Thursday, September 25, 2008

Eject, Eject, Eject: The POW

The valiant pilot, his craft severely damaged by continuous fire over hostile territory, finds no other recourse but to abandon his damaged ship and parachute into the unknown.
He becomes a Prisoner of War.

You have to feel for John McCain. The events of the last week seem to have him a little overwhelmed. He looks increasingly uncomfortable; this feels like a sign to me that he is being increasingly 'handled' and is bristling at the notion of it. Key components of his philosophy up to this point are being blamed for the tenuous situation that the credit markets find themselves in.

The McCain campaign is feeling the strain of these increasing pressures, perhaps accompanied by a 'damage control' mindset, which along with trying to keep his message intact and relevant has to spend resources to protect his Vice-Presidential nominee from scrutiny, even so far as to try to screen the media out altogether.

In the wake of a press revolt over that stunt, revelations that his campaign manager was still getting a cursory fee from two of the mortgage firms left reeling in the wake of tons of bad mortgage paper, combined with the US financial system in crisis during a period of regulatory indolence that is part of Mr. McCain's core philosophy, something had to give.

McCain's decision today to suspend his campaign and return to Washington to 'deal with the crisis' felt to me like he had finally run into too much flak and decided to 'punch out'.

This is certainly not meant to trivialize or make light of what he experienced as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. Indeed, that level of sacrifice and commitment is something that almost transcends human understanding and empathy. How can one say they understand? You really can't. Mr. McCain deserves our appreciation and respect. Our vote? I'm not so sure.

The question remains, does being a POW translate into effective leadership in dramatically changing times? I think it depends a lot on the W.

Prisoner of Wall (Street): Regardless of who is POTUS, they stand to be this. It's a good thing that Obama got invited to the table. The joint statement showed class on both sides.
Prisoner of Wrath: McCain's temper has helped shape his image as a maverick and curmudgeon in the past. Not so much lately.
Prisoner of "W": Regardless of what McCain wants to do, he's gotta deal with this guy and his legacy.

Prisoner of Waffle: As Garrison Keillor put it this week:

John McCain is a lifelong deregulator and believer in letting brokers and bankers do as they please - remember Lincoln Savings & Loan and his intervention with federal regulators in behalf of his friend Charles Keating, who then went to prison?...McCain now decries greed on Wall Street and suggests a commission be formed to look into the problem. This is like Casanova coming out for chastity.

I could go on, but as much as I like convenient alliteration it won't serve any further purpose.

I'll pray for cool heads and open hearts to prevail as the plan to address these issues unfolds.

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