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NYT Says Debate Is Lose-Lose For McCain

The New York Times is once again warning Mr. McCain to lay off of any criticism of Mr. Obama.

At the same time they are also providing helpful tips on how to recognize that the McCain campaign is a lost cause:

What to Watch for During the Final Debate

By Katharine Q. Seelye

October 15, 2008

Tonight’s debate provides Senator John McCain with his last, best hope of reversing the tide that appears to be running against him…

Now, with less than three weeks until Election Day, Mr. McCain is trailing Mr. Obama in the national polls, and his multiyear quest to become president is coming down to the wire. If he is going to change the dynamic of the race, watch for him to try mightily to do it tonight.

In tonight’s debate the two candidates will be seated next to each other at a table. The format is intended to promote conversation rather than the regurgitation of stump speeches. It sometimes encourages candidates to be more civil toward one another, but it can also have the opposite effect.

In previous debates when Mr. McCain has been seated next to his opponent — earlier this year against Mitt Romney and in 2000 against George W. Bush — he evidently saw no reason to restrain himself.

Mr. McCain has already vowed to “whip” Mr. Obama’s “you-know-what” tonight. Of course, he has signaled such a get-tough approach before, only to flag.

But this promises to be his last chance for direct confrontation. Watch to see how he uses it and whether he spends more time trying to restore voters’ confidence in himself or to raise doubts about Mr. Obama’s readiness to serve as commander in chief. The tone he strives for and the degree to which he hammers Mr. Obama will say a lot about where he thinks the race stands now and how he will conduct the rest of the campaign.

The main subject of the debate, the economy, has not been Mr. McCain’s strong suit. His behavior during the current crisis — from announcing a brief suspension of his campaign to offering a plan during the last debate for buying up bad mortgages — appeared to have the effect of undermining voter confidence and driving away independents.

If Mr. McCain thinks he can still win this race, he will spend time tonight offering reassurance, especially to independents, women, and older voters, that he is that “steady hand on the tiller” that he promised to be.

The details of the plans he offers will be less important than the image he projects, according to Stephen Brooks, a political scientist at the University of Akron in Ohio.

“Voters want to know who is calm and collected, and who knows how to get the really smart people in the room and get us out of this economic mess,” Mr. Brooks said.

At the same time, watch to see if Mr. McCain raises the matter of Mr. Obama’s past association with William Ayers, the former 1960s radical, as well as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Mr. Obama’s former pastor (even though Mr. McCain has said he would not bring up Mr. Wright).

These names, Ayers and Wright, could be a sign of how desperate Mr. McCain is feeling.

There’s a lot of offstage skirmishing over this. Mr. Obama may have been trying to goad Mr. McCain into bringing up Mr. Ayers tonight when he said that Mr. McCain was too afraid to bring him up in the last debate. Mr. McCain said Tuesday that Mr. Obama’s suggestion that “I didn’t have the guts” to bring up Mr. Ayers last time “probably ensured” that it would come up this time. It is possible that both candidates are trying to create a climate that will force Mr. Schieffer to bring the matter up.

The downside of Mr. Ayers for Mr. McCain is that it could reinforce the notion that he is more preoccupied with political tactics than addressing the main topic on voters’ minds — the economic meltdown and the collapse of the value of their homes.

The Ayers question aside, watch for the degree to which Mr. McCain dials back his attacks, as has he has on the campaign trail.

If he takes a kinder, gentler path, that’s a sign he thinks his negative approach has not worked, that he thinks he can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

It could also signal that Mr. McCain realizes it’s time to start paying attention to his legacy.

Even Republicans have expressed alarm at the tone at his rallies, which incited some supporters to yell out threats against Mr. Obama and did not help Mr. McCain look presidential…

And oh, yes, Mr. Obama will be on the stage, too

Mr. Obama’s lead in the polls can only encourage him to stay the course. All of the personal imperatives discussed during earlier debates — that he had to show more “passion” or “connect” better with voters — now seem beside the point.

Watch for Mr. Obama to try to stay focused on the issues, especially the financial crisis, which appears to have accrued to the political benefit of Democrats. And watch for him to return to the themes with which he began the race — hope, change, and an end to the war in Iraq.

It is possible that Mr. Obama could make a blunder, or appear too cocky. Or that Mr. McCain could find a way to get under his skin. If he strikes back at Mr. McCain, that’s a sign that he feels he is losing ground.

You see it is all very simple:

If Mr. McCain thinks he can still win this race, he will spend time tonight offering reassurance, especially to independents, women, and older voters, that he is that “steady hand on the tiller” that he promised to be…

At the same time, watch to see if Mr. McCain raises the matter of Mr. Obama’s past association with William Ayers, the former 1960s radical, as well as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Mr. Obama’s former pastor (even though Mr. McCain has said he would not bring up Mr. Wright).

These names, Ayers and Wright, could be a sign of how desperate Mr. McCain is feeling.

If McCain attacks Obama it shows that he knows he has already lost the election.

But, oddly enough, the same articles goes on to tell us that if McCain dials back his “attacks” that may also be a sign that he has given up all hope:

The Ayers question aside, watch for the degree to which Mr. McCain dials back his attacks, as has he has on the campaign trail.

If he takes a kinder, gentler path, that’s a sign he thinks his negative approach has not worked, that he thinks he can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

It could also signal that Mr. McCain realizes it’s time to start paying attention to his legacy.

So no matter which course Mr. McCain takes in the debates it should be a signal to the enlightened readers of the New York Times that he has already lost the election.

Still, the “reporter” does allow that it “is possible” that Obama could make a mistake and “lose ground.” But certainly not enough to actually make a difference.

Isn’t it kind of the New York Times to be so helpful?

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, October 15th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “NYT Says Debate Is Lose-Lose For McCain”

  1. therightguy says:

    Of course the New York Times wants McCain to lay off their boy. They are in the tank for Obama. The only time the NYT supported McCain was in the primaries when they wanted a weak candidate on the republican side. The MSM has become so entrenched in the democrat party and their agenda that any feigning of objectivity or journalistic clarity is to looked at for what it is: an act, an obfuscation, and a con job. They are part of Team Geppetto that is playing the American public for fools.
    Jim
    http://www.therightguyshow.com

  2. thetimeisright says:

    This whole process has been so one sided it is sicking. The Lib,s call the race card at every turn. An if John McCain says anything about who or what has got B.O. Ol stinkboy where he is today. Than the lib,s cry foul than turn around a run the nastiest adds that they can.

    The Dem,s than think it is ok to attack Sara Palin on all fronts an again it is ok. Well if John dont call him on everything he can we are doomed. I do believe has has to use tack in his speech tonight, But he has to be firm an call him on everything that has got B.O. where he is today. Friends, Policies, Taxes, Health Care, An how in the hell we have got in this financial mess, An dont back down.

    Call it what it is Dem white collar crime. The dem,s have blocked all reform on this till they could fill their pockets an break our banks an then has the *sp* (gaul) to ask for more money. An if Obama what that much of my money i want that asshat to come an work at my side an earn it just like i have had to. An i bet his sissy ass cant handel the training alone. I dont like him or his policies. Damn the socialists of this country.


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