Ferris Bueller [on getting out of school]: You fake a stomach cramp, and when you're bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick your palms. It's a little childish and stupid, but then again, so is high school. - from Ferris Bueller's Day Off
I had a history of stomach problems growing up, so when I wanted to skip school and avoid a test after a particularly booze-heavy weekend (in beautiful Delaware our weekends usually consisted of playing "cops and robbers" in the fields, making silly movies, drinking warm beer we stole from the garage, or some combination of the three), I had a solid excuse.
And for God's sake, I was seventeen years old! You'd think after seventy-two years on this planet, John McCain would have had time to come up with a better excuse to avoid the debate than the fact that the good citizens of the United States need him to solve the financial crisis because either a) at best, he's not ready or b.) this is political strategy at its most crass, trying to force Obama into a false and unnecessary choice between country and campaign.
Given McCain's obvious ineptitude when it comes to economic matters ("[I]t is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers;" "I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated."), I think we'll be okay without him for one night. When my drain's clogged I call a plumber, not the guy who stands around mumbling about sinks at Home Depot.
So, Mr. McCain, the next time you need an excuse, take a hint from Ferris and me and at least try to make it believable. At the risk of sounding ageist, here are some suggestions that are much more believable coming from a man of your years: shingles, incontinence, sore feet, general disapproval of the "damn kids these days".... take your pick.
Sure, it's a little childish and stupid. But then again, so is politics.