John McCain Walks Away From Debates, His Pride, And America Itself

Illustration for article titled John McCain Walks Away From Debates, His Pride, And America Itself

Yesterday, John McCain announced a temporary end to partisan politicking and asked Barack Obama to join him in holding hands, singing "Kumbaya" and postponing the Presidential debates until Congressional intervention ends the financial crisis, which most economists agree will be some time next year at the earliest. Who needs to know where candidates stand, anyway? There's a crisis people! Luckily, Spencer Ackerman and I are able to stop laughing at the thought that McCain is doing this for any reasons other than partisan politics and his fear of debating Barack Obama — just long enough to get through a conversation about the "strategy" behind the decision, partner-swapping, Bill Kristol's masturbatory epistles to the GOP and what McCain is doing instead of praying for a terrorist attack to save his campaign.SPENCER: So should we go forward with Crappy Hour or can you tell Anna that the seriousness of the financial crisis merits a suspension of the feature? MEGAN: Oh, sure, I mean, you and I really need to get up in the Hill this morning and involve ourselves in negotiations for the bailout package that we've been heretofore uninvolved in, because our presence and our presence alone will resolve the 3 days of negotiations. It'll just take a few days. She'll understand. It's a crisis after all. And totally unlike the mortgage crisis that spawned legislation that we ignored a couple of months ago. This one is important. SPENCER: Country First, goddammit. MEGAN: This is not a time for partisan politics! SPENCER: I think in 42 days, we're going to look back on this as the day McCain lost the election. A more massively unforced error I cannot imagine. MEGAN: I guess it depends on whether you're Steve Schmidt and think that debating Obama on Friday (or having Palin debate Biden next week) would be a bigger error. SPENCER: While I was watching Bush's speech last night, a whole other dimension of error occurred to me: why does it benefit McCain to go meet with the least popular president in history, the one whose legacy McCain has to distance himself from? MEGAN: The only thing I can think is what some Republipundit said last night, which is that it forces Obama to interact positively with Bush, inoculating McCain to a degree, and it might allow McCain to call a shitty bailout bill a "Bush-Obama" bill. If that's the actual thinking — if there is actual thinking involved in this decision — then kudos. SPENCER: No, that doesn't match the timeline. Remember, at 8:30 a.m. yesterday, Obama called McCain and proposed a joint statement. McCain responded affirmatively around 2ish, and then an hour later announced this no-debate stunt. The likeliest explanation is that McCain huddled with Davis and Schmidt and thought about how to throw the ball further downfield. But here they miscalculated almost completely: SurveyUSA found only 10 percent think the debate should be put off. MEGAN: Well, at least Schmidt and Davis managed to find some people in the tank for them. SPENCER: I guess the Bush thing could have been trying to bind Obama, but he can't turn down a presidential invite, and could just as easily put out a release as tepid as... the joint statement he did with McCain. MEGAN: According to Obama, though, McCain brought it up at the 2:30 conference call and Obama said, let's have our people discuss it when they're talking about the joint statement. So it was on McCain's mind before. But, yeah, they were in the midst of negotiating that statement when McCain made his announcement. So, it's unsurprising that the statement is tepid. SPENCER: Meanwhile McCain looks like a complete pussy. He's too chickenshit to debate Obama — dude, al-Qaeda bombed the fucking USS Cole in October 2000 and Bush and Gore still debated! — and now looks like a supplicant to Bush. One unforced error on top of another. MEGAN: Oooh, nice catch on the USS Cole. Also, I'd like to point out the absurdity of the idea that Congress will be negotiating this at 9:00 on Friday night. SPENCER: Here's another unforced error! If you're suspending the campaign, don't send out talking points on suspending the campaign! Sorry to make you open a PDF. MEGAN: I love how we can fix the economy by the time the markets open on Monday with legislation. Presto-chango! It's fixed! SPENCER: We don't even really need to comment on the transparent foolishness of this stunt. Within 30 minutes the bigfoot journalists on secret listservs I'm on digested it and became immediately appalled. It's a waste of time to even treat the idea seriously. MEGAN: Dude, I started laughing hysterically when I heard. Like, it might have been the 3 cups of coffee, but I was wiping away tears listening to it, I was laughing that hard. SPENCER: The only right-wing journalists still shilling for this are at the Weekly Standard. Even NRO readers aren't buying the dog food. Look at what Bill Kristol wrote:

