Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Leadership or Overreaction? . . . Rationality or Selfishness?

Today, John McCain suspended his presidential campaign to return to Washington and lend a hand at hammering out a government bailout plan to, hopefully, help the current economic crisis from snowballing.  He has called on Barack Obama to join him, but Obama declined.  He will return to Washington tomorrow to meet with McCain and President George W. Bush about the issue but he's planning on debating McCain or an empty chair Friday . . . whether or not a debate would be a distraction.  (Link to Associated Press story here.)

Both of these candidates (and Joe Biden for that matter) are elected representatives serving in the U.S. Senate.  Since they haven't resigned to run for president, shouldn't they be continuing to do their jobs as senators as the race proceeds?  Especially when crisis seems to be looming? 

McCain going back to Washington to focus on the task at hand shows character and leadership.  What is most important to him right now is working toward fixing the current economic mess - not running for president.  That says something about him.  At first blush, I thought that this move was overreaction, but I think that it might actually be a sign of leadership.  

If historical issues are being considered in the U.S. Congress, U.S. senators should be devoting their attention to those issues instead of cramming for a debate like it was history test.

But Obama said no.  He'll keep on cramming and plans to show up for the debate even if McCain won't be coming.  Is this the rational move?  I mean, Obama's priority is winning the White House and falling in line behind McCain's bold move wouldn't look very presidential.  And taking time to study will probably help his presentation.

But on the other hand, Obama is a senator.  His refusal could simply be selfishness.

How this all plays out should be interesting.


Anonymous said...

Your first reaction was correct. Why would this debate prevent him from doing his job as a senator otherwise?How does skipping a presidential debate during this nearly unprecedented situation benefit the American people? Bear in mind I will be voting for McCain, but this is ridiculous. Regardless of his actual motivation, it makes him look like someone who wants to be seen as taking the higher road, being a leader, etc., rather than one who actually is doing so.

dameon said...

The presidential debate can be posponed and rescheduled at a later date. These men are senators and are getting paid much more than I make to be in Washington to help run this country. Obama's been a senator for two years - but he's been campaigning for president for that whole time. Has he ever actually worked at the job he was elected to do?

A historical policy making decision such as this requires them to be in Washington. While McCain's campaign probably gave him the green light for political purposes and positioning, I believe HIS motives are correct and in the right place - time to get back to business.

"I'd rather loose and election than loose a war" - this is the same thing. He'd rather help to fix this problem for the country than win an election.