[Opinion] – McCain comes out on top in Friday’s debate

While Americans scurry to check on their savings and retirement accounts and Congress panders over the political fallout from a $700 billion bailout for Wall Street, Barack Obama sits quietly in a back room in southern Mississippi biting his nails and practicing one-liners for last FridayâÄôs debate. This was the scene at the end of last week when, to the surprise of everyone, John McCain called for a suspension of the campaign and debate until the financial deal had been agreed upon between the president and Congress. McCain likes to surprise, and he loves to keep his opponent on his feet; he achieved both last week. Though he eventually flew to Mississippi to take part in the debate (which cost around $5.5 million to set up) after a tentative deal had been reached, McCainâÄôs presence was unclear and uncertain, but this was all part of the plan. You see, McCain has learned extensively what his strengths are compared to his opponent, so after thinking through last weekâÄôs scenario, it dawned on me that McCainâÄôs stunt to call for a suspension due to the economic resolution was sheer genius. Obama has undoubtedly had a lack of foreign policy experience compared to McCain, which is why even the most liberal press outlets agreed McCain would probably have the advantage in the foreign policy issues debate. This set expectations for Obama low, so when McCain announced he may not attend, it triggered a predictable and ultimately favorable response from the media hacks: new analysis that McCain was âÄúhiding,âÄù âÄúavoiding,âÄù and âÄúscaredâÄù because of his new position in the polls. This did one thing McCain needed it to do: lower his expectations and raise ObamaâÄôs. Additionally, Obama needed the practice and McCain did not, which is why the freshman senator and his campaign were knocked back when they heard McCain might cut into their practice sessions to invite Obama to the White House. On the debate itself, McCain was a winner with many independent minds, but many independent minds werenâÄôt watching. The core audience for Friday nightâÄôs debate was partisan-leaning Americans, many of whom had made up their minds before the debate, which is partially why polls released Saturday showed Obama with a slight edge on debate performance. But what wasnâÄôt surprising was ObamaâÄôs slip back to his number one reason he has asked AmericanâÄôs to give him their vote: President George W. Bush. Using filler lines like âÄúLet me be clearâÄù about a dozen times, Obama has asked Americans to believe in hope, change, and a new world in politics, but his stump speeches have been anything but that. ObamaâÄôs tactic to win the presidency by linking McCain to Bush has become a dull and unsupported comment in the eyes of many voters. Voters already had an election to take out their anger on Bush in 2006. Except in that year, a class of unqualified and extreme left-wing politicians was swept into office on all levels of government, which ultimately led to the two least productive years in politics. So let me be clear: ObamaâÄôs partisan language is no different from that of desperate hopefuls before him that eagerly want the White House back. It is an example of the extent to which the inexperienced candidate will go to move the attention away from his shocking lack of readiness to be commander in chief towards a popular scapegoat for all of the worldâÄôs problems. The issues speak for themselves. On the issue of Iraq, which McCain has consistently performed well on for his support of a successful surge, CBS found McCain won by 56 percent to 48 percent, âÄúreflecting divisions over the war and lingering doubts about ObamaâÄôs readiness to be commander in chief.âÄù The Sunday Times also noted, âÄúWhen McCain said he had a bracelet from the mother of a soldier who had lost his life in Iraq, Obama said he had one too âÄî but had to surreptitiously check his notes to make sure he got the name right.âÄù On the issue of the economy, both candidates were hesitant to committing to the final deal in the works on Capitol Hill, but ObamaâÄôs points lacked substance while McCain pointed to his record on earmarks and pork-barrel reform. Although it has drawn nothing but whining from ObamaâÄôs campaign, McCain has released a plan to drastically reduce the national debt by the end of his first term in office. McCain also called on Obama to answer to the over $900 million in pork projects he has been a part of during his short time in the Senate; these accusations were never adequately addressed. McCainâÄôs language during the debate reflected his consistent theme throughout the campaign and this week of putting partisan politics aside to reach agreement on issues of importance. So while Obama has issued press releases criticizing McCain for the number of times he mentions âÄúmiddle class,âÄù the âÄúinternâÄù himself did not speak nearly as much about bi-partisan action he has done or wants to do. McCain has taken political risks to vote with the other side on countless issues. To name a few: the initial strategy in Iraq, foreign policy of President Ronald Reagan, U.S. immigration policy and tax policies for corporations. To his credit, Obama was somewhat compromising. After all, he did admit several times throughout the debate, âÄúJohn is right.âÄù You can find the video on YouTube. This could be the most important election of our lifetime, and this has been supported by experts across the board. Get to know the candidates, even if it means spending a little more time finding out who Barack ObamaâÄôs running mate even is. Zogby, one of the nationâÄôs best pollsters, has predicted that whoever wins will win by a landslide in November, and that this will be decided in the weekend before the election. This is just one of an infinite amount of reasons these biased and bizarre media polling methods being released daily should be taken with a grain of salt. Next week, Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Biden will debate for the vice spot. I would personally recommend this debate over any of the others; it should be a good one. Think of it as the Alaskan hockey mom versus the man who vocally points out, âÄúQuite frankly, (Hillary Clinton) might have been a better pick than me.âÄù Andy Post welcomes comments at [email protected]