Now that the second of three presidential debates is history, the mud slinging can resume. It’s true, debate mud slinging was nowhere to be found. Despite what many have called a “heated” debate in which the candidates called attention to each other’s respective records as well as the liberal interpretations of each one’s positions, this is not mud-slinging in a presidential debate. It is, in fact, fair game.
The rhetoric coming from the two campaigns of late, however, is a much different story. From the obliteration of facts to the exploitation of past associations on both sides, there is nothing cordial about the race’s recent past. It is unfortunate, but certainly not unexpected. McCain is losing ground and it has little to do with what he says at this point… with every downturn in the economy, be it record unemployment or a tanking stock market, McCain’s numbers go down. Maverick or not, he is a Republican - the same party that has control of the executive and until the 2006 midterms, both houses of congress.
There are not enough “my friend’s” in the world to stave off disaster in November. Compounding McCain’s problem is an acute lack of understanding of what is really going on with the economy, though to his credit he’s an expert next to his running mate. Although he might have a slight edge where it comes to foreign policy, the world has changed so much in the last 20 years that only current knowledge and expertise has any real meaning. Add Obama's youth and intelligence to the equation and it reduces McCain’s odds even more.
Look, we all know John McCain is a war hero. He has served his country admirably all of his adult life. He climbed the ladder by staying in the game and never giving up. Given all of that, isn’t it his turn? Shouldn’t he have his chance? Hasn’t he earned it? Um, no. He deserves to be first runner up, maybe some lovely parting gifts… and he gets to keep his cushy seat in the U.S. Senate. He will make the history books. He will be looked upon as a good senator and an American hero. That should be enough for anyone and it will have to do. This job is not about rewarding heroism, it’s about steering a nation of more than 300 million citizens; it's about keeping our best interests at heart.
It’s not about winning at any cost - even if, paraphrasing a McCain official, if the we don’t move off the economy, we will lose. This country needs more than an overly experienced senator in the White House. We need a visionary. We need a president who will move the people, instill confidence and re-energize us. Sometimes it is about speeches and well-spoken words. It’s time for some new blood… and his name is Barack Obama.
As much maverick as McCain claims to be, he still represents the old guard and where it applies to foreign policy, he might as well be Bush. Although McCain can rightly claim ignorance regarding the financial meltdown, his party had a major hand in it. Yes, the Republicans and McCain’s people say the Democrats, under Clinton, put the disaster in motion. But it is difficult to explain away more ten years of Republican congressional control, six of those with a Republican in the White House. McCain’s biggest albatross is his own party - the one he ironically enough claims to have stood up to time and time again.
What’s that old saying about payback?
It's a pitbull with lipstick.