying “but your husband and his party made it an issue when they accused Mr. Obama of being an elitist”. My heart is so sad that there is such division in this country, but I guess it has always been this way and I guess it always will be.

    Wishing all of you who took time to read this the very best.

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 7:40 pm | Permalink
  13. galia says

    It’s interesting sarahdoddle you noticed on the education. Most of the blogs that we read are by Democrat supporters. Are the Republicans as computer illeterate as Mccain?
    As for postponing the debate, it’s obvious. Palin is not ready for interviews, much less debates. I must admit was a smart move from Mccain advisers. But hey, looks like for Palin supporters it doesn’t really matter if her answer to all the questions will be ” I am wired. I am ready”. And for a lot of men, she is still gorgeous. :))

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 9:37 pm | Permalink
  14. Jeffrey says

    McCain is shameless. He’s using the country’s economic crisis to try to pull his sagging campaign up. This is politics at it’s worst. He’s grandstanding at the expense of all Americans. How much more filthy can his campaign get? And how much longer can Americans fall for this lying crook?

    Let’s not forget his part in the S&L scandal in the 90’s and the need for a government bailout then. Here’s a guy who took thousands of dollars & several trips to the Bahamas courtesy of Charles Keating…and McCain failed to report any of this until he got caught. He was reprimanded by the Senate.

    Let’s reward all of this by making him President!!

    I couldn’t believe when this country elected Bush and, along with the rest of the world, was shocked when he was given another term. If America elects McCain, then it certainly deserves everything it gets.

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 9:39 pm | Permalink
  15. galia says

    One way or the other, justice will prevail! It’s only matter of time.
    The next president will have a tough job though as he inherits this country after Bush with its two wars and financial crisis.

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 9:44 pm | Permalink
  16. JK says

    sarahdoodle, it’s very difficult to have a “civil converstion” these days, as you note. It would seem that all Republicans are Conservatives, all Democrats, well Liberals. If you’ll follow the earlier link that waka provided to Bill V’s piece you’ll notice that a “problem with that picture emerges.”

    I myself, having never voted for a Democrat for President (although I have voted for Dems for both the Senate and the House) and rather consider myself a Conservative, as I read Bill V’s explanation, of late am at odds with myself. I formerly considered the accepted definition of Democrats as Liberals (or more evilly “Socialists.”) I thought the Republicans were the “Non-interfering with Business, No-Tax at all costs” guys were the folks who were most likely to protect the futures of my children as well as my grandchildren.

    In short I assumed the Republicans were the smart guys and the Democrats were, although they meant well, the dumb guys.

    The self-proclaimed Evangelical Conservative Republican goes on TV last night exhorting me to support his former Goldman-Sachs CEO’s plan to pretty much “socialize” the multi-zillion dollar geniuses who created (somehow) what our no-nonsense “let the markets work” President. Paulson, recently CEO of that same Goldman Sachs apparently was exempt from paying the normal 20% penalty on capital gains taxes because he had been tapped to a Federal Office known as Secretary of the Treasury. Apparently the capital gains part was just “a gimme” because that $39 million didn’t approach the $400 million he earned along with other Wall Street guys who invented this gumbo.

    sarahdoodle, I’m uncertain about all this because the only thing I know about “capital gains” is how to spell it. But I do feel the need to reassure you. GW has an Ivy League MBA. He’s appointed a whole bunch of guys, a few women, who will shortly return to Halliburton, Wall Street (or retire) and things will generally sort themselves out.

    I forget who it was who said something like, “a billion or two here, a billion or two there-and pretty soon we’re beginning to talk about real money.” On this site somebody will show up to advise us whether that was said or not. He or she will likely even be able to tell us who or if it was actually said.

    I don’t know the actual amount of any supposed surplus that was bandied about as having been in the hands of the Federal government when GW took office, but supposedly whoever the guy was (being a Liberal-probably cooked the books) and the Conservatives, being Righteously indignant, took whatever that supposedly billion or so whatever surplus and turned it into a $8 or maybe $11 trillion dollar deficit.

    At this point no one can say because in a rare case of bi-partisan comaraderie the really smart-guy politicians got together in Washington DC earlier this afternoon and (likely with the help of some other Wall Street geniuses) figured our a “new and improved recipe for cooking the books.” Thank the Good Lord McCain (probably with sanguine advice from Mrs. Palin) was there to assist).

    As yet no one knows what the ingredients are, no one knows what the ingredients cost, all anyone can agree on is that the burner (whether electric or gas) must be turned to “high” and so the kettle will be left to boil like hell until one of our grandchildren’s kids come along and turn it to a slow simmer.

    sarahdoodle, whatever we’re about to have for supper will be savory. It might not be good for our arteries but you may rest assured, somebody is gonna like it. Probably like it very much.

    However, I’d guess that “civil conversation” will not be on the ingredient list.

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 9:48 pm | Permalink
  17. JK says

    sarahdoodle,

    Just thought I’d run the numbers on my calculator. We Americans (especially those in Government) are always, well the majority, speak in “millions” the government guys mostly speak in “billions” infrequently “trillions.” When it comes to dollars it kinda difficult to get our heads around these sorts of numbers, so:

    One million seconds = 12 or so days. One billion seconds = 32 years. My calculator couldn’t handle the number of centuries it takes for trillions.

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 10:10 pm | Permalink
  18. “a billion or two here, a billion or two there-and pretty soon we’re beginning to talk about real money.”

    Ascribed to Everett Dirksen, former Senate Minority Leader.

    Alex, I’ll take Famous Quotes for $400.

    Posted September 25, 2008 at 10:19 pm | Permalink
  19. JK says

    Thanks Peter. I do rather wish it hadn’t been under “Famous Quotes” though.

    I’m really glad it wan’t a Daily Double.

    Posted September 26, 2008 at 1:42 am | Permalink