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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

McCain’s Fishy Debate Postponement Proposal

Much of the speculation about McCain’s debate postponement proposal around the blogs settles on grandstanding as The Noble Bipartisan (Digby and The Fix), putting Obama on the spot and inadequate debate preparation (Tapped) as his real motives, all of which are plausible explanations.
I suspect another motive is that he would like to push the foreign policy debate closer to the election to give it a little more shelf-life in voters’ minds. The tip-off would be if his campaign fights hard to make the last debate about foreign policy. McCain and others believe foreign policy and national security are his strong cards, and that debate affords his best opportunity to shine in comparison to Obama. He may be wrong about that for a number of reasons, but it’s never stopped him before.
I’m not sure it helps him. His postponement proposal may well add to the image of McCain as erratic, mercurial, and distracted, in addition to the obvious grandstanding meme. McCain clearly has an inordinate fondness for the ‘wow factor’ and the ‘Hail Mary.’ He’s the player most likely to bet the ranch on an inside straight as the situation deteriorates. You couldn’t blame voters for thinking ‘I don’t know what this guy is going to do next.’
Here’s hoping Obama doesn’t fall for rescheduling the foreign policy debate. If McCain simply refuses to debate, then nothing happens on Friday. But Obama should hang tough as the solid, steady guy who shows up on time and keeps his agreements. Let McCain, who has missed 412 of 643 Senate votes this session, be viewed as the one who didn’t show for the debate, either.

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