Reasons not to postpone Friday's debate

5. The debate scheduled for Friday is supposed to be on foreign policy. McCain knows that with the financial crisis upon us, holding it on Friday will mean that domestic economic issues will instead play a substantial role in the debate. McCain believes that he will do better in a foreign policy debate than in a domestic policy debate in which Obama will point out how Phil Gramm, McCain's economic savant, bears more responsibility than anyone for the current mess (although plenty of Dems, including Pres. Clinton, bear their share too). By delaying the debate until after the financial crisis has been "solved," McCain can get a debate in which he talks about how principled he was in supporting the surge.

4. Even if we assume the purest of motives on the part of the McCain campaign, the idea that there is an emergency that demands the presence of two Senators who have stated their views more publicly than nearly all of their colleagues has substantive content. It feeds the Bush/Paulson idea that the American economy is teetering on the edge of permanent collapse. That sense of panic is, as others have noted, what got us the Patriot Act and (much worse in my view) the Iraq War. There are good reasons not to panic now (laid out nicely by my college classmate Chris Carroll here).

3. The notion that politics is irrelevant to how to spend $700 billion of public funds is absurd. If that's not a political decision, I don't know what is.

2. Just a couple of months ago, the McCain campaign was proposing 10 successive weekly town hall meetings. In a democracy, one would think that a crisis heightens rather than lessens the need for public debate.

1. I already invited guests to my house to watch the debate, and I also bought popcorn and beer.

Posted by Mike Dorf