When John McCain suspended his presidential campaign to rush back to Washington to focus on the economy, it didn't take a genius to figure it out that Mr. McCain had just blown the race.  

Well, now a lot of people are wishing that President Obama would would suspend his campaign to focus on the economy. The kind of passion that doomed McCain might be welcome just about now.

On the other hand, if President Obama did stop campaigning for re-election long enough to focus on the economy (which is different from spouting incendiary rhetoric about the economy), his attention might harm rather than helping. ( Indeed, an IBD editorial yesterday shows how Mr. Obama's ministrations are directly responsible for the tanking of the economy.) Meanwhile, Peggy Noonan has read the Ron Suskind book, "Confidence Men," about the inner workings of the Obama economics team, and culled some disturbing tidbits:   

An unnamed adviser says the 2009 stimulus legislation was the result of "poor conceptualizing." Another: "We should have spent more time thinking about where the money was being spent, rather than simply that there was this hole of a certain size in the economy that needed to be filled, so fill it." Well, yes.

The decision to focus on health care was the president's own. It could have been even worse. Some staffers advised him-this was just after the American economy lost almost 600,000 jobs in one month-that he should focus on global warming.

The country is suffering terribly. Noonan points out that there is no way President Obama can be re-elected. But the Republicans can still lose the race. Read the column to see why Noonan thinks Governor Perry's statement on Obama's Israel predicament was "small." Noonan says small is not going to do it for voters in 2012.  

Unlike my colleague Libby, I found last night's GOP debate riveting.  One of the people on the stage will very likely carry the standard in 2012 for a different economic policy. Governor Perry, the only candidate with a day job that requires overtime (sorry, Ms. B!) tends to falter a great deal, which is not good if you're trying to win over independents who look at him and hear George W. Bush all over again.

National Review had an excellent symposium on the "sunshine state spar." Some of the respondents found the debate far less interesting than I did. John Pitney, a Claremont KcKenna professor, had this intriguing insight:

In his comments on in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, Governor Perry said: "If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they have been brought there by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart." On the Gardasil issue, he explained his actions by saying: "I erred on the side of life and will always err on the side of life."

If he keeps it up, people will start calling him a compassionate conservative.