Say What?

So I return from a day of teaching and discover that John McCain has decided to suspend his campaign and return to Washington DC, the better to deal with our nation’s urgent problems. Goody! It might have been even better had he bothered to show up for even a single one of the 108 Senate votes that have been taken between April 8, when he last showed up, and today. Who knows how many problems might have been averted had John McCain managed to show up before today?

Seriously, though, I agree with Steve: this is flailing desperation. It also makes no sense: he’s still giving some speeches, but he has stopped airing ads. Does anyone seriously think that airing ads would seriously impair John McCain’s ability to address this crisis? Does he usually wind the ad tapes himself? Does he go around to all the TV stations in order to say “I’m John McCain and I approve this message” in person? Somehow, I don’t think so.

He’s down in the polls. His “brilliant” VP pick is not wearing well, even in her virtual press seclusion. His responses to a genuine crisis are all over the map. So he decides that rather than scaling back his appearances and being quietly helpful behind the scenes, he will descend on Washington, cameras in tow, and posture.

Josh Marshall has it right:

“Bringing the presidential candidates and their press entourages back to Capitol Hill won’t speed or improve the process of coming up with a good bailout deal. It will politicize it. That’s so transparently obvious that it barely requires stating. And of course that is the point.

By going public with his ‘suspension’ announcement as a breaking news statement McCain intended to make any agreement between the candidate impossible. Contrast that with Obama’s campaign, which apparently tried to get both campaigns to agree on a common set of principles privately before going public. There’s no logical reason there can’t be a presidential debate while a bailout plan is being negotiated.”

Country First, indeed.