While Republican Senator Stevens was being indicted for failing to report apparently illegal gifts — we used to call these "bribes" — from an Alaskan oil company, John McCain was having his picture taken in front of an oil pump while reminding voters he wants to allow the oil companies to drill where they want.
It doesn’t seem to have occurred to McCain’s campaign that this is probably not the best year to have their guy fronting big oil’s view that unleashing the oil companies will save the economy. That’s especially true after reports that oil executives’ contributions to McCain’s campaign gushed by three quarters of a million dollars immediately after he announced support for off-shore drilling.
With such images coming from the McCain campaign, Barack Obama may not need to campaign much.
Obama, meanwhile, avoided overt campaigning and instead spent his day getting ready to deal with the staggering economic, budget and financial calamities created by 8 years of Republican corruption, neglect and mismanagement. He chaired a summit of senior economic advisers, including Paul Volcker, former Clinton and Bush officials, Governor Corzine and labor and business leaders.
Then on his way to meet with Pakistan’s Prime Minister about Pakistan’s efforts to control their own insurgents, Obama phoned Treasury Secretary Paulson to discuss how he’ll use the blank check Congress gave him to bail out Freddie/Fannie if/as needed. That was followed by a meeting with Fed Chair Bernanke on related financial crises. Yesterday’s message: on top of two unresolved wars, the Bush/McCain policies created an economic disaster, and adults need to plan now what to do about it.
Among other horrors, Bush’s legacy will shackle the next Administration with a massive budget deficit of nearly a half trillion dollars. ABC estimated it would be more like $600 billion if you count the war costs and other off-budget expenses.
A clear pattern has emerged since Obama began his foreign tour, leaving McCain fuming at home. McCain is running an increasingly dishonest and angry campaign, and personally attacking Obama, Rovian style [NYT editorial].
Obama, on the other hand, is running for the Presidency by preparing to govern the country, run its foreign policy and deal with Bush’s economic mess. He’s mostly ignoring McCain’s insults, except to have his campaign issue statements setting the record straight — and finally getting some help when the media does it’s job.
It’s a smart strategy that will benefit the country if Obama wins, but it’s probably irritating McCain to no end.