Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Say No to Cancelling the Debate

New stations including CNN and CBS are reporting that John McCain is asking Barack Obama to agree to postponing the presidential debate scheduled for this Friday night.

McCain is going to continue his campaign through tomorrow afternoon at which time he wants to suspend it to "focus on the economy". This would include "postponing" the debate this Friday night.

This is a terrible idea.

A better one (at least for the American people) would be to follow through on the debate but shift its focus from the previously agreed upon topic of foreign policy to the economy.

Instead, McCain is proposing for the following:

"I am calling on the president to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself.... It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem."

This is not a bad idea, but there is no reason in the world that this should necessitate cancelling the best medium for letting the voters analyze their candidates' position.

We MUST have this debate - and someone truly prepared to assume the Presidency should welcome it. Here's why I say that:

We are in the middle of a crisis that has yet to be resolved. The timing of this debate gives these two men an enormous platform to discuss and promote their agenda for addressing it. This platform gives them a level of power and influence that only an elected President typically has. Tens of millions of people are expected to watch these two discuss their ideas. And given that a legislative response to this crisis will likely come some time next week, their words on Friday night could profoundly shape the outcome.

In other words, if they truly want to lead this nation (and not just "hold the office") - this is their chance.

I'm skeptical of anyone this close to the Presidency that has this opportunity and is not literally jumping to take it.


James F Barry said...

I couldn't agree more. Furthermore, is Friday night the only time that both parties need to come together?

However, as a political ploy, it is great.
1) If Obama says no, he doesn't care about getting things done.

2) If he says yes, it was McCain's idea all along.

3) If the President doesn't call the meeting, look at how considerate McCain was for being willing to sacrifice and serve once again.

Brilliant campaigning.

Jared said...

I actually disagree.

I think McCain has given the Obama campaign a huge opportunity.

The Obama campaign should cede the premise that the economic crisis is an overriding priority but use that premise to shift the focus of Friday's debate to the economy from foreign policy. I am certain that the McCain campaign wouldn't agree to this - but what possible credible excuse could they have??

In the best case (where McCain accepts) Obama gets to talk about the economy on Friday night and in the worst case, we get to spend the next two days watching the McCain campaign try to explain why it thinks it's inappropriate to spend Friday night talking about the issue that currently concerns Americans most.

James F Barry said...

I think McCain's excuse will be that he wanted to "get things done" to help the American people instead of "talk about it" during a debate.

I see your point, but I think he going to play the "Man of Action" card from this ordeal.

Unknown said...

Letterman's take.

Jared said...

I saw that. Brutal. Was surprised how hard Dave lit into him - but can't say that I was disappointed. I'm obviously pretty outraged by it too.