Let me make one thing abundantly clear: this article is nothing short of sheerest speculation, a brief flash of fevered excitement generated purely by my subconscious mind in response to reading all sorts of articles and pulling ideas out of all of them (and a few out of my ass) to patch together a scenario that tickles me no end.
John McCain has said that he will not participate in tomorrow’s debate if he is still needed in Washington, DC, where he says he is needed to ride herd on Republicans and get them to support the bailout package — and keep it from getting perverted into yet another pork-laden bill that Congress is infamous for.
Barack Obama has said that he is following the situation closely, and will return to DC if he’s needed, but he will attend tomorrow’s scheduled debate. Indeed, he has said that if McCain doesn’t show, he’ll turn it into a town hall forum.
When I heard that, my ears pricked up and my mind started spinning in top gear. So far, McCain has shown an almost uncanny ability to get inside Obama’s head, to “get inside his OODA loop” (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) and throw the young upstart completely off his stride — two examples would be his buying an ad during the Democratic primary to congratulate him on his achievement, and picking Sarah Palin as his running mate. Could McCain pull another one on Obama?
Here’s how it would play out in my little fantasy:
McCain announces on Friday afternoon that he’s successfully gotten enough Republicans to back the bailout bill, and will attend the debate. He says that he understands that circumstances have changed and Senator Obama had spent the last day or so for an alternate forum, so he’s willing to waive the pre-arranged topic of foreign policy and talk about domestic issues, especially the economy. And he’ll even go along with the town-hall format, as Obama has said it would be in McCain’s absence.
At that point, Obama is, quite frankly, screwed. McCain will have taken all his statements and declarations on the debate and accepted each and every one of them. And by doing so, McCain will be not only taking the high road, but seizing the high ground — he will be able to talk at length at his efforts to try to save Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but being thwarted by the Democrats in the Senate — the last time, while Obama was in the Senate. And by choosing the town-hall format, he will be playing to his strengths in debates, where Obama is notoriously lousy when speaking off the cuff — especially of late.
At that point, tomorrow night’s debate could be a shattering blow to Obama.
As I said, this is nothing but wild speculation and sheerest fantasy. But it COULD play out this way,
And damn, wouldn’t that be fun?