Somewhere between The Republican National Convention and the first debate on September 26, John McCain left the race. It's as if the McCain campaign remains on suspension pending resolution of the economic crisis. Why?
It's possible, of course, that McCain is simply inept at closing the deal. As every baseball fan knows, closers don't grow on trees. Many fine pitchers flounder in the ninth inning with a narrow lead. They're not all Bob Gibson. Some panic upon seeing the white tape of the finish line.
McCain doesn't strike me as that type. If for no other reason, he seemed to grow stronger as the GOP nomination came closer to his grasp.
With a little over a month to go in his race for the White House McCain held a slight lead in the national polls and had taken the lead in the battleground states--Florida, Virginia, Ohio, New Mexico, Nevada, and others. He held the electoral vote lead.
Then he quit.
I can't help but wonder what he learned in Washington on September 24 and 25. What did President Bush, Ben Bernanke, and Henry Paulson reveal that changed McCain's mind about winning the White House? Is it possible that something awful is about to happen to America--something so awful that the party in power will sink to unimaginable depths in public trust and public opinion? Did McCain figure out the next president will be the next Hoover?
When the House passed the economic rescue bill on Friday morning, the stock market fell. Up more than 100 points before the vote, by the time the House roll call was complete, the Dow was hovering slightly above neutral. Within an hour, it was 150 points below zero and remained there.
At 4:00 p.m. Eastern, news reports began flowing in that showed the trillion dollar package would have little effect on the credit paralysis sweeping the globe. Banks and governments in Europe announced more financial problems than solutions. Ireland, France, Germany, the UK seem to worry that something terrible is about to sweep their continent.
Is it possible that the credit freeze brought on primarily by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recklessness followed by commercial bank imitations has set the world's economy on a collision course with squalid destiny?
A week ago, I was convinced that McCain would win the election handily. I did not expect him to quit this early. Barack Obama is a Marxist who will bring some degree of Soviet-style communism to the country that introduced the modern world to the democratic republic. If whatever is about to happen seems worse than that to McCain, whatever's coming must be really, really scary and big.