Thursday, September 25, 2008

Suspend This -- The Stakes

I can't believe I spent last night on a post about theater when this bullshit is going on.

When I went to bed last night, I'd heard about this "Suspending the campaign" mguffin, and I was confused about it. This morning I woke up, and Andrew Sullivan (writer of the most popular single-person political blog--see sidebar link) had posted me to this gem:

Alright. I've got a full tank of spleen to vent, so, here it comes.

  • We've been told that this is a historic campaign, but the magnitude of the historical event has not before been clear to me. Each side wants to influence history in a bunch of ways. The Democratic Party has stood behind a black candidate for President and a new initiative on National Healthcare (which could bring the United States up to Europe's place in history). They also could have gone with a woman and healthcare, or (and this was admittedly a long shot, a Hispanic president.

    What "historic" choices have the Republicans made? They've chosen the oldest candidate in history, backed him with the most inexperienced vice presidential candidate in history, and given that vice presidential candidate less press access than any vice presidential candidate in history (Ahmadinejad has given more press conferences than Palin since the Republican Convention), and now this historic move: suspending a campaign.
  • Of course, suspending this campaign is Grade-A horseshit. If you tell the world that you're suspending the campaign, you don't get to go on the news. You can't have you cake and eat it too! You can't say "campaigning is too much work" and then trot out onto Katie Couric's show.
  • Shame on Katie Couric for allowing him on the show. If I was Katie, every question would be: What are you doing here? Why aren't you in Washington? How is this not campaigning? Isn't this publicity right now?
  • Horseshit. As David Letterman points out (David Letterman is taking shots at your campaign! David Letterman! Do you know how hard it is to make that guy really take sides? Historic!), you could have just put Sarah Palin forward. Wait, why can't you? You're refusing to let her hold press conferences? In actuality, this "suspended campaign" is really just an excuse to shield Sarah Palin more. Oh, of course Palin can't talk to the press--McCain is in Washington.
  • McCain is suspending his campaign in an economic crisis: McCain did not suspend his birthday DURING HURRICAINE KATRINA. He sat there eating Cake with President Bush while a city sank and millions of peoples lives were forever changed for the worse.
  • McCain is suspending his campaign less than a week after a pair of bombings against an Embassy and American allies. He's on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Wasn't that important enough to suspend the campaign?

I've been meaning to write this post for a while, but nows as good a time as any.

The stakes in 2008.

When we go to vote in 2008, some people will tell us the war is a big issue. It is. Some people will say that the economy is a big issue. It is. Some people will say social issues are the big issue. They are.

But when you go out to vote, you'll be making a choice on an issue bigger than all of them: The United States Government. Because the "change" that has been talked about in this election is not about policy. It's about governance.

Our Government is at a historic low. Not just because of Republicans: Democrats under Nancy Pelosi have proven just as incapable of addressing our Nation's problems without partisanship in mind. But when Barack Obama accepted that party's nomination, it became his party. It became his platform.

In 2008, we're voting for more than Obama versus McCain. We're voting on the very concept of good governance.

Look at this horrific campaign that McCain has been running. He chose for a running mate a woman accused of tampering with independent investigations, a woman who tried to ban books, a woman whose political ambitions have destroyed the political career of everyone in her way. Yesterday I probably wouldn't have gone with a reference to Senator Joseph McCarthy, but yes: Senator Joseph McCarthy was not above any of those things. Richard Nixon was not above those things either.

John McCain has decided that the truth is not absolute, and that it can conform to party politics the way that he has. He has decided that "lobbyists are people too" (as Hilary Clinton put it--and lost). He has decided that transparency is not a virtue; perhaps in his mind, the Bush Administration's failing is that it wasn't opaque enough, and that we got to see all of the things it was doing.

McCain's economic advisor had a bed made for him by Merrill Lynch. McCain still seems to be unaware of this. I cannot trust McCain's contribution to the current bail-out debate. How could anyone, in the light of those allegations? Merrill Lynch, a substantially interested party, is having access to McCain pre-paid.

When you vote in this election, you need to think about what makes the best government.

After all, an honest man who disagrees with you is far better than a dishonest man who, today, says that he agrees with you. Isn't he?

John McCain, thank you for suspending your campaign. Please take it, and go to one of your seven (or so) homes.

EDIT: A few days have passed, McCain has abandoned this ridiculous idea, and my anger has subsided. I must say in context that I feel incredibly betrayed by the current McCain campaign--I remember vividly in 2004 saying that I was looking forward to McCain running in 2008, and that if Democrats put forward someone from the Pelosi end of the party, I would probably back McCain. Indeed, when Hilary Clinton started to go off the rails at the very beginning, I turned to McCain, but I was already watching his campaign devolve.

After suspending his campaign, McCain took a full day to arrive in Washington; before he arrived, a deal had already been reached; after he arrived, he brought the House Republicans to the table with their deal-breaking objections. He set the deal back three more days, and during the rest of the negotiations, reportedly said little. In the meantime, Obama (with less histrionics) was there as well. My anger was still justified, and I regret the tone even if I don't apologize for it, and still stand by it.