Just for shits and giggles, I thought I’d compare how one Villager regurgitated the myth–propagated after McCain "suspended" his campaign in September "to respond to the economic crisis"–that John McCain might lead us out of our financial woes…

Sen. John McCain’s surprise announcement that he would temporarily suspend his campaign to return to Washington to help broker a deal to save the financial industry is the latest in a series of political gambits surrounding the financial crisis on Wall Street, and is sure to reshape political calculations and voter attitudes around the volatile issue.

The move is an obvious attempt by McCain and his campaign to paint the Arizona senator as above politics, willing to put aside his campaign for the good of the country.

It comes as two new national polls — including one conducted by the Washington Post — show McCain slipping in the head-to-head matchup against Barack Obama due in large part to voters’ inclination to trust the Illinois senator to solve the financial problems of the country.

The McCain campaign believes that their candidate is at his best when he is seen as a deal-maker, willing to reach across party lines to get things done for the good of the country. This economic crisis, they believe, provides McCain a chance to show the sort of leadership that voters value in the Arizona senator.

"John McCain’s leadership and experience credentials outrank Barack Obama’s," said Sarah Simmons, a McCain campaign strategist, this morning. "[We are] walking through a crisis and people are looking to see how it is going to be handled."

With the news that, 167 days later, McCain is attempting to put together a "definitive" economic platform.

Sen. John McCain is putting together a major economic plan that will be structured, in some ways, off of Newt Gingrich’s famous Contract With America.

In an email obtained by the Huffington Post, the Arizona Republican’s chief of staff, Marc Buse, asked an outside adviser for help with a "ten principles" program that the senator could use as a "definitive" platform.

"We are looking for some guidance on a definitive plan (aka contract with america style) on the economy…principles," writes Buse. "Ten principles that JSM could point to on what MUST BE DONE to address the problems our nation faces."

Buse doesn’t offer specific suggestions of his own, save "NO TAX INCREASES."

Because that’s my definition of leadership: 167 days after a failed photo op, an attempt to outsource the search for underlying principles.



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.