McCain’s Ploy – Potential Boon for Obama?

 I just got done reading the blog over at Nate Silver’s site: Fivethirtyeight and he’s got an opinion piece up about the debates.  Nate’s poll analysis and attention to detail is tremendous, but haven’t really given much credence to his political commentary.  However, his debate article had a lot of good points.  That got me to thinking about the events over the last couple of days.

The big question is will McCain show up for the debate tomorrow and how will these events from the last several days affect the polls.  I think as things stand now, there is very little losing proposition for Obama.

If the debate is cancelled – With polls showing overwelming support to continue the debates and expected viewership over 34M or more, Obama can say this is all McCain’s fault.  He can thank George Bush for drawing him into Washington (so he didn’t look like he’s following McCain) and then can blame Bush and McCain for having politics enter the discussion and compromising a deal (a ‘I told you so’)

If the debate goes on without McCain – Obama will have the biggest audience of his life for one hour and in a format he does very well – 1-on-1 with Jim Lehrer.  They might do a town hall, and while Obama may not be the best in a debate format, I think with no time limits he can be a little Clinton-like and own the room.

If the debate goes on with McCain and no bailout deal – First, McCain blinked and his reputation is damaged for not staying true to his word.  His credibility takes a large hit.  Second, he’ll look like General Sherman destroying DC and not getting anything done.

If the debate goes on with McCain and there is a deal – This might be a slight win, lose, or draw for Obama.  Whether McCain gets credit for the bailout is a different issue.  But, if he does get credit – much of that will be lost and by being overshadowed by his debate performance – good or bad.  And if there is a deal, it probably won’t be first thing in the morning meaning he will spend nearly no time preparing for the debate.

The worst scenario, and you can be sure the Republicans will be pushing it – is if they get to an agreement and the vote occurs late in the afternoon. Heck, even a scheduled mid-day vote can end up being stalled for many reasons.  Then you may end up with Obama having to fly to DC to vote and missing the debate.  However, there are still ways out for Obama.  The first would be, since the Democrats control the House, they can hold up the contentious House vote until very late Friday or Saturday morning.  They can claim that they felt it was important for the country to have the debate and several hours and a closed market wasn’t going to make a difference (the GOP still could play games and decide to take the deal off the table if the Dems do that – or be accused of politicing).  Obama could go back and vote and challenge McCain to have a debate in DC with the country expecting one – it would put McCain on the spot especially with his rhetoric of having a Town Hall Meeting anywhere and at anytime.  Rest assured, there will be quid pro quo for any of these events happening, but Obama should feel a little comfortable.

The strategists will be working well into the night, morning, and mid-day to figure out all the permutations for the debate tomorrow.  It will be very interesting who comes up with biggest surprise to control the agenda tomorrow.  I think Obama is on solid ground, but as Palin, the suspended campaign, and today’s torpedoed deal show us – nothing is normal and McCain is capable of unimaginable surprises.

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One Response

  1. McCain getting back into the debate is a purely political move, like everything else he does… it’s not that he wants to inform Americans or demonstrate his know-how, he just thought thought not showing up to the debates would make him look bad

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