And now a word about The Campaign: John McCain has decided that our economy is so strong that he needs to leave the campaign trail to make it stronger. It would be unseemly to put Country Second and indulge in something so vulgar as politics by debating his opponent. Stop for a moment and admire McCain for trying to execute a clever political gambit by trying to haul himself above the muck of politics for a moment. Then consider the election-year crises that the country has come through while candidates carried on their campaigns:
2004: The whole Iraq endeavor coming undone.
1992: Economic recession.
1980: The Iran hostage crisis.
1968: Intensified fighting in Vietnam, assassination of leading national figures.
1964: Nation in turmoil over civil rights campaign in the South.
1952: Korean War.
1944: World War II.
1940: World War II.
1936: The Depression.
1932: The Depression.
1916: World War I.
1864: Civil War.
1860: Slavery/disunion crisis.
1856: National coming apart at seams over slavery.
1812: War with Britain.
Gee, we managed to have an uninterrupted campaign during 1864? When the nation was sufferiing through an appallingly bloody series of battles? You mean Lincoln didn’t try to put a hold on politics while trying to fulfill his duties as commander-in-chief? Neither world wars nor economic calamity put campaigns off the rails? Stunning.
The history shows what an empty gesture McCain’s move is. Obama got it right when he said that this is exactly the moment when the candidates need to be in front of the people.