The decision by John McCain to call for canceling the Friday debate is a cynical, foolish ploy to try to change the game somehow. And it’s not helpful.
Now, look — I actually think suspending the campaign for a few days is a good idea. I think it’s fine for Obama to do so to. And kudos to McCain for suggesting it — that’s a good political move. But there’s no reason McCain can’t fly down to Ole Miss on Friday night and still be involved in “leading” on this issue. He can fly back up to DC that night. He has his own campaign plane, and if that’s in the shop, his wife has a plane, too.
The fact is that the debate is a chance for the candidates to challenge each other and speak to the American people. Now, maybe on Friday night at 7:00 there’ll be a whole bunch of big meetings going on that John McCain and Barack Obama just can’t avoid. But given that the markets will be closed Saturday and Sunday, I’d say those meetings can probably be pushed back to Saturday morning without hurting anything.
No, there’s no reason John McCain and Barack Obama can’t sit down and talk for a few hours, and let the American people hear from them. The fact is that what McCain’s doing here is the opposite of leadership — he’s going back to Washington, where he’ll hide from Americans, while trying to change the conversation from our collapsing economy to McCain’s mavericky tactical moves. Well, there are big issues out there, my friends, and America needs to hear from the men who want to lead our country more than the Senate needs 2% of its membership for a few hours on a Friday night. Kudos to Barack Obama for saying the debate needs to go forward. And shame on John McCain for trying to change the subject.
America should demand the candidates debate. And Obama should be there on Friday, whether McCain shows up or not.