Whatever else John McCain may lack - wisdom, credibility, a conscience - he does not suffer from any lack of friends, and those friends are eager to aid him in his quest to defeat the unelectable foreign-born nonwhite neo-Marxist terrorist-loving America-hating demagogue who opposes him.
James P. Pinkerton acknowledges that "John McCain’s campaign is behind, and he is running out of time." But McCain still has a chance, if he can somehow look deep within himself and find the courage to speak out against illegal immigration:
One Republican has a good suggestion: At Friday’s debate, McCain should make a pivot of his own, connecting foreign policy, national security, and domestic policy - and thus get back to illegal immigration.Well, why not? Granted, McCain suffers in part from the dismal reputation of his party, which indulged in an eight-year orgy of race-baiting while praising the "strong fundamentals" of our economy, so it's not obvious that this tactic will gain back any of the ground he's lost. And the midterms seemed to confirm the Wall Street Journal's theory that "immigration is an issue, like trade, that always looks better in the polls than it does on election day." Still, it's worth a shot, and I agree with Pinkerton that it won't cost him many minority votes; most of them are probably still reeling from being blamed for the subprime mortgage crisis, and won't even notice.
One of Jonah Goldberg's readers has a very clever idea:
I think McCain should show up for the debate looking reluctant and disheveled. He could apologize for this condition, saying he had to rush back from doing the nation’s business. He could be like Grant having to apologize to the impeccably dressed Lee at Appomattox for showing up all muddy and in an old private’s coat. There was, after all, a war that needed winning.Goldberg christens this "the Grant Gambit" and pledges his allegiance to it; the idea that it might be greeted with gales of laughter, especially when attempted by a man who hasn't been present for a Senate vote since April, doesn't seem to have occurred to him.
I think it's ridiculous, myself, but since I'm a liberal fascist - of sorts - true patriots would be wise to embrace whatever I reject. With that in mind, let me make it perfectly clear that I really, really don't want McCain to totter onstage in a state of studied deshabille and upbraid Obama for tearing him away from the stupendous labor of our salvation. It would ruin my day, honest.
The most popular piece of advice the wingnuttosphere has for McCain is to step aside, for fuck's sake, and let the unsinkable Sarah Palin debate Obama. That's probably because unlike him, she's wildly popular (in a properly non-Hitlerian and non-messianic way, of course). But it's also possible that they like the idea of being able to cite anything Obama dares to say to her as evidence of sexism, which has very recently become unfashionable among the Dominionist crowd.
Anyway, since I'm one of those dictator pawns who "fell hook, line, and sinker into the dialectic," let me suggest that the proper course of action here is all of the above. McCain should show up in shirtsleeves, with his hair tousled and a stained Arby's napkin tucked under his dewlap. He should spend ten minutes howling about La Reconquista and explaining our immediate need for a two-story drone-patrolled border fence with a moat and a minefield on either side, and then turn the floor over to Sarah Palin, with the explanation that he must hurry back to the Senate to vote against a bill honoring Tom of Finland. (Bonus points for pulling out his pocket watch and crying, "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!")
I will await further developments with considerable interest.
(Illustration: "Mock bank note parodying the "shinplasters" of the 1837 panic. Such small-denomination notes were based on the division of the Spanish dollar, the dominant specie of the time. Hence they were issued in sums of 6 (more accurately 6 1/4), 25, 50, and 75 cents. These fractional notes proliferated during the Panic of 1837 with the emergency suspension of specie (i.e., money in coin) payments by New York banks on May 10 of that year. "Treasury Note" and "Fifty Cents Shin Plaster" (nos. 1837-9 and -11) also use the bank note format to comment on the dismal state of American finances. Unlike these, however, "Humbug Glory Bank" is actually the same size as a real note. The note is payable to "Tumble Bug Benton," Missouri senator and hard-money advocate Thomas Hart Benton, and is signed by "Cunning Reuben [Whitney, anti-Bank adviser to Jackson and Van Buren] Cash'r" and "Honest Amos [Kendall, Postmaster General and influential advisor to Van Buren] Pres't." It shows several coins with the head of Andrew Jackson at left, a jackass with the title "Roman Firmness," a hickory leaf (alluding to Jackson's nickname "Old Hickory"), and a vignette showing Jackson's hat, clay pipe, spectacles, hickory stick, and veto (of the 1832 bill to recharter the Bank of the United States) in a blaze of light. Above is a quote from Jackson's March 1837 farewell address to the American people, "I leave this great people prosperous and happy." Via the Library of Congress.)