The murmuring started shortly after McCain announced that he wanted to postpone the first presidential debate. But, at least in my office, the references were made jokingly. Because we were certain that after pulling one fairly obvious stunt, the McCain campaign wouldn’t pull another blatantly obvious stunt, like canceling the V.P. debate. We were wrong.
McCain supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham tells CNN the McCain campaign is proposing to the Presidential Debate Commission and the Obama camp that if there’s no bailout deal by Friday, the first presidential debate should take the place of the VP debate, currently scheduled for next Thursday, October 2 in St. Louis.
In this scenario, the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin would be rescheduled for a date yet to be determined, and take place in Oxford, Mississippi, currently slated to be the site of the first presidential faceoff this Friday.
Or, maybe I was the only one who was joking about it. Surely the McCain campaign doesn’t think they can get away with it. But, all things considered, I guess I can’t blame them for trying.
COURIC: You’ve said, quote, “John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business.” Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?
PALIN: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie–that, that’s paramount. That’s more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.
COURIC: But he’s been in Congress for 26 years. He’s been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.
PALIN: He’s also known as the maverick though. Taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he’s been talking about–the need to reform government.
COURIC: I’m just going to ask you one more time, not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation?
PALIN: I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring them to you.
Like I said, I can’t blame them. Can you? Her press interviews are enough to make any communications staffer take up hard drinking. And this is after an army of Republican aides have been playing Pygmalion with Sarah Palin since her debut on the ticket. She can’t articulate the Bush Doctrine, except to say “it’s his worldview.” She can’t name one time McCain has stood in favor of regulation (he did, at least once, and has since said he deeply regretted it), and hopes it will work to just keep saying that he has.
In her ABC interview, Gibson gave her several chances to redeem herself and finally had to all but spoon feed the answer to her. Couric actually had to say outright “I’m going to ask you just one more time,” which translates as “I just want us both to be clear that you can’t answer a simple question about your running mate.” It doesn’t help that the McCain campaign has done a pretty good job of alienating the press in their attempts to keep Palin from being treated like any other candidate.
The problem is that leadership — being “ready on day one” — isn’t something you can cram for in just a couple of months. I don’t care if you are being tutored by an army of Republican aides. (And if they’re from the Bush White House, sent to tutor you on foreign policy? Well, best of luck. If, you’re sitting in the oval office, you can’t say “I’ll get back to you on that,” go pull an all-nighter, and hope to get by with a “C” level performance. The country, and the world, can’t wait for you to catch up. But that’s what you get when you pick a V.P. candidate based on what she believes rather than what she knows. For crying out loud, can we at long last affirm that it’s preferable for a president to be knowledgeable, informed, and capable of critical thought?
Once you take the oath of office, you can’t say to Russia and Georgia, “I’ll get back to you, as soon as I deal with these gas prices.” You can’t say to the uninsured, “I’ll get back to you, as soon as I deal with this skirmish between Russia and Georgia.” You’ll just end up having to get back to them both when the next hurricain hits or the next bridge collapses.
This looks like the McCain Campaign’s week to “cut and run.”