So I had just finished drafting a blog post about how the bubble had finally burst on Sarah Palin mania, leaving the McCain campaign just as far if not farther behind Barack Obama in the polls than it had been before the conventions. A new Washington Post poll shows Obama leading McCain by a whopping nine percent, and Palin now has the lowest favorability rating of any of the four candidates. Polls also show Obama benefiting the most from the Wall Street meltdown.
And just like that, McCain comes up with another crazy gimmick to try and save his sinking candidacy. Now he wants to suspend his campaign as well as the debates to return to Washington to participate in the effort to create a bailout plan for Wall Street. Apparently, he thinks Congress is incapable of managing without his help, despite the fact that he has by far the worst attendance record of any Senator for the current Congress. An instant poll also shows the public reacting very poorly to the idea of halting the campaign and the debates.
McCain's snap judgement on suspending the Presidential race is indicative of an emerging pattern of rash behavior on his part, as well as a demonstration of his inability to deliver ideas in a calm and collected manner. George Will observed this week that McCain, under pressure on the financial crisis, "is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high."
The other big news this week is the McCain campaign's weird war on the media. The first part of this conflict came into focus this past Sunday, when McCain's team accused the New York Times of seeking to undermine their campaign. These charges were delivered in the form of a conference call with reporters in which McCain's aides suggested a numbers of criticisms of Barack Obama that they felt the media had failed to adequately explore. However, as The Politico observed, "The call was so rife with simple, often inexplicable misstatements of fact that it may have had the opposite effect: to deepen the perception, dangerous to McCain, that he and his aides have little regard for factual accuracy." When a reporter sought clarification on a few things, McCain's team responsed not with facts to back their accusations, but instead with a charge that the reporter was "in the tank" for Obama.
The second part of the McCain's team multi-front war on journalists is evidenced by the continued cloistering of Sarah Palin. Palin of course has never held a press conference. But the McCain team's careful shielding of Palin goes far beyond that. On Tuesday, the press pool was told that they would not be admitted to Palin's photo-op meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, and genocidal maniac, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
The press is naturally becoming frustrated with the situation. In a commentary last night, CNN's Campbell Brown laid into John McCain, accusing him of sexism for casting a "chauvinistic chain" that ran over his running mate, and suggested that the time has come to "free Sarah Palin." Better yet, in 41 days let's all free ourselves from the Republicans.