Senator McCain has suspended his campaign to concentrate on the economic fix, and asked Senator Obama to do the same, postponing debates until after an agreement on the economy is reached in Congress. So far, Obama has refused, saying the debates will go on even if he's the only one there. I think Senator Obama would be wise to change his mind.
Was McCain's request made in good faith? President Clinton thinks so . ""We know he didn't do it because he's afraid because Sen. McCain wanted more debates," Clinton said..." Even so, it could still be a trick- any grand gesture in an election cycle is suspect. But I still think he should go along with it.
Why? To do what Senator McCain is doing- to keep his Vice Presidential pick out of the public eye for some coaching. Joe Biden is a walking gaffe machine. If someone doesn't get him a tranquilizer and get him back on message, he could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory all by himself. Here's a sampling from the last ten days:
He angrily denied being in favor of clean coal technology, ranting about how that was something the Chinese did, and "No coal plants for America- let them build it over there,"... when both he and Obama individually as Senators have championed clean coal, and together have it in their campaign energy policy. The gaffe resulted in this devastating McCain ad.
Got their stance on the economic bailout package wrong, causing him to be publicly chided by Obama himself.
That echoed an earlier gaffe on the economy when he said that he didn't know a single economist who had said that raising taxes on the rich would hurt the economy during our present crisis- after Senator Obama had said that very thing himself.
And while we're on the economy, he criticized Bush's lack of public discussion by saying "When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed." FDR wasn't President when the market crashed, of course, and commercially available television wouldn't be offered to the public for another ten years...
Called one of his own campaign commercials terrible , saying, “I didn’t know we did it, and if I had anything to do with it, we’d have never done it.” This from the man who says the other candidate is "out of touch".
Said that raising taxes on the rich- you know, that thing that Obama said would harm the fragile economy- was patriotic . How can Obama complain about the Republicans wrapping themselves in the flag when his running mate is doing the same thing?
I'm not even counting a myriad of lesser gaffes, like "You need to work on your pecs", or "Stand up and let them see you", or "She might have been a better pick". These are harmless in themselves, although if he keeps it up the cumulative effect could be toxic.
Senator Obama has nothing to fear in his own debates, but he'd better start worrying about the Vice presidential ones. Governor Palin is no Jefferson or Adams in the intellect department, but she is a savvy politician with a true talent for snark. Biden has already given her enough ammunition to turn the debate into a celebrity roast if she so chooses. Or she could take just one- use his coal gaffe as a launch pad for her only area of expertise, energy, for example- and make herself look presidential. And that's assuming he doesn't make another gaffe during the debate- something i wouldn't bet on.
Senator Obama should listen to Senator McCain and take the bye week- and use it sending Biden back to political boot camp.