David Kirkpatrick

September 24, 2008

Did the wheels come off the McCain campaign today?

The Straight Talk Total BS Express has been pretty creaky lately with the Palin pick proving a net loss and sinking fast. And a major financial crisis that has no end in sight, and certainly no end before the election, crashing onto the head of the candidate who’s on record a number of times explaining his complete lack of understanding economic issues.

Couple that with his campaign manager, Rick Davis, being on the take from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for a no-show job buying the two lenders access to the McCain inner circle after McCain has gone on record saying Davis has had no compensated role with either institution for several years.

Now he’s suspending his campaign because he’s going to head to DC and help solve an economic problem? Really.

Here’s a reaction from the National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru at the Washington Post:

If Senator McCain believes that he can help to enact a plan that can stabilize the markets and lay the foundation for future growth, then suspending the campaign and going to Washington was the right thing to do.

But it is hard to see what McCain can do to help, and easy to see how his intervention could hurt. He brings, as he himself has admitted in the past, no expertise to the table. And won’t Democrats be less likely to cooperate on a plan if doing so will help make McCain be the hero of the hour?

So McCain’s move may have been a mistake on substance. It may prove to be a political mistake too: If McCain can’t bring both parties together in an economic crisis after staking so much on it, won’t voters draw adverse conclusions about his leadership ability?

What do you think?

Here’s a Drudge flash report on David Letterman mocking McCain canceling his appearance tonight:

EXCLUSIVE: LETTERMAN MOCKS MCCAIN CANCELLATION
Wed Sep 24 2008 17:41:58 ETDavid Letterman tells audience that McCain called him today to tell him he had to rush back to DC to deal with the economy.

Then in the middle of the taping Dave got word that McCain was, in fact just down the street being interviewed by Katie Couric. Dave even cut over to the live video of the interview, and said, “Hey Senator, can I give you a ride home?”

Earlier in the show, Dave kept saying, “You don’t suspend your campaign. This doesn’t smell right. This isn’t the way a tested hero behaves.” And he joked: “I think someone’s putting something in his metamucil.”

“He can’t run the campaign because the economy is cratering? Fine, put in your second string quarterback, Sara Palin. Where is she?”

“What are you going to do if you’re elected and things get tough? Suspend being president? We’ve got a guy like that now!”

Developing…

 

If you ask me, the wheels are off. There’s time and debates to go, but McCain is no longer a serious candidate for president. The outright lies from his staff and his mouth. The Palin pick, and subsequent quarantine. Now suspending his campaign because he apparently is incapable of legislating (something he’s been pretty derelict in since kicking his campaign for the GOP off in earnest) and participating in a debate with his adversary.

Update — Yup, the wheels are off. Here’s Ambinder’s take:

Last week, Sen. McCain said the fundamentals of the economy were strong.

To Katie Couric, he said that the country faces its worst crisis since World War II.

Talk about bipolar messaging. And it seems some part of postponing the debate may be little more than a ploy to permanently cancel the vice presidential debate. The McCain team seems very, very frightened of allowing Palin to speak at all in an unscripted environment.

This is from TPM Election Central:

The lengths the McCain campaign is going to in order to shield Sarah Palin from questioning are reaching truly comic dimensions.

Check out this nugget from the pool report, via Jonathan Martin, on John McCain and Palin’s meeting with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko:

McCain then looked around the room and gestured as if to welcome questions. The AP reporter shouted a question at Gov. Palin (“Governor, what have you learned from your meetings?”) but McCain aide Brooke Buchanan intervened and shepherded everybody out of the room.Palin looked surprised, leaned over to McCain and asked him a question, to which your pooler thinks he shook his head as if to say “No.”

 

Palin can’t even be allowed to answer a question as basic as this?

What’s really sobering is that the McCain campaign continues to block Palin from answering questions even thoughit’s now resulting in reams and reams of bad press for the McCain-Palin ticket. That suggests McCain advisers know that letting her answer even the most elementary questions in an uncontrolled environment is so dangerous that it’s worth weathering the current media drubbing they’re taking in order to prevent it from happening at all costs.

Has anyone pointed out that McCain has placed Palin a heartbeat away from the presidency?