The Chinese curse about living in interesting times is indeed pretty apropos right now. With the largest financial institutions crumbling around our ears, we have the sight of one presidential candidate heading to Washington to attempt to alleviate the crisis--or so he says--and another reluctantly trailing along. The first debate between John McCain and Barack Obama is scheduled for tonight, but John McCain may not show up if a bailout agreement has not been reached. And at this writing, early Friday AM, conservative Republicans are fighting the government's 700 billion dollar package as "socialism."
Well....there are few parallels for this in American electoral history. One things of Herbert Hoover and his horrendous presidential campaign in 1932, as the Great Depression sunk deeply in, when crowds followed him shouting "We want bread!" But Hoover was the incumbent. John McCain has unilaterally "suspended campaigning"--of course, he is politicking vigorously--and the last time that happened during a presidential contest was after Teddy Roosevelt was shot in 1912.
McCain's stance at this point only highlights what a wild card he is--this is a huge gamble on his part, as was his choice of Sarah Palin (whose dreadful interview with Katie Couric is making the rounds of the Internet). Unless he can show he is actually helping the country make progress in this crisis, his involvement here will be seen as grandstanding. Barack Obama, for his part, seems to be attempting to take the calmer, higher road, but once again, he risks appearing uninvolved or unengaged.
Tomorrow I will provide omments on the Ole Miss debate, if it happens. It is certainly one I think no political junkie will want to miss. The topic is supposed to be foreign affairs, but the economy--more and more seeming like a foreign affair--will certainly come to the fore.
In the meantime, I am doing quite a bit of traveling this month, talking at colleges on Anything for a Vote and elections present and past. Below is a list of my appearances. They are open to the public, so if you live near a school in question, check their website for details and come on by.
Wittenburg University, Ohio- Sept. 29
Northern Kentucky KT– Sept 30
Middlesex and UMASS/Boston - October 6th...
University of Idaho-October 8
Auburn University/Montgomery – October 10th
University of Wyoming-October 15
Columbus State Community College (OH) - October 16th
Virginia Tech- October 20
Hofstra University – October 23rd