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Man of Action, Man of FAIL

Americans like their leaders to have gumption. If gumption is in short supply, moxie will suffice. Grit, guts and spunk are also acceptable. In short, Americans like their leaders to be men of action. And when the chips are down, John McCain is a man of action.

When Barack Obama gave his historic acceptance speech in Denver at the Democratic National Convention, McCain knew he had to counter his surging rival with bold action. In a move anticipated by approximately no one, McCain rallied a Republican base that was as cool to him as the other side of the pillow by selecting an untested unknown with a resume thinner than Kate Moss as his running mate. Bold! But this advantage had a shorter shelf life than any candidate’s post-convention bounce in modern history as the Palin boom turned to bust less than a month later.

When the manure hit the fan on Wall Street, John McCain once again sprang into action, reassuring the country that our economic fundamentals were sound. Decisive! Days later, the Jenga tower collapsed. Brazenly forging ahead, McCain responded by wholeheartedly embracing the federal regulation he had spent his career opposing and announcing his desire, if he were president, to fire SEC Chairman Chris Cox, assuming that’s the sort of thing a president could do. It’s not.

McCain’s mavericky display of auto-erraticism was rewarded by a drubbing in the polls; even one from FOX. On economic issues in particular, McCain showed an increased vulnerability. With the first presidential debate looming, it was once again time for some game-changing action. The prescription? Suspend his campaign and postpone the debate so he could swoop down upon Washington and broker a bailout deal between Democrats, the administration and his fellow Republicans. Precisely none of these things occurred. McCain’s campaign continued to raise funds, run ads and attack Obama via his surrogates. Despite his sudden interest in the financial crisis he and economic advisor Phil “Nation of Whiners” Gramm had spent years fostering, McCain first took hold of the situation by……having lunch with Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild (of the Rothschilds). Then he got down to brass tacks by……doing a last-minute interview with Katie Couric. Then it was time take the bull by the horns and……give a stump speech at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. But then it was time to ride into Washington, where he hadn’t shown up to work since April, just in time to personally scuttle a tentative bipartisan deal that had been struck just before his arrival. His work done there, McCain attended the debate he said hours earlier he would skip.

Undeterred by the wake of wreckage he’d left behind, McCain countered the lackluster reviews of his debate performance with a renewed effort to line up the House GOP’s support for the Wall Street bailout package. Confident in his courageous display of leadership, John McCain took his victory lap. [dyn.politico.com]

You’ll never guess what happened.

If Americans want an exciting, unpredictable president that keeps things interesting, then the choice is clear.

John McCain is a man of action.

Results, not so much.

– Michael Turner