Monday, September 29, 2008

The Mother of All Gimmicks

Guest-post today from YKW:

Not being a reporter, I have no personal knowledge of any of the following, but my own cynical view of the McCain Bailout stunt is a bit more conspiratorial than I've seen reported so far.

Here are the facts:

1. McCain's down in the polls because of the economy tanking.
2. McCain's down in the polls because his running mate is Sarah Palin. (Which is starting to sound like its own cockney slang -- "I was going to swap my pair of orchestra tickets for tonight's play for
4 seats in the balcony next week, but I got Sarah Palin at the box office window and the manager wasn't around to bail her out."
3. McCain loves the bold unpopular move.
4. McCain wanted to show his independence from Bush.
5. McCain wanted to show-up Obama with his "country first" attack on Barack's patriotism - which means we shouldn't have a silly debate on Friday.
6. McCain knows that he can't win with Sarah Palin, and that he can't win without the die-hard new conservatives of his party.
7. He needs the Mother of All Gimmicks to get back on top, and McCain's just the guy to reach back and blow one out.

Enter one ERIC CANTOR, young, conservative, smart, relatively unknown, 4-term Republican Congressman from battleground state Virginia, representing wealthy suburbs of Richmond. Oh, and he's also Jewish, the only Jewish Republican in the House. More on this in a few paragraphs.

The House Republicans don't like the bailout bill proposed by Paulson. Cantor works the House Republicans into a frenzy to support his own bailout initiative, which is at odds with the President, Paulson, Bernanke, and the negotiated bill emerging from House Democrats, Senate Democrats, and Senate Republicans. By Thursday morning, he's got several dozen House Republicans willing to scuttle the entire bailout, but keeps it secret until... John McCain comes into town. They have lunch (this was reported in the newspaper) and now McCain begins to consider the MOTHER OF ALL GIMMICKS:

1. At the big White House meeting, stay quiet for a while and let it appear that Obama and Bush are agreeing to pay off Wall Street bigwigs.
2. Then, when finally pressed, say "NO DEAL! I'm with the House Republicans!" which is essentially what he did do. Then see what happens if he soft-pedals the Cantor plan.

Here I go off on a little poetic license:

3. Overnight, should the Cantor plan succeed, McCain would then be all over the TV as the White Knight who saved taxpayers from the Wall Street-Obama plan, while appearing to be a Maverick for bucking the president too!
4. McCain takes credit for rescuing the economy on the back of Eric Cantor, wonderboy.
5. All of a sudden, Sarah Palin catches a cold, Kremlin-style and drops out of sight. A few days pass, and Palin drops out of the race for an unspecified medical reason that the family wants to remain private, take care of her kids, whatever, everyone breathes a small sigh of relief, until...
6. McCain announces his new running mate, ERIC CANTOR! And why not, he can deliver just as many conservatives as Sarah, there might even be a Sarah sympathy vote out there, he seems much more reliable and is certainly smarter than Sarah, and he can help in several battleground states: Virginia, his home state; Florida - they'd have a Jewish congressman to court Jewish voters, surely he'd be on stage with John's other pal, Lieberman; and the same goes for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, and Michigan.

The market tanking Friday morning and the pressure to attend the
debate probably caused McCain to shy away from this Uber-Gimmick.
Thankfully. McCain-Cantor would be a much more formidable challenge than the current choice. With 40 days until the election, Republicans and even some Democrats would have enough time to get over the "I can't believe he really dumped her, what lousy judgment he has" talk, and would be well into the "we really have to take this new VP candidate seriously" talk, sucking all of the air out of the election completely, which has been the only thing McCain has demonstrated he can do with regularity.

Might still happen - hopefully someone will give me credit.

Cantor was indeed vetted by McCain as a possible running mate...