With a little over two hours to go before the two US presidential candidates flex their muscles at their first televised debate, bloggers from around the world are busy registering their impressions on the candidates. Here's a reflection on Republican nominee John McCain. Reactions on Democratic nominee Barack Obama will follow.
Is McCain totally ‘out of control’ or is he portraying ‘cynical, dirty and politics at its best'?
Puerto Rican Liza, from Culture Kitchen, describes McCain as being out of control. She notes:
In all my years of politicking I have never seen a more out of control candidate than John McCain nor a more out of control presidential campaign like the one his advisors and campaign managers are waging.
But The Sandmonkey, from Egypt, describes the candidate's tactics as: ‘cynical, dirty and politics at its best.’ He exclaims:
As if this election isn't enough of a TV show drama, McCain throws in a TWIST!
Tactically, it's smart. It breaks the Obama momentum, and takes the leadership initiative on the issue. But let's face it. It's a gimmick. McCain will debate, but he will come back, appearing to work for the country, and will change the format of the debate at the last minute to the economy instead of foreign policy, throwing a wrench in Obama's preparation for the debate. Plus, if they work something out, McCain gets credit, they don;t work something out, McCain will lambast Obama for not coming with him and making it work. It's cynical, dirty and politics at its best.
When stories surfaced that McCain signaled that tonight's debate be moved, England for Obama came up with the following suggestion:
McCain could, of course, send his vice presidential candidate to debate in his place. No, wait: sheâ€™s not ready, is she? Although she is, apparently, ready to be the Vice President. In fact, I do believe she has confidence in that readiness.
On tonight's debate, England for Obama had the following to say about McCain:
And according to HuffPo, John McCain â€œsat quiet through most of the meeting, [and] never offered specificsâ€. Probably because he doesnâ€™t know much about the economy, eh? I mean, donâ€™t get me wrong, I donâ€™t know much about the economy, either. But then, I didnâ€™t just fly to Washington saying that I was going to help. Although Iâ€™m perfectly happy to make tea for everyone if they need me.
The blogger continues:
If McCain doesnâ€™t show up tonight, he will have thrown away the election. Instantly. Of course, if he still turns up before any deal has been agreed, he will look like heâ€™s going back on his word – but in the big scheme of things, that would be far less damaging and Iâ€™m sure the GOP could spin it, as they spin everything else.
From the UK, Norfolk Blogger runs the headline John McCain is running scared. The blogger explains:
John McCain is quite clearly running scared from Barack Obama. He's not rated highly for economic competence, his team of advisors are in trouble for dodgy donations and now he is trying to duck out of a presidential debate because he is scared that face to face Barack Obama will make him look second rate.
And finally Bal(t)moron, writing at Dutch blog Poligazette, tells us why John McCain should not be president.
Much has been made of McCainâ€™s and Obamaâ€™s leadership styles. If one wrote a drama with two archetypal opposites, this campaign could provide the setting. One is â€œprincipledâ€, â€œpragmaticâ€, â€œlight-handedâ€, â€œconfidentâ€; the other is resilient, an â€œopen-doorâ€ manager, passionate, intuitive. One campaign rose steadily from obscurity to dethrone a front-runner; the other fell from its front-runner status, regrouped, and then recovered on the basis of a single decision. One eschews negativity and leaks; the other controls the news cycle and is gaffe-prone. John McCain appears to be the president who would always be in charge of the meeting, on the ground, on-site. Barack Obama would consider all options.
On one hand, a president should take charge during a crisis. But, given Congressâ€™ many failings, a presidential candidate running to be a good executive shouldnâ€™t obstruct it, or steal its air. John McCainâ€™s campaign operates in permanent crisis, and he needs to handle one problem before he mishandles his role in a legislative process for which he is not temperamentally suited.