Last night John McCain gave his most animated performance of the 2008 campaign season by trying to paint Barack Obama as being out of touch, overly eloquent, and untrustworthy. But there were three moments in the debate where even the most ardent McCain supporter would have wondered which planet he's on. When he said repeatedly that Barack Obama was trying to "spread the wealth around" with his tax proposals; you could almost hear the Joes (six pack, the plumber, etc.) saying what's wrong with me getting mine when Washington has been giving it to the top 5% for at least 8 years? McCain, it seems, confuses fairness for Socialism.
The second moment was when he raised up on his haunches and declared he is not George Bush and if Obama wanted to run against George Bush he should have done it 4 years ago. Other than the fact that McCain did run against Bush himself 4 years ago and had his hat handed to him, the facts support that McCain has supported Bush's policies more than 90% of the time. The danger of running in 2008 is that it is largely a referendum about the presidency under GWB. McCain, self-proclainmed maverick that he is, did his case no good when he ran back to Washington to get in on a photo opportunity when the bailout bill was being worked out. Like Bush, he has been in the wrong place at the wrong time too often (like taking the meeting with Charles Keating when the savings and loans were failing).
The last moment was when McCain said he would freeze the budget--period. How can anyone, in a time like we are in now, say that freezing the budget would solve the problems we have? Barack Obama got it right, you reallocate monies in the budget to address the needs that are most pressing. But this type of all or nothing thinking shows the limitation of John McCain, he can't seem to more than one thing at a time.
Barack Obama gets it. He showed tough resolve, restraint, and avoided taking the gotcha pot-shot last night. He spoke clearly about how the economy, energy policy, the courts, and education would be better served by his presidency. John McCain demonstrated that "straight talk" doesn't always turn out to be sensible talk. The American public needs a president who makes sense.