Cenk has come up with a real good reason that McCain wants the debate moved:
Then I realized why they didn’t want to have this debate now. The first debate is on foreign policy. Conventional wisdom and the McCain camp believe this is their strong suit. But the news cycle is dominated right now by the economic problems, which plays to Obama’s advantage. There was already news out that some of the questions would have to be about the economic situation at hand. And those are the questions that would naturally make the most news.
It’s not that the McCain campaign doesn’t want to have this debate; it’s that they don’t want to have it now. They think it is terrible timing for their side. They want people to focus on the foreign policy debate and this would be the worst possible time for that.
This makes perfect sense. McCain stood losing the one debate he was predicted to dominate. That prediction was by all pundits and even Democrats, but since the subject of the debate will most likely be changed or truncated, McCain has to rush to change the debate.
Everything in politics is calculated. I have spent enough time in politics to understand this. Before a decision is made, advisers get together and decide the pros and cons of any decision. To the McCain campaign, the pros outweighed the cons.
Let’s look at some of those pros and cons real quick:
Pro – McCain would be seen as putting “country first”
Pro – McCain would be seen as a strong leader
Pro – McCain would be able to postpone the debate and save the debate with the key topic he wants
Pro – This would change the schedule for other debates, most likely the Palin debate, which she is not expected to do well in.
Pro – This would take focus off of Palin’s pitiful performance during her interview with Couric last night
Pro – McCain could look like he was working with Obama on the economy, even though he was just planning on riding the coattails off the public’s preference of Obama on the economy.
Con – The public would see this as a ploy and McCain would suffer in the polls.
As you can see there, I can come up with for more pros than cons of this plan. So the next step was how to implement it. If McCain was truly serious about it then he would have called Obama and tried to get some consensus for it in private before going public. Apparently the McCain campaign didn’t feel Obama would go for it. So the next option was to put it out there to the public so that all eyes would be on Obama. The news followed suit. For the 90 minutes after McCain’s prerecorded announcement, all media eyes were focused on the Obama camp, wondering what he would do.
Obama didn’t bite. Instead he showed that he is a truly gifted poker player and called McCain’s bluff on it. Obama laid out strong reasons why him and McCain going to Senate to help work out the plan would actually hinder it’s completion.
Now Obama has taken that big list of pros the McCain campaign was planning on and made the single con trump all of them. Obama clearly won this round against McCain. So today the McCain campaign will try and scramble to find another way to change the focus of the campaigns. Sure McCain says his campaign is suspended, but make no mistake that they will keep moving their chess pieces on the board.
Bush is giving McCain a little help with this meeting today, but what will come of that meeting? Nothing. It will be nothing but a photo-op, and one that will be used to help Bush more than anyone. He can have a picture of bi-partisanship to hang in the history books before leaving office. Of course we also now have a picture of McCain and Bush together, along with Obama. That could play out differently in history, but for the immediate future it will help remind voters that McCain has stood side by side with Bush on so many decisions, including those that led this country to it’s current turmoil.