In light of the premiere of HBO’s Game Change film on the McCain/Palin (or was it Palin/McCain) campaign in 2008, I’m reblogging myself from 2008 on this very topic.
Deal or no deal? A lot is riding on this for McCain. House Republicans clearly don’t want to sign off on the bail out. I assume the plan could pass despite House Republican opposition. But that would seem to doom McCain with important conservative constituents. If McCain can get the recalcitrant House Republicans to sign off (apparently a visit from Dick Cheney didn’t move them at all and I doubt Bush’s speech will persuade skeptics on the right), then he can take some credit, but only for reeling in the conservative rump. If he can’t pull this off, the Republican party would be split (and not without good reasons) and Obama can point to the “ideology-driven partisanship” of House Republicans as another sign that “Washington is broken.”
McCain’s suspension of his campaign and request to postpone the debate scheduled for Friday seems a little hysterical. He has successfully directed attention to himself and the punditocracy is slavishly fixated on his “decision.” Will he? Won’t he? The media is unable to recognize when it’s being jerked around. The short term strategic impact is that McCain has taken media attention away from Obama. The more general impression is that McCain’s histrionics about the debate is another egocentric (generously termed “maverick”) move on his part. Refusal to attend the debate would, however, be a disaster for McCain. It would leave a lasting image of the war hero hiding in his bunker, not leading but being led by the crisis. In other words, McCain First!