That didn’t take long. Within hours of Sen. John McCain’s effort to scuttle Friday’s presidential debate, a group of liberal activists launched a sleek online petition for Americans to “demand the debate” goes on. The site currently shows Sen. Barack Obama behind a lectern — thoughtful, poised, in command — squaring off against a floating question mark — in bright red — representing Sen. John McCain’s mystery status.
The site declares it represents a group of “concerned citizens” who are not “affiliated with anybody.” It does appear independent of any campaign or political organization. But, the effort is pro-Obama, obviously, and was created by Michael Whitney, a self-described “progressive… interwebologist” in D.C. who helped found Generation Dean.
If a carefully negotiated agreement and public promise don’t make Sen. John McCain feel that he has to keep his word to debate, a progressive web petition isn’t going to make the difference. But the site sill provides a focused portal for all kinds of voters to track and speak out on the debate over the debate. At this point, the Commission on Presidential Debates can surely use any public attention it can get to hold McCain to his commitment.
Finally, Congressional leaders just announced a fundamental agreement on the bailout, so McCain may be the only one who thinks his presence is needed in Washington at 9pm Friday.