The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

McCain Cries Wolf

3 min read


Tuesday’s debate was the second of three between John McCain and Barack Obama. Though they were not allowed to debate each other directly, this debate was certainly livelier.

McCain started Tuesday’s debate with a shaky voice and a lack of confidence, probably because he’s seen the latest poll numbers. But once the debate moved away from the economy, his confidence returned, perhaps too much.

The country definitely needs a leader strong in foreign policy, but Obama appeared confident throughout, looking far more presidential than McCain, who just looked like an old guy with an annoying smirk.

Instead of the boring, drab guy he is when giving speeches at Republican rallies across the country, debate-McCain develops a modicum of charisma.

Debate-McCain tells jokes and kids with the moderators. He grins at himself, as if he thinks he’s hilarious, but McCain is the one that’s missing the joke. We’re not laughing with him—we’re laughing at him.

McCain tried to negate Obama’s claim that McCain is out of touch with voters with his constant reference to the viewing public as “my friends.” This plan failed. John McCain is not my friend.

As the town hall format indicated, moderator Tom Brokaw refused to allow either candidate the chance to correct misstatements, which, in the interest of truth, if not partisanship, is important.

McCain keeps borrowing from Karl Rove’s playbook, stretching the truth and misconstruing Obama’s statements, and Obