McCain’s Big Gamble: How it could work? How it could fail?

McCain’s big Gamble.  How it could work?  How it could fail?

Several years ago John McCain must have locked himself in his Senate office bathroom and looked in the mirror and said, “Look pal, you are a moderate conservative in an ultra conservative party and if you run a traditional campaign you are going to lose. 

“As far as the general election is concerned, forget it.  The Republican brand is damaged and the economy is failing.  Again, you are going to lose, that is the historic trend.  To fight the trend is to fight the wind.  There is only one way you could possibly win in 2008 and that is to jumble the pieces so entirely that they are beyond all recognition.  Pal, you are going to have to take chances.”

And boy, has he ever taken chances.  He promoted the surge before the White House and lo and behold, after being bogged down in Iraq for years, it worked.  And he has been rolling the dice ever since.

He cancelled the Republican National Convention because of a hurricane headed toward New Orleans and then reconvened.  It was a huge risk.  But it worked. 

He picked a woman who combined his instincts for reform and in the process has practically stolen the mantra for “change in Washington” from Barack Obama.  Even his worst enemies will admit that Sarah Palin worked.  It is why they have all been so quick to savage her for the last two weeks.

And now?  He is at it again.  He is saying that as a Senator he must cancel the campaign, including Friday’s foreign policy debate, which would have been his strength but would have been overshadowed by economic events, and return to Washington and the U.S. Senate to work out a solution for the American economy.

Obama says he will show up for the debate anyway.  It is high stakes drama.  It is almost like Bobby Fisher not showing up for the first match with Boris Spasky, conceding the game but totally disorienting Spasky.  It must all be unnerving to the Obama camp.

Here is how it will work.  If the Democratic congress stalls on an economic solution this week, they will be seen as politicking by Warren Buffet and other citizens sincerely concerned about the economy.  John McCain can blame it on the Democratic politicians and say that he went back to Washington and tried but Obama was more interested in becoming president than in solving an economic crisis.  And he refused to use his party leadership to urge his colleagues to come up with a plan.

On the other hand, if the Democratic congress works with the Republicans and come up with a solution and the stock market soars, McCain can say that he went back and helped, he put the economy first.  And while the real results of the solution will be unknown, all McCain needs is a 30 day resurgent stock market to make the point that he did something while Obama campaigned.  Nice.

And if Obama changes his mind and comes back to the Senate too?  It will be seen as an admission that McCain was right and selfless and was the true leader, who came to his senses first.

On the other hand…. Obama will say that McCain doesn’t want to debate because he knows he will lose.  That the Republicans are in the White House and they got us into this mess in the first place.  “Where is he?  He is hiding in the U. S. Senate.  Come out and debate me.”

And McCain will say, “I begged him to debate for months.  Now the country needs both of us.  Let’s do our job for the American people and then we can have as many debates as you want.  This crisis won’t wait.  It needs leadership now.  Obama could give it.  But he won’t.   He says he will change Washington and will work across the aisle, well we need that now, Senator.  We need that now.”

Whatever happens, this is a high wire act.  These are two of the most skilled politicians the country has seen in years and it is a pity that they couldn’t both be presidents.


Published by Doug Wead

Doug Wead is a New York Times bestselling author whose latest book, Game of Thorns, is about the Trump-Clinton 2016 election. He served as an adviser to two American presidents and was a special assistant to the president in the George H.W. Bush White House.

4 thoughts on “McCain’s Big Gamble: How it could work? How it could fail?

  1. I am very impressed by what John McCain did yesterday. Now, of course, the leaders are complaining that they are close to agreement, but have to waste time going to the White House for a “photo shoot.” They apparently think McCain’s coming is a waste of time–showboating–and that they already have things well in hand.

    It was sort of what Obama said yesterday, that he didn’t want to bring campaign politics into the mix, and was remaining in close contact by phone with all the leaders. But it did look as though he wasn’t willing to shut things down for a season and go to the country’s rescue.

    It is one of those watch and see deals–sort of like everything else this year. I am having fun just watching and trying to keep from being periodically ticked off.

  2. I think this is a big mistake on McCains part. According to Rasmussen, 44% of the electorate opposes the plan while only 35% actually supports it (with 31% unsure).
    The anti-plan voices are getting louder and louder . over the enxt few days, more people will realize this is no Robin Hood saving of the economy but simply a plan to tkae from the middle and upper middle class 9whose who pay most of the taxes0 and give it to the ultra-rich (those who run the banking institutions).
    Handing over all that money to the fools who got us into this mess is a very bad move and we will see that it will be about as as effective as a single bag of sand in the face of a flood.
    i am willing to bet that smart politician will remain relativley voiceless on this even if their party strong arms them into voting for it.

    McCain’s move will not really look so presidential as it will look like he is selling out to wall street.

  3. I’ve heard Obama’s constituents are blowing up his phone lines, flooding his email and lighting up the fax machines- They’re telling him to vote PRESENT again.

    I’m calling Mitch in KY and telling him to vote NO for any bailouts!!!!!

    Unless he wants to freeze my mortgage interest and refund the points I paid on my last mortgage, lets have a few banks and insurance companies fail. It’ll be good for them. Builds character.

    I’m no historian, but this quote has crossed my path at least 5 times in the last few months.

    Thomas Jefferson once said:

    “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies . . . If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] . . . will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered . . . The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” — Thomas Jefferson — The Debate Over The Recharter Of The Bank Bill, (1809)

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