Saturday, September 27, 2008


Maverick McCain Pursues a Chancer Campaign

The 71 year-old greybeard of the Senate and veteran of the 2004 Republican presidential campaign, is anything but a sober cautious politician.

1. During the summer, he shamelessly purloined Obama's 'change' mantra and tried to make it his own.

2. Selecting Sarah Palin was another off the wall idea- an inexperienced politician with an apparently unresearched background. [Her initial impact seems to be falling off now as voters get her measure.]

3. Suddenly leaping on the US economic crisis and seeking to grandstand on it for the purposes of his campaign.

These stunts usually follow a period when he has been falling behind in the polls and needs to thrust himself and his candidature into the national mind. None of these to date exceed the bare-faced cheek of the last mentioned. By all accounts it was Obama who first suggested a bipartisan statement by the candidates on the proposed bale-out and this, as if alerting McCain's campaign to an opportunity prompted the 'I'm halting my campaign for the good of the country' announcement and his hightailing it to Washington to allegedly assist in the crisis talks.

There, as Michael Tomasky notes today in The Guardian, he has endeavoured manfully to be the cynosure of roving television cameras, while actually doing nothing, economic affairs not being his forte. Indeed, he had not even read the three page Paulson plan two days after it came out. This did not prevent him lining up with the 100 or so Republican Representatives who fear the plan will bale out undeserving Wall St fat cats at the taxpayers expense.

And yet, it seems McCain 'won' the first debate according to the BBC's man there. Obama did better on the economy while McCain scored on foreign policy. I woke up to hear a snatch of the debate and McCain sounded more assured than Obama, and made free with all the names he had met during his long career. His claim that upon meeting Vladimir Putin and looking into his eyes he had seen 'three letters, K, G and B' was a soundbite masterstroke. I expect the older man to benefit by some points after this performance but who knows what ploy he'll come up with next if he falls behind after the remaining debates?

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