The US election and the biggest financial swindle of all time (OK – I exaggerate, TARP is not a swindle, it’s a really really inefficient and unfair way of doing something sensible, but perhaps as we speak the Congress are making it better) have got me in one of those times when rather than switch off as I do to most politics, I’m as tuned in as I can bear.
Listening to early morning news I heard about McCain’s ‘audacious’ move to throw the switch to bipartisanship. I thought it was a clever curve ball (as us people familiar with US punditry say!) to throw Obama, but then about half a hour later I heard Obama. Obama sounded calmer, more for real than McCain, but he seemed to suggest that he was the person who initiated the whole thing.
If this story is correct that is indeed the case.
Early Wednesday, at 8:30am EST, Obama called McCain to propose that the two candidates attempt to take a leadership role in responding to the economic crisis. Concerned that no consensus was emerging from negotiations between Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and leaders in Congress, Obama suggested that he and his Republican rival outline shared goals for any bailout of troubled banks and financial-services institutions.
Specifically, Obama proposed that the two author a joint statement of “shared principles and conditions” for a bailout.
McCain responded around 2:30pm EST Wednesday to express his willingness to work with Obama.
Then, at 3pm EST, without alerting Obama or the Democrat’s campaign to his intentions, McCain called a press conference to announce that he would stop campaigning in order to return to Washington to focus on the “historic” crisis facing the U.S. economy.
I presume this is the truth, but perhaps it’s not the whole truth. Can someone fill me in. Because if it is the whole truth there is something seriously weird going on. Because if it is, McCain’s cynicism is so cheap that he can’t even be bothered turning away a stunt which can be exposed for the empty posturing it was. The facts – if these are the facts – indicate in a way that is at the elementary level of a TV soap that McCain was unashamed to pretend it was his idea when it was Obama’s and that he’s sufficiently cheap and stupid that he didn’t care that the facts would out within about half an hour and transparently demonstrate his hypocrisy.
To be clear, I am not saying that McCain’s general operating procedure in a campaign shouldn’t be to try to take advantage anyway he can. What’s striking, shocking – nay, no less than entirely gasting of the flabber – here is that he thought that he could get away with this – that after about 30 minutes of good press, there’d be a period of doubt after which ‘the story’ became how McCain’s ‘bipartisanship’ consists of trying to misrepresent the facts and to take advantage of the other side’s attempts at bipartisanship.
But – and again I’m expecting someone to tell me that these really are not the facts – it gets weirder still.Obama doesn’t even clarify the issues, just puts his side of things almost as if he’s trying to cover up for McCain’s cheap misprepresentations. So far so good I was thinking, this will work out fine. Obama won’t even have butter melting in his mouth and Joe Biden or some other attack dog will come out and really get stuck into McCain – “McCain’s mendacity, is ‘the issue’ now yada yada yada yoo” (I added the ‘yoo’ at the end – he wouldn’t have said the ‘yoo’ at the end because the attack dog would be being very pompous in a matey kind of way – but I digress).
But none of this happens. Thus when the 7.30 Report does some yada yada yada with the subject carefully chosen to ensure that the entire interview is pretty much all bullshit – it’s on ‘Will George Bush’s speech make a difference’ – a subject about which one can only engage in pub-talk – Michael Fullilove, who seemed to take to the genre like a duck to water, tells us that you’ve got to hand it to McCain, he’s been so audacious in going the bipartisan schtick. Nary a word is mentioned about the fact that this is approximately the reverse of what happened, and of what McCain did.
What the hell is going on?