John McCain: Seeing his momentum starting to slip away as the economy takes hold of the national discussion, the wiley senator from Arizona executes another brilliant move. This afternoon, he announces a suspension in his campaign and says he will delay Friday’s scheduled debate with Barack Obama so he can return to Washington and help solve the economic crisis. This is another master stroke, making himself look like a bold, statesmanlike, and nonpartisan leader. He has changed the national discussion once again.
Obama, initially muttering something about a president being able to “multitask,” is clearly caught off guard. Chalk one up for the old guy who supposedly doesn’t know how to use a computer.
George W. Bush: The president, his public approval ratings still in the toilet, could have sounded defensive and accusatory in his brief address to the nation tonight about the proposed bailout. After all, many Democrats-including Barney Frank and Barack Obama-bear a large part of the responsibility for the mess we are in. But Bush’s priority is not to defend his “legacy” but to bring all sides together to solve the problem. He blames no one and admits his plan is a work in process. This evening reminds me of the man’s basic decency and good will. Good job, Mr. President.
Sarah Palin: Amid the hounding of an angry media elite that she is not giving enough interviews, Palin today has a sit-down with Katie Couric. Again, she seems too deferential to a news person seeking mainly to embarrass her. When Couric asks her what measures McCain has taken to address national financial problems, Palin gives her a perfectly good answer. But Couric, sensing weakness, presses the Alaska governor for more examples. After some verbal stalling, Palin eventually admits she can’t cite any more and will get back to her. You can almost hear Couric’s triumphant “Gotcha!”
I wish Palin had instead said this, with a smile: “Katie, I’ve already answered this question. I think you might be trying to score political points here, and that’s inappropriate, given the crisis facing our nation this week. Let’s either move on to another subject, or this interview is over. Please don’t waste my time, or the American’s people’s time.” Palin, who is pretty new to the national spotlight, may not have all the answers on the tip of her tongue, but she should demonstrate to her adversaries in the press that she is not to be messed with.
Kind of like John McCain.