Tuned In

How Suspended Does This Campaign Feel?

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OK, one more post re: the Suspension Bridge to Nowhere, and then I pledge to suspend such postings in order to focus 100% on the national crisis of reviewing Project Runway.

I posted a CBS video excerpt from David Letterman’s tirade about John McCain last night, but it doesn’t include what was probably his best point:

His critique reached a high point when he learned that at the very moment Mr. McCain was supposed to be on the couch next to him being interviewed, the senator was at the CBS News center three blocks away in Manhattan, getting ready to be interviewed by the CBS News anchor, Katie Couric.

Mr. Letterman ordered his director to put on a live feed from that location, which showed Mr. McCain getting made up to go on with Ms. Couric. “He doesn’t seem to be racing to the airport,” Mr. Letterman observed.

After listening to some questions from Ms. Couric, Mr. Letterman said, “Hey, John, I’ve got a question: You need a lift to the airport?”

In other words: what is “suspending” a campaign anyway? It means skipping out on a debate. It means pulling campaign ads, which can run later anyway.

But it doesn’t preclude getting yourself (and your running mate) on the CBS Evening News that same night. It doesn’t mean keeping your surrogates—and, let’s be fair, the other guy’s—off the news shows to argue the valor of your Entirely Nonpolitical Decision. It doesn’t mean your viral web ads go away. As far as I’ve read, it doesn’t mean suspending polling or political messaging generally.

None of these free-media aspects are exactly small, in this campaign age.

Turn on the news. How suspended does the campaign look?