We all remember the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when George Bush spent 8 minutes reading "My Pet Goat" to Florida schoolchildren after having been informed that the scenario he had ignored in the Aug. 6 PDB entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside U.S." had come to pass, and the nation was under attack. Following that, Bush spent the day flying around the country in airplanes rather than landing someplace and speaking to us about what was going on.
Profile in courage? Not exactly.
But imagine--based on the way he has run his campaign--what a President McCain's response to that kind of immediate crisis might look like.
The economic crisis is certainly a big deal, but it's the kind of deal that requires a careful, thoughtful analysis and a real solution, because there's only going to be one chance to get it right. The wrong approach could send things down the toilet faster than ever.
McCain's approach to any problem, though, is first to wonder what ramifications it has on his quest to finally win the job he's wanted all these years, and then to do the first thing that pops into his head that will distract people from the fact that he doesn't actually hold any firm principles or great wisdom. Suspending his campaign to "solve" the economic crisis? Please. His ads will be back on the air tomorrow, after maybe being off for part of today. His campaign offices have stayed open. Rallies have been held. He has appeared on TV multiple times, as have his surrogates. Palin has made appearances. Not only has the Senate been functioning during the 6 months since he's been there, but his crash-landing in the middle of this issue only stalled negotiations.
At least he's been shamed into appearing at the debate tonight after all, even though none of the "conditions" that he previously said would keep him away from it have changed. But the idea of a president whose only crisis response is to come up with gimmick after gimmick. Obama, conversely, has been calm and clear-headed through this whole mess--definitely the sort of person I'd want in charge during an emergency.