John McCain must Do or Die in the Last Presidential Debate
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John McCain must Do or Die in the Last Presidential Debate

New York City : NY : USA | Oct 15, 2008 at 2:17 PM PDT
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Float like a Butterfly, Flit like a Bee

The last Presidential debate is the arena for decisive action by Senator John McCain. Otherwise he is out of the race for the White House for all practical intents. He is trailing behind his Democratic rival Senator Barack Obama in all the major polls. Obama appears to be expanding his lead nationally and in the closely contested states. The tide is running strongly against John McCain.

The recent economic turmoil with collapsing stock prices, and the two weeks delay in crafting a package solution acceptable to Congress, reflect poorly on the performance Republican administration and the diehards in Congress. The delay has caused global losses totaling many hundreds of billions of dollars.

Europe waited and waited for America to take the lead and finally seized the initiative and came up with a respectable game plan of its own over the weekend.

The Bush administration's lax policies over the years that created the conditions for the Wall Street crisis to erupt with almost volcanic force, and the dilly-dallying in recent weeks, has weighed heavily with undecided voters, who appear to trust Obama's leadership as being more in touch and better qualified to address the problems of the US economy.

According to the NYT, a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll gave Obama a 4-point lead over McCain, but other national polls showed a larger margin for the Illinois senator. A CBS News/New York Times poll showed Obama ahead by 14 percentage points.

No doubt the Republican ticket is severely handicapped by the perceived dismal performance of the Bush administration over the past eight years in addressing America’s security and economic problems. Mishandling these problems has brought the most powerful nation in the history of the planet almost to its knees.

So how can John McCain prevail against Barack Obama in tonight’s debate? He cannot settle for a respectable draw, which would suit Obama fine. Obama is leading comfortably on points, so McCain has to score a knockout. Nothing less will suffice.

There are three ways this could happen. In the first, Senator McCain could try to establish a link between the bomber Bill Ayers and Senator Obama that is closer than that admitted by the Senator from Illinois. Obama would be ready for that. If Senator McCain is too aggressive, however, undecided voters might swing to Obama in a sympathy vote.

Second, he could present an economic plan that favors the middle class as against the very affluent socioeconomic strata of which he is a part. That will not be easy for him for political and ideological reasons, although he is expected to make a serious effort to present a viable economic alternative tonight, at the same time denigrating the economic platform of Senator Obama.

Third, he could pull out a rabbit from the hat—in other words a complete surprise, in the hope that it would unnerve Senator Obama. This too appears unlikely as Senator Obama has proved to be a cool customer by far. If there were any such surprise the world would have found out by now.

Anyway, an interesting encounter is in store for all who will be able to view this decisive event.

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McCain needs a Knockout Tonight
This is a cartoon by Petar Pismestrovic of Kleine Zeitung Austria.
MarcusCato is based in Islamabad, Federal Capital Area, Pakistan, and is a Stringer for Allvoices.
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