Acting presidential

Barack Obama has been getting high marks for “appearing presidential” with his calm demeanor during the economic crisis. John McCain is still on shaky footing. This week he’s acting like the underdog who is gonna “fight, fight, fight” for the American people. Wonder what role he’ll be playing in Wednesday’s final debate.

Forget that — how’s he going to do when he appears on Letterman’s show Thursday. McCain, you might remember, bailed on Dave a few weeks ago because he had to save America from the financial meltdown. Letterman, as is his want, drilled McCain relentlessly for days after, getting in one good shot after another. But McCain usually shines on these talk shows. He’ll make up with Dave through some carefully constructed humor written just for the occasion. Letterman joked that McCain’s dip in the polls started after he canceled his Late Show appearance. Since politicians are generally superstitious, McCain better show up. He can make light of his own mistakes by way of a Top Ten list of his own: “And the No. 1 reason I’m usually proven right: The Stock Market soared 936 points Monday. The fundamentals of the economyARE strong!”

He’ll be the affable old codger mavericky come-from-behind they-counted-me-out-before politician.But he’s got someexplaining to do at the debate. Like some of his so-called surrogates still practicing hat over Obama’s character. It continues to get ugly: Pastor Arnie Conrad apparently channeled God at an invocation for McCain. He suggested that the Almighty “guard your own reputation” because Obama prays to a different God like some of them there Arabs and Muslims. The McCain campaign distanceditself from this pickle brain but, naturally, after he got his 15 minutes of media fame. That’slike a judge telling a jury to disregard a statement made during a testimony after they already heard it. Then there’s the Virginia GOP party chairman who said Obama and bin Laden “both have friends that bombed the Pentagon.” Someone ought to poll the redneck factor in this election. It might be scarier than we could ever imagine.

Admitting he’s down in the polls, McCain isstill positive — telling his supporters “we’ve got them right where we want them.” He may be on to something. Obama may be peaking too soon and couldfall into the trap of appearingover-confident. If the economy rebounds in thenext few weeks, there will be an opening the size of the Grand Canyon for McCain to once again attack Obama on character and being too-risky. ThenMcCain and Palin could winugly.Politics does make strange bedfellows. Like finding that night’ s special someone during last call at a bar. But since many politicians are so ethically-challenged, the thought of not respecting themselves in the morning never enters their mind.

COLD AS ICE

You know your campaign isn’t where you want it to be when you get booed at a sporting event — even if you have your child with you and she’s wearing the home team’s jersey. That’s what happened over the weekend to Sarah Palin when she dropped the first puck at the Philadelphia Flyers first home game of the new season. America’s No. 1 hockey mom was on thin ice. More proof that Palinis a novice. Politics 101: When running for political office, never try to make yourself the center of attention at an adreneline-filled, beer-ed up sporting event. It isn’t your base. And Philly isn’t exactly the City of Brotherly Loveas advertised. In fact, Philadelphia is to the City of Brotherly Love as Sarah Palin is to qualified. By the way, the Phillies aren’t showing the Dodgers much love either, are they?

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