The Capitol Hill Strategy

By Gilbert Garcia

I've never fully bought into the theory (generally perpetuated by his supporters) that John McCain is an impulsive, free-wheeling, outside-the-box maverick.

But I'll say this: His latest gambit, to suspend all campaigning and push for a postponement of Friday's debate with Barack Obama -- ostensibly so he can devote his energies to brokering a legislative solution to our investment-banking crisis -- feels like a drawn-in-the-sand audible. It goes against all political orthodoxy, which says that the underdog in a presidential race should try to debate as early and as often as possible.

It's a crafty move: a political stunt disguised as a country-first rejection of politics. It's reminiscent of presidents who've adopted a Rose Garden Strategy, to let voters know they're too honorable (and busy) to attend a campaign rally. It also put Obama in an awkward position. if he agreed, it would look like a weak, me-too response. If he disagreed, he'd risk looking like just another self-centered pol.

Obama took the latter stance, and it was probably the smartest option, because at least it conveys the impression that he has a mind of his own. I'm skeptical that McCain's dare will swing many votes his way, but it should be fascinating to watch.

KEEP SA CURRENT!

Since 1986, the SA Current has served as the free, independent voice of San Antonio, and we want to keep it that way.

Becoming an SA Current Supporter for as little as $5 a month allows us to continue offering readers access to our coverage of local news, food, nightlife, events, and culture with no paywalls.

Join today to keep San Antonio Current.

Scroll to read more Current Events articles

Join SA Current Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.