Bob Franken

Cool Hand Luke it Isn’t

September 25, 2008
‘Cool Hand Luke’ It Isn’t (Bob Franken)
@ 10:03 am

There are at least two ways of looking at this:

Either John McCain is a duplicitous opportunist who blindsided Barack Obama and sought the political advantage. That might explain his tricky maneuvers to steal credit and momentum, by going public, immediately after privately assuring Obama they’d deal with the economy in a bipartisan way; OR

Obama is so naive, he still believes you can win a knife fight by FRONT-stabbing. So he was easily suckered into taking McCain at his word when the Republican was desperate to do anything to reverse his sliding poll numbers.

Maybe it was both.

By now we should know that this was not some “Cool Hand Luke” moment, a “failure to communicate.” This was the latest low blow from a campaign where the GOP candidate and his strategists are agile and unencumbered by any sense of honor.

Meanwhile, we have a Democrat and his organization displaying their slow reflexes. They would probably prefer to say they’re being “deliberative,” while the other side is being impetuous, and shameless.

But let’s face it, the real world is like that too. Should we expect the leaders of Iran, or Russia, or Congress to be standup kind of people? Of course not.

Look at the vice presidential selection. The choice of Sarah Palin clearly demonstrated a preference for gimmick over country. But hey: It worked. Not only that, but the McCain gang has been hugely successful in blowing smoke over that huge empty space called her resume.

Maybe it’s time the Democrats unleash some trickery of their own. Maybe it’s time they suggest, for instance, that their veep candidates join them in Washington.

Of course, Joe Biden is a senator who would join the negotiations, along with Obama and McCain, and would bring his decades of experience to the table. Palin could be nearby, while her tutors continued their crash course on how all this kinda stuff works. Every once in a while she could pop out to tell us what a “maverick” she is.

Or some other ideas: Maybe she could continue her round of meetings with world leaders by holding some photo-ops as she’s introduced to top officials of the United States. And obviously she’d want to hold a news conference. Obviously.

What we’re witnessing is mighty valuable. It is extremely worthwhile for all of us to see how much of our politics is just shtick. In fact, when you think of it, the trillion-dollar legislation to correct this latest debacle is probably also just massive puffery, an effort to avert a disaster by handing over unchecked power and more obscene wealth to the very same greedy incompetents responsible for it.

How did they get into that position? Gamesmanship. The problem is our economic well-being shouldn’t be a game. Because all of us are the losers.

Maybe this could be the type of discussion the candidates could include in Friday’s debate.

What? The debate might be canceled? That can’t be. Who would suggest anything that nutty?

Next thing you know, McCain will suggest we do away with the vice presidential debate

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