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John McCain: Don’t Panic Mr. President

September 26, 2008

The appearance of leadership combined with political posturing is nothing at all.

fearful eyes of panic

presidential eyes of panic

Senator John McCain has stated that he is headed to Washington to assume a “leadership role” in rectifying the nation’s current economic dilemma. What? Who? This, from the man who has repeatedly stated and demonstrated a severe lack of economic prowess, even by his own admission. This is a man who’s economic ineptitude has scarred his professional and political image and possibly broken the back of his campaign. Even if his intentions were pure, I would be compelled to say: “thanks, but no thanks” to his offer of leadership on anything related to resolving this nation’s economic crisis.

Senator McCain has publicly suggested that the first of three scheduled presidential debates to be held on September 26th, be postponed while he simultaneously announced that he is suspending his campaign for the Presidency of the United States. In short, he’s panicking again presenting a more refined pattern of uncertain if not curious behavior.

Where's Waldo?

Where's Waldo?

If what has been stated and observed is to be believed, then Senator McCain is the last person we need in Washington right now. Given his propensity for changing position over the past ten days and his admissions with regard to limited understanding of the economy, I am at a loss to fathom exactly what he plans to do after his announcement that he is riding to the rescue.

Only days ago he stated that our economic fundamentals are strong. He then recanted that statement and went so far as to call for the firing of the SEC Chairman (Chris Cox). He was initially against the bailout of AIG. His primary economic advisor at the time, former Senator Phil Graham said that the nation was in a mental recession. Now only yesterday it has been discovered that Senator McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, was receiving a fifteen thousand dollar a month payoff from Fannie May up until last month for undisclosed services or access. These are only a few examples of the many embarrassing and ignorant statements and discoveries that have come from the McCain campaign recently. Economics aside, it appears that he can’t even manage his campaign professionally or fluidly. And equally important his campaign has no ability to manage or advise their candidate.

There are three things that few would dispute and the national polls seem to be bearing this out: Senator McCain does not have a clue… when it comes to the economy. And what is more, he seeming has little or no control over those he selects to assist and advise him. And finally, he absolutely does not listen to his advisors anyway. His selection of Governor Palin as his running mate is startling evidence of the propensity to ignore advice and input, while making an independently panicked decision. His decisions grow more troubling to his campaign with each passing day.

Apparently Senator McCain has not fully absorbed this whole 24 hour media cycle thing either. It certainly appears that he is not very good at taking advice. No capable group of career political operatives could have possibly advised Senator McCain to make the many rash “shoot from the hip” statements and assessments of the past ten days. He is obviously making it up as he goes along. Picking and choosing targets and topics with reckless abandon even when he is unprepared to support of justify his decisions or words.

freaking out

freaking out

We have seen Senator McCain lose it before, and his reputation for ill temperament is now well known. This is not an example of political posturing or leadership. Senator McCain is panicking or freaking out. His panic isn’t statesmanship. While not presidential, he has good reason to panic at this point. If I were him I would prefer to run back to Washington right now also. Under the transparent guise of leadership, McCain will use the cover of a “financial crisis,” while playing “Where’s Waldo” in the Senate until the heat is off. In his position, I would claim that I am attempting to show leadership, even though I have no purpose or definitive role on any of the committees charged with resolving this matter. I would suspend my campaign and seek to avoid a historic public debate in front of one hundred million Americans. In fact, standing before the nation during an economic crisis of this magnitude is probably the worst case for Senator John S. McCain right now. He has seven homes, thirteen cars and a beautiful wealthy wife. But he has repeatedly shown and publicly stated his lack of economic matters. What is worse is the fact that he just last week tried to tell America that things are just not that bad economically. He is in a very tenuous position politically and what he needs more than anything else right now is a place to hunker down.

The meltdown on Wall Street is being described as an “Economic 911” by many politicians and media pundits. Americans who lack clear understanding are again being silenced and forced to sit on their hands as tales of doom are showered upon them by our governmental leadership. As Americans scratch their heads and listen to the reports of another Great Depression looming, hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars will be spirited away into thin air. Clearly the relationships between those on Wall Street and Washington are the poisonous concoction that created this problem. Our leading politicians have already admitted to this.

protecting reputations

protecting reputations

The only matter yet unresolved is how to first bailout Wall Street with reasonable protections of our tax dollars and protecting troubled tax payers embedded in any such proposal. The questions of free markets versus regulation will remain for us all to ponder and decide in the future. What also seems clear at this point is that the original Bush/Cheney proposal will not be accepted by a frightened nation and congressional leadership without sweeping conditions. That alone is progress. Apparently we did learn something about the man and his scare tactics after the historic disaster that was the Iraq war.

If the ten billion a month that America is spending on the Iraq war had been available it would nearly cover the cost of our current economic crisis. Senator McCain vows to continue this needless war. What’s more, if Senator McCain and his crony Phil Gramm had not been such stalwart and influential opponents of any reasonable form of regulation we might have avoided this calamity.

If Senator McCain had been appropriately disciplined for his role in the “Keating Five” scandal of the 1980’s when twenty thousand Americans were swindled out of their life savings, we might not be listening to his foolishness right now. But if he is elected President, we will all be in deep “mustang manure”. The last thing we need is another controlling, confused hothead threatening America with tales of terror and doom while nauseating world leaders and fracturing alliances using gunslinger ruthlessness from America, the new world badlands. All of this would transpire while millions of Americans continue to struggle to achieve even a small measure of comfort and economic security as they seek to live the nearly mythical American Dream.

no panic here

no panic here

If you are a Republican, like many Americans, you may be living on a budget that is tighter than John McCain’s pre-nup. But hey, just keep in mind that: “the fundamentals of our economy are strong”. This is a mental recession. And most importantly, after, twenty six years, Senator McCain is mad as hell. He is suspending his campaign and wearing his favorite political hero outfit, heading to Washington to make things right. Right now!

Should Senator McCain become our next President it is obvious that his advisors would spend the bulk of their time restraining him and issuing the following words of calm: “Don’t panic Mr. President”.

L. A. Walker, © Leon A. Walker

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