John McCain has suspended his campaign activities and is calling for Friday night’s debate to be postponed so that he and his party, and Barack and his, can work on resolving the nation’s financial crisis. He has called on Obama to do the same.
I think that this move is part of McCain’s campaign. It’s cynical and wrong.
The debates are a time to connect with Americans on issues of importance to them — in something more than a 30-second sound bite. It’s a good time to compare and contrast how the candidates view the social contract in the nation — the role of capital, firms, workers and their families — and of course, government.
Talking about this financial crisis and the particular approaches Obama and McCain might take deserves to be front and center of the viewing audience on Friday.
Trying to pull the plug on the debate is another way of saying that John McCain wants the flexibility to work outside the public spotlight and behind closed doors on the economic crisis.
I would argue the same thing if Obama had suggested a postponement of the debate.
And to be square, I think Obama made a major mistake by largely ignoring the Russia-Georgia conflict while he was vacationing in Hawaii. Obama should have been on line working hard to absorb the issues in that national security crisis — and even if he didn’t return from Hawaii, he should have flown in the best and brightest minds on NATO, Russia, Europe, and grand strategy that he could muster and have them meet him on the beach.
We shouldn’t be too enthused with presidential candidates who want to vacation and buffer themselves when real world crises strike — and we shouldn’t tolerate a suspension of campaign activity and postponement of a vital issues-oriented debate so that our potential president can huddle in back rooms with his party colleagues in ways that public cannot scrutinize.
It’s wrong — both should be up front, on camera, talking to the nation about the great challenges we are facing.
— Steve Clemons