Friday, September 26, 2008

John McCain and the (un)Democratic Process

With the first presidential debate scheduled for tonight, it seems like the right time to comment on the gross perversion of democracy that seems to pass for campaigning in John McCain's world.

There's the now-famous "suspend the debates" snafu, a weak moment for McCain in a lot of ways. The truth is that the man doesn't know anything about the economy (a self-admitted fact), so his presence won't enhance anyone's understanding of what exactly is going on. And if he wants to know what the bailout entails, well, someone can brief him as and when and if - if - he wins this crapshoot.

Why is the bailout more important than the many other very important things the government does every day? Why does the bailout necessitate that John McCain be on deck? It's a little bizarre.

And then there's the whole coddling-Sarah-Palin situation. If the woman can't play the angles, she should get off the court. That's how it is. The McCain camp badgered the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates into changing the format of the vice presidential debates because they were afraid that the old format would put Sarah, "a relatively inexperienced debater, at a disadvantage and largely on the defensive."

That's their admitted reason. It's an open secret that Sarah can't sling it. She muffed Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric, and they didn't even go all that hard on her. My point is: her own running mate admits that Palin doesn't have the level-headedness and plain intelligence to go head to head with Joe Biden.

What will she do when she faces Putin? (And by "faces" I don't mean stares forlornly at him across the frozen waters separating their admittedly close territories) Khamenei? Kim Yong-Il?

Will she go "on the defensive" then? Lose her head? What Would Palin Do?

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