It's not like he hasn't done it before, but in today's Op-Ed in the New York Times, Frank Rich gives Senator John McCain the dressing down he deserves after his disastrous campaign week. I have not seen the fraudulent machinations and manipulations of Team McCain laid out any better.
In a column titled, "McCain's Suspension Bridge to Nowhere," Rich writes:
What we learned last week is that the man who always puts his “country first” will take the country down with him if that’s what it takes to get to the White House.Dead on.
For all the focus on Friday night’s deadlocked debate, it still can’t obscure what preceded it: When John McCain gratuitously parachuted into Washington on Thursday, he didn’t care if his grandstanding might precipitate an even deeper economic collapse. All he cared about was whether he might save his campaign. George Bush put more deliberation into invading Iraq than McCain did into his own reckless invasion of the delicate Congressional negotiations on the bailout plan.
By the time he arrived, there already was a bipartisan agreement in principle. It collapsed hours later at the meeting convened by the president in the Cabinet Room. Rather than help try to resuscitate Wall Street’s bloodied bulls, McCain was determined to be the bull in Washington’s legislative china shop, running around town and playing both sides of his divided party against Congress’s middle. Once others eventually forged a path out of the wreckage, he’d inflate, if not outright fictionalize, his own role in cleaning up the mess his mischief helped make. Or so he hoped, until his ignominious retreat.
In my last post, I wrote about the latest revelations surrounding campaign manager Rick Davis and the fact that he was still receiving lobbying money from Freddie Mac up until last month. Rich, in his column, succinctly connects all the dots and also, as I did, wrote about the GOP tactic of making a pre-emptive strike to deflect attention away from his own serious political problems. As Rich put it:
The McCain campaign tried to pre-emptively deflect such revelations by reviving the old Rove trick of accusing your opponent of your own biggest failings. It ran attack ads about Obama’s own links to the mortgage giants. But neither of the former Freddie-Fannie executives vilified in those ads, Franklin Raines and James Johnson, had worked at those companies lately or are currently associated with the Obama campaign. (Raines never worked for the campaign at all.) By contrast, Davis is the tip of the Freddie-Fannie-McCain iceberg. McCain’s senior adviser, his campaign’s vice chairman, his Congressional liaison and the reported head of his White House transition team all either made fortunes from recent Freddie-Fannie lobbying or were players in firms that did.Rich goes on to discuss the other elements of the Team McCain meltdown...from the ludicrous Sarah Palin interview with Katie Couric...to the threatened debate postponement...to the Letterman fallout. Frank Rich makes a very clear case that there was never any true campaign suspension, just an unprecedented level of political grandstanding.
McCain's increasingly bizarre campaign moves are finally starting to make a dent in polls. If the American public cannot pick Senator Obama over a candidate who has run such an amazingly shoddy, clueless campaign, then we are in far worse shape than I could ever have imagined.
To check out the entire Rich column, click here.