Obama vs McCain Final Debate Deconstructed
For the last six weeks, John McCain has been flailing about from demeanor to demeanor, gimmick to gimmick and attack to congeniality to attack trying to find the answer to the Obama surge, see http://www.opednews.com/articles/McCain--Which-John-McCain-by-Steven-Leser-081014-107.html . In this debate his challenge was to understand what mattered to those who will decide this election and appeal to them on that basis. He did not come close to doing that tonight.
This election has become about the economy, mortgages, jobs and fear about financial futures. The swing voters are of the opinion that deregulation and other Republican economic initiatives are a big part of the cause of the problems we are facing. I and other Democrats agree, Republicans and Libertarians disagree with that, but the rightness of it isnt the issue. That is what people believe. Since McCain has been for the typical Republican economic platform, he had to prove to people that he would chart a new direction different from what he has done in his past.
Instead, we saw the same Republican talking points we have seen for the last seven presidential elections. We saw the same kinds of attacks we have seen periodicall throughout the campaign. The people who are going to decide this election dont care at all about any of that. We also saw a continuation of McCain's erratic behavior. McCain did an amazing 180 within two of his sentences at one point of the debate. Here is the actual snipped of the transcript showing what I mean:
Schieffer: All right. We're going to move to another question and the topic is leadership in this campaign. Both of you pledged to take the high road in this campaign yet it has turned very nasty.
McCain: ... unacceptable. So the point is -- the point is that I have repudiated every time someone's been out of line, whether they've been part of my campaign or not, and I will continue to do that.
But the fact is that we need to absolutely not stand for the kind of things that have been going on. I haven't.
Obama: Well, look, Bob, as I said...
Schieffer: I mean, do you take issue with that?
Obama: You know, here's what I would say. I mean, we can have a debate back and forth about the merits of each other's campaigns. I suspect we won't agree here tonight.
What I think is most important is that we recognize that to solve the key problems that we're facing, if we're going to solve two wars, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, if we can -- if we're going to focus on lifting wages that have declined over the last eight years and create jobs here in America, then Democrats, independents and Republicans, we're going to have to be able to work together.
And what is important is making sure that we disagree without being disagreeable. And it means that we can have tough, vigorous debates around issues. What we can't do, I think, is try to characterize each other as bad people. And that has been a culture in Washington that has been taking place for too long. And I think...
McCain: Well, Bob, you asked me a direct question.
Schieffer: Short answer, yes, short answer.
McCain: Yes, real quick. Mr. Ayers, I don't care about an old washed-up terrorist. But as Sen. Clinton said in her debates with you, we need to know the full extent of that relationship.