As for the question of Friday night's debate, which some in the media seem to think more important than saving the financial system—if the negotiations are still going on in D.C., McCain should offer to send Palin to debate Obama! Or he can take a break from the meetings, fly down at the last minute himself, and turn a boring foreign policy debate, in which he and Obama would repeat well-rehearsed arguments, into a discussion about leadership and decisiveness. And if the negotiations are clearly on a path to success, then McCain can say he can now afford to leave D.C., fly down, and the debate would become a victory lap for McCain.

I read that and thought of the scene in Boogie Nights when a coked-out Dirk Diggler tries desperately to get erect, tears rolling down his face, talking to his cock like "come on... come on..." MEGAN: Um, I can't believe you just made me think about Bill Kristol's cock just there. I love this part, though, Country First my ass.

Of course his motives were partly election-related. But "the interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place."


McCain is America! America is McCain! What's right for him is right for everyone! Quick, everyone swap spouses! Call your wife a cunt! SPENCER: I call Kim Kagan. I will sex her up like Color Me Badd. MEGAN: Will you give her your dick in a boxx? SPENCER: Ohhh, maybe Noemie Emery. I hear she crazy. Like, files-her-pieces-on-legal-legal-paper crazy. MEGAN: Oh, her poor interns. SPENCER: Should probably record a take-off on a Biggie song. "Dreams (Of Fucking A Right-Wing Bitch)." Noemie, I'm just playing! ... I'm saying! MEGAN: Man, I think we could totally make a YouTube video out of that. SPENCER: Back to McCain. (Yo, Meghan, don't take me seriously girl. I know you're reading. Don't mind what I say about your dad. Hit me up. 281-330-8004. My girlfriend doesn't have to know.) MEGAN: Hey, look, Cynthia McKinney, Bob Barr and Ralph Nader are offering their services. I think that should be McCain's punishment if he bails on Friday. He should have to debate them, and Obama gets a night to himself. SPENCER: How does McCain dig himself out of this? The debate is clearly going to happen tomorrow. MEGAN: If it doesn't, he's cost the taxpayers of Mississippi $5 million for his little stunt. Oh, how do you like your low-spending Republicans now, Red State Mississippi? At least Obama gives a shit about how he spends your money. SPENCER: He's going to have to slink down to Mississippi, backtracking on all this, an object of total ridicule for Obama. And McCain's temper cannot handle ridicule. MEGAN: Yeah, I don't think him showing up tomorrow is going to be some big victory lap around Ole Miss, Bill Kristol's masturbatory epistles aside. SPENCER: I'm kind of expecting Nancy Phflorfhfthflhflfhthloger to put out a statement about how McCain spent FIVE AND A HALF YEARS not being able to debate anyone. MEGAN: He was just doing what he always does! Like with the Surge, he was doing what he thought was right, electoral consequences be damned!! Nancy Pfuckingsucks actually said that yesterday. SPENCER: No! She did???? MEGAN: Yes, I heard it on MSNBC, but I was already laughing so hard I couldn't laugh any harder. SPENCER: Republican pollster Scott Rasmussen has Obama up two points in... North Carolina. End times! This guy is fucked. He just lost the election. McCain better pray for a terrorist attack or some shit. MEGAN: I think he already masturbates to that. I don't think you can pray one-handed.

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What I want to know is this: if McCain has "suspended" his campaign, why did I see a McCain ad on TV this morning? (I'm in SC.)