As Wall Street implodes and the CEOs who ruined their companies walk away with millions, Obama and McCain are jockeying for position on the economy. Obama created a television ad almost two minutes long detailing his economic plan. McCain flip-flopped on the AIG issue (to nationalize or not to nationalize), spouted some populist rhetoric about "greed and corruption" on Wall Street, stated that his position on the Senate Commerce Committee gives him great experience because the committee "oversights every part of our economy," which it does not, and called for a 9/11 type commission to investigate what happened on Wall Street. Even in what is supposed to be his stronghold - foreign affairs - he showed ineptitude and tired grudges when he refused to say that he would meet with Spain's Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, (despite calling for improved Spanish-American relations back in April) and repeatedly talking about Latin America (not Spain) when Zapatero's name was repeatedly brought up by the interviewing reporter.
Additionally, reminiscent of Al Gore's infamous internet remark, McCain's top economic advisor, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, held up his BlackBerry to reporters, stating, "He did this. Telecommunications of the United States is a premier innovation in the past 15 years - comes right through the Commerce Committee - so you're looking at the miracle John McCain helped create, and that's what he did." Nevermind that in the past McCain has said that while he uses a BlackBerry, he does not e-mail, saying "I've never felt the particular need to e-mail."
On top of ole' Dougie's gaffe comes senior McCain advisor Carly Fiorina's statement that Sarah Palin (who apparently is beginning to call it the Palin-McCain campaign, not McCain-Palin's campaign) would be unable to run a large corporation like Hewlett-Packard (the company that Fiorina herself ran until being forced out in 2005 with $21 million severance). In an attempt to correct herself several hours later, she stated that neither McCain, Obama, or Biden could run a corporation like HP. She followed this up later saying that McCain and Palin are "fast learners." I guess that is a bit counter-intuitive to the whole "experience" argument coming from the McCain camp, but hey, throw McCain in the Oval Office, he'll pick up the hang of it in a year or two - he's a fast learner, you know (he taught himself to ride a bike in a week - a week!). In all seriousness, it's expected that Fiorina would say that Obama or Biden could not run a major corporation, but you have to think twice when she says that her own boss could not do it.
All in all, not a great week for McCain. First he's against the nationalization of AIG (a Republican position), then he's for it (a Communist position) - a position similar to Bush's regarding bailing out private companies in the past few months. Second he appears to either a) continue to hold a grudge against Spain for not being complicit in the Iraq conflict or b) does not know that Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is the Prime Minister of Spain (despite constantly spouting his foreign affairs experience) and assumed that Zapatero was the leader of a Latino country because of his name. Then his top economic advisor attributes the flourishing of the BlackBerry to McCain (despite history telling us taking credit for something you did not do is dishonest and will bite you in the ass [see: Al Gore]) and one of his senior advisors says that neither he nor his running mate would be able to run a major corporation (she knows that the President is the head of the executive branch, right?). All of this begs the question - if McCain's position on AIG is eerily similar to that of the current president, he does not know who the Prime Minister of Spain is or simply holds a grudge against him because he went by the facts when Bush & Co. did not, and he cannot even keep his staffers under control when he brags that he can rein in Washington's lobbying and corruption, how is he going to run this country differently than the man at the helm the last eight years? Peace.
Photos - McCain at a rally in Jacksonville on September 15 (abcnews.go.com), Douglas Holtz-Eakin sans BlackBerry (money.cnn.com), Carly Fiorina (www3.babson.edu)