McCain fails to alter the dynamic of race in debate

Rick Moran
The debate or the misnamed "Townhall" last night was pretty much a wash as far as points scored and visuals. McCain came off slightly worse according to even most conservatives.

But McCain's problem is that he needed something decisive, something electric to happen. It didn't and therefore, he can fairly be considered the loser.

Obama had a much easier task last night; show up, don't fall asleep, don't trip over your feet, and don't make any stupid mistakes. Obama avoided all of that and hence, came off looking reasonable and competent.

Andy McCarthy at The Corner sums up the frustration felt by many watching McCain and Obama last night:

We have a disaster here - which is what you should expect when you delegate a non-conservative to make the conservative (nay, the American) case.  We can parse it eight ways to Sunday, but I think the commentary is missing the big picture.

Here's what Obama needed to do tonight:  Convince the country that he was an utterly safe, conventional, centrist politician who may have leftward leanings but will do the right thing when the crunch comes.

Now, as the night went along, did you get the impression that Obama comes from the radical Left?  Did you sense that he funded Leftist causes to the tune of tens of millions of dollars?  Would you have guessed that he's pals with a guy who brags about bombing the Pentagon?  Would you have guessed that he helped underwrite raging anti-Semites?  Would you come away thinking, "Gee, he's proposing to transfer nearly a trillion dollars of wealth to third-world dictators through the UN"?

Nope.  McCain didn't want to go there.  So Obama comes off as just your average Center-Left politician.  Gonna raise your taxes a little, gonna negotiate reasonably with America's enemies; gonna rely on our very talented federal courts to fight terrorists and solve most of America's problems; gonna legalize millions of hard-working illegal immigrants.

McCain?  He comes off as Center-Right .. or maybe Center-Left ... but, either way, deeply respectful of Obama despite their policy quibbles.

McCarthy is correct in assessing the probable impact of last night's debate on the American public. What do they really know about Obama? Only what the media and the Obama campaign want them to know. In this respect, Obama is getting a pass every time he appears at one of these shindigs while McCain must struggle to overcome his connections to the Republican party which is being blamed by the public for the economic crisis.

Intrade now shows Obama at 72.3 while the flash polls following the debate all went Obama's way. There is no big Republican 527 that can run ads highlighting Obama's radical associations in all the states that need to see it. McCain is limited in his funds and cannot make up the difference. The RNC is flush with cash but can not help McCain directly with ads. And conventional wisdom now has it Obama's race to lose.

John McCain will come back. I believe as AT's Political Correspondent Rich Baehr believes, that following the last debate, there will be one more moment of opportunity for McCain as the public takes a final look at Obama. And McCain is underestimated at his opponents peril. Anyone who goes through what McCain did must have a supreme confidence in himself as well as an unflagging belief in his ability to overcome the odds and win through to victory.

Will it be enough?





The debate or the misnamed "Townhall" last night was pretty much a wash as far as points scored and visuals. McCain came off slightly worse according to even most conservatives.

But McCain's problem is that he needed something decisive, something electric to happen. It didn't and therefore, he can fairly be considered the loser.

Obama had a much easier task last night; show up, don't fall asleep, don't trip over your feet, and don't make any stupid mistakes. Obama avoided all of that and hence, came off looking reasonable and competent.

Andy McCarthy at The Corner sums up the frustration felt by many watching McCain and Obama last night:

We have a disaster here - which is what you should expect when you delegate a non-conservative to make the conservative (nay, the American) case.  We can parse it eight ways to Sunday, but I think the commentary is missing the big picture.

Here's what Obama needed to do tonight:  Convince the country that he was an utterly safe, conventional, centrist politician who may have leftward leanings but will do the right thing when the crunch comes.

Now, as the night went along, did you get the impression that Obama comes from the radical Left?  Did you sense that he funded Leftist causes to the tune of tens of millions of dollars?  Would you have guessed that he's pals with a guy who brags about bombing the Pentagon?  Would you have guessed that he helped underwrite raging anti-Semites?  Would you come away thinking, "Gee, he's proposing to transfer nearly a trillion dollars of wealth to third-world dictators through the UN"?

Nope.  McCain didn't want to go there.  So Obama comes off as just your average Center-Left politician.  Gonna raise your taxes a little, gonna negotiate reasonably with America's enemies; gonna rely on our very talented federal courts to fight terrorists and solve most of America's problems; gonna legalize millions of hard-working illegal immigrants.

McCain?  He comes off as Center-Right .. or maybe Center-Left ... but, either way, deeply respectful of Obama despite their policy quibbles.

McCarthy is correct in assessing the probable impact of last night's debate on the American public. What do they really know about Obama? Only what the media and the Obama campaign want them to know. In this respect, Obama is getting a pass every time he appears at one of these shindigs while McCain must struggle to overcome his connections to the Republican party which is being blamed by the public for the economic crisis.

Intrade now shows Obama at 72.3 while the flash polls following the debate all went Obama's way. There is no big Republican 527 that can run ads highlighting Obama's radical associations in all the states that need to see it. McCain is limited in his funds and cannot make up the difference. The RNC is flush with cash but can not help McCain directly with ads. And conventional wisdom now has it Obama's race to lose.

John McCain will come back. I believe as AT's Political Correspondent Rich Baehr believes, that following the last debate, there will be one more moment of opportunity for McCain as the public takes a final look at Obama. And McCain is underestimated at his opponents peril. Anyone who goes through what McCain did must have a supreme confidence in himself as well as an unflagging belief in his ability to overcome the odds and win through to victory.

Will it be enough?