Others are rightly mocking Bill Kristol for advising the McCain camp to "fire the campaign" in his column today. Many people in the comments of the article are pointing out to Bill that just last week he was encouraging the campaign to go on the attack, whereas he now decries the bitterness of the campaign.
Two other things caught my attention. One, he advises the campaign to stop running ads and use the money to buy half-hour "televised town halls and half-hour addresses in prime time." The second thing that bugged me was his suggestion that McCain invite Obama and Biden to join him and Palin for a few of these town halls "on the ground that more joint appearances might restore civility and substance to the contest."
This kind of drivel must drive serious (and I use this word purposefully) campaign managers crazy. For some unknown reason, Kristol has big influence among an important set of Republicans, so there's a danger that influential people will take him seriously. For reasons even more unknown, Kristol writes for the NYT, which is still considered an important paper. In other words, people might read the ideas that Kristol is spitting up and think that they have merit. They do not.
McCain is using public financing because he believes in the power of the government. He gets $84 million for the campaign. How much does Kristol think it might cost to buy a half-hour of prime time on a major television network? I estimate that your average network show earns around $2 million per half-hour. Does he think they'd show it for free? Does he think a network would jump at the chance to run a serious of free television commercials for John McCain? Does he think people want to watch a half-hour "town hall" with John and Sarah? Not after the first one, where people realized that all were going to get is softball questions from partisans.
Then, there's the idea that Obama and Biden would entertain the notion of elevating the campaign by appearing with John and Sarah. Apparently, Bill lives in a universe where candidates who are going to walk home to victories by large margins suddenly decide that their opponents need some help and it is their duty, for civility purposes, to help them out. Especially when it is their opponents who have lowered the civility quotient by comparing them to terrorists and smiling when people scream "kill him."
In the end, another fine column by the Right's leading thinker.