Thursday, October 16, 2008

No Mo-Joe for McCain

After giving up Joe Lieberman as a running mate in favor of Mrs. Joe Sixpack, John McCain brought out Joe the Plumber for tonight's debate--to no avail. The networks' instant polling shows a third straight loss for the Republican's attempt to sell himself as the champion of the average Joe.

The candidates squared off after a day of dismal economic news--another stock-market plunge, retail sales down, factory orders at historic lows--and the best John McCain could do was jibe that, if Obama wanted to run against the Bush Administration, he should have done so four years ago.

But voters apparently aren't buying McCain's attempt to run away from the Bush-Cheney debacle that has left them distressed about their homes, their jobs, their retirement funds and savings for their kids' college educations.

McCain, who had promised to kick Obama's posterior, ended up flat on his own after another encounter in which his opponent looked presidential, often smiling at attacks, while McCain seemed barely able to control his anger and frustration with odd grimaces.

(Adam Nagourney of the New York Times notes, "The split-screen visual contrast between the two men--McCain often appearing coiled and annoyed, Mr. Obama seeming at ease and smiling--was striking.")

Obama did what he had to do, including sidestepping Bob Schieffer's question about whether Sarah Palin was qualified to be president, while McCain retroactively discovered that Joe Biden was wrong on several issues during their decades together in the Senate.

In his final statement, Obama summed up the campaign:

"I think we all know America is going through tough times right now. The policies of the last eight years and--and Washington's unwillingness to tackle the tough problems for decades has left us in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

"And that's why the biggest risk we could take right now is to adopt the same failed policies and the same failed politics that we've seen over the last eight years and somehow expect a different result.

"We need fundamental change in this country, and that's what I'd like to bring."

What Americans are facing will be longer and harder than Obama can admit or prescribe fixes for during a presidential campaign, but it's looking very much as if the average Joes are going to give him the chance to try.

Now that the debates are over, voters will wonder if they served any purpose. Let's leave the last word on that to tonight's moderator, who writes in his new book, "Bob Schieffer's America," that presidential debates are a 20th century invention and that "with the turn that modern campaigns have taken, maybe there is some merit in the nineteenth-century idea of just having the candidates stay home."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You guys really are left wing nut jobs!!