So, John McCain can't walk and chew gum at the same time

As President Bush once again resorts to fear-mongering to push through a crisis policy, John McCain halts his campaign to sort out Wall St

If I heard correctly President George W. Bush appealed tonight to “my fellow citizens”. Surely I was mistaken…would “my fellow comrades” not be more appropriate? This is what Stalin was waiting for pre-Cold War. While 63 years late, capitalism is in the very meltdown that Stalin was banking on to deliver him the power to communize the world.

In the meantime, was that truly the President of the United States using the words he did? 

Was he trying to inform, excuse, explain or scare Americans…his patronizing demeanour took 14 minutes of prime-time television to plead with Americans to support a three-page plan to spend $US 700 million (on top of the $US315 billion already spent on bailing out Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, AIG and Bear Stearns). Surely it is healthy that Americans are not blindly saying “yes” to the bail-out boys. Clearly the Bush administration is terrified that citizens are not falling into line without questioning the so-called rescue.

So, the President had to resort to fear mongering. He invoked the memories of the Great Depression. He warned that unless urgent action was taken millions of jobs would be lost and more mortgages would be in default. He suggested, but did not promise, that as part of this bailout - unprecedented in the history of money – there would be no golden parachutes for the executives who would, sob, be, sob, losing, sob, their jobs, sob sob…tissues here, please.

On the heels of the Bush speech came the announcement that John McCain was suspending his campaign so he can go to Washington to work on the Wall St bail-out bill.

If this guy cannot chew gum and walk at the same time, is it possible that he can be President? Warning: do not take the incumbent as the benchmark, because otherwise this column would not be in the writing.

Is it not plausible to suggest that the reason McCain has suspended his campaign is that it gets him out of his first nationwide televised debate with Obama on Friday night US time? While the debate is supposed to be on Foreign Affairs, there is no way the topic could possibly treat the current economic crisis as if it was a default mortgage, so Foreign Affairs would necessarily have to be sidelined. That would focus fully on one of McCain’s sorest spots – the economy.

The trouble for the Vietnam vet is that his ‘I’m off to Washington to sort this thing out’ has not been greeted at its simplistic face value. It has been interpreted as a way of avoiding having to justify a long political history in areas which have led to the Wall St meltdown, his assertions only 9 days ago that the fundamentals of the American economy were sound, and the fact that he was against the AIG bailout before he was for it. Great debate fodder.

And now it has certainly backfired, Obama and the debate committee say Friday night is going ahead McCain or no…. Now that doesn’t look Presidential does it?

So here’s a possibility….

McCain will turn up to the debate in Mississippi….but he will use it to tell “my fellow Americans” - or “my friends” as he is more wont to say - how he would rather still be in Washington trying to save their lives from the follies of his rapacious mates on Wall St, but the inexperienced and overtly political Obama has forced him to abandon more presidential-type duties and come to a talk-fest instead.

Chances are, many will take him at his word, but his poll ratings are definitely slipping. Maybe voters are reflecting on the fact that the firm of his campaign Manager Rick Davis took up to $15,000 a month from Freddie Mac.

If McCain is not taken at his word for wanting official “time out” from his campaign, perhaps the campaign itself could call on running mate Sarah Palin’s former Pastor, Thomas Muthee. Video of this Kenyan witchdoctor has just been released showing him praying with the then Mayor Palin at the Wasilla church of the Assembly of God, calling on Jesus to “make way for Sarah”. Perhaps Muthee could be sent to Wall St.

And a thought to leave you with….

If there was video of Obama with Muthee talking about witches and the laying on of hands, instead of the much-maligned Rev. Wright, what would the Republicans be saying?