McCain Saves Wall St.; AP Has the Photos to Prove It

Today’s Associated Press coverage gives me the funny feeling that McCain had something to do with passing the Wall St. rescue package:

On the basis of that first headline and photo, who gets credit for the rescue package? Leaving aside that Obama’s the sixth headline, and that he’s inclined to support something that’s apparently different (something far less glamorous known as a “bailout”), or that he was also in Washington the same time as McCain, I clicked on the full AP story to make sure it wasn’t an accident.

Look, there he is again, rushing in to save us! I clicked on the photo, which leads to a slide show about the stock markets. In the slide show, McCain appears four times (once with Palin), in situations unrelated to the bailout itself. But that doesn’t keep the AP from, shall we say, associating the two. For example, this is one of AP’s photo captions:

Republican presidential nominee Arizona Senator John McCain, seen here on September 24, 2008, in New York City, said Thursday his “old navy pilot” instincts told him he must suspend his White House bid, hours before flying to Washington for unprecedented talks on the Wall Street bailout plan.

Did I mention that Obama was in Washington too? (And … “old navy pilot” instincts? WTF does that have to do with running a country?) Here’s another AP caption:

Republican presidential nominee Arizona Senator John McCain addresses the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City. US lawmakers said Thursday they had agreed on the fundamentals of a multi-billion dollar historic deal to rescue Wall Street and shore up the world’s biggest economy.

What does the Clinton Global Initiative have to do with the stock markets? Nothing. The CGI was a big celebrity pow-wow, which occurred after McCain had allegedly suspended his campaign so he could solve all our problems. Say what you will, but if you suspend your campaign, you don’t go around campaigning. (David Letterman hammered him for this, and rightly so.)

Frank Rich has a great recap in the New York Times of Mr. McCain’s Wild Ride this week, pointing to a few other factors that might have caused McCain to suspend his campaign:

  • “[T]he day after his former idol Alan Greenspan pronounced the current crisis a “once-in-a-century” catastrophe …  McCain reaffirmed for the umpteenth time that the “fundamentals of our economy are strong”
  • Or that Obama was ahead by nine percentage points in the polls
  • Or that Sarah Palin had taped an interview with CBS News where she sounded like a beauty pageant contestant who hadn’t quite grasped the politics question
  • Or that McCain’s campaign manager had been taking in $15,000 a month from Freddie Mac

So let’s recap the recap: McCain is down in the polls, made a dumb pick for VP, his campaign manager has serious conflict-of-interest problems, and McCain doesn’t get the economy, even after Greenspan explains it. So he makes a desperate effort to upstage all of these problems by suspending his campaign, and doing what most called political grandstanding.

Despite all this, the Associated Press has no problem putting McCain’s photo next to the rescue package success story.

Look for the AP/Fox News merger any day now.

McCain: “There’s gonna be more wars.”

“The truth is that, in national security terms, [John McCain] is largely untested and untried. He’s never been responsible for policy formation. He’s never had leadership in a crisis, or in anything larger than his own element on an aircraft carrier or [in managing] his own congressional staff.

It’s not clear that this is going to be the strong suit that he thinks it is … McCain’s weakness is that he’s always been for the use of force, force, and more force. In my experience, the only time to use force is as a last resort ….

When he talks about throwing Russia out of the G8 and makes ditties about bombing Iran, he betrays a disrespect for the office of the presidency.” — Retired General Wesley Clark on John McCain

Putting the Sideshow into Perspective

The New York Times op-ed writers have been doing a good job of covering the Sarah Palin sideshow. Frank Rich did a perfect blog wrap-up of what’s wrong with her last week:

She didn’t say “no thanks” to the “Bridge to Nowhere” until after Congress had already abandoned it but given Alaska a blank check for $223 million in taxpayers’ money anyway. Far from rejecting federal pork, she hired lobbyists to secure her town a disproportionate share of earmarks ($1,000 per resident in 2002, 20 times the per capita average in other states). Though McCain claimed “she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities,” she has never issued a single command as head of the Alaska National Guard. As for her “executive experience” as mayor, she told her hometown paper in Wasilla, Alaska, in 1996, the year of her election: “It’s not rocket science. It’s $6 million and 53 employees.” Her much-advertised crusade against officials abusing their office is now compromised by a bipartisan ethics investigation into charges that she did the same.

And that doesn’t even include Palin’s greedy little habit of billing the taxpayers of Alaska for the nights she spent — at home. Another Times columnist, Gail Collilns, had a different (and very funny) take on things. She took a question-and-answer approach to soothe Democrats’ ruffled feathers:

But the vice president isn’t supposed to get any attention, and all people can talk about is Palin, Palin, Palin!

True. I think that’s because she’s from Alaska. It’s got that frontier aura that we’ve missed since all the cowboy television series were canceled a generation ago. Plus, it gives us the opportunity to talk a lot about moose, which are a funny animal no matter how you slice it. If Palin had been a deer-hunting mom from New Jersey, John McCain would have gotten no post-convention bump whatsoever.

McCain, by the way, is the Republican nominee for president. You may remember him from the Sarah Palin convention in Minneapolis, where he gave a speech and was congratulated by Sarah Palin.

This isn’t an accident. Rick Davis, who is John McCain’s campaign manager, said in an interview with the Washington Post, “This election is not about issues. This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.”

It would be nice if the country and world were humming along so nicely that we could talk about moose and lipstick on pigs and whether or not Sarah Palin is hot.

But in case you thought Sarah Palin actually was newsworthy, the Huffington Post offers a handy summary of what’s actually happening, which includes the future of US global leadership (dwindling), the stock market (diving), another massive bank (in danger of collapse), problems with Iraq safety and its parliament, the economy (weakening), unemployment (rising), and US – Russia relations (deteriorating).

Oh, and that doesn’t even include climate change, which is melting the arctic ice, warming seas and strengthening hurricanes, and is now classified by the Center for Naval Analysis as a US national security threat.

Maybe if we paid more attention to that stuff, and less to the cult of personality, we’d see what the rest of the world sees (they prefer Obama to McCan by a margin of four to one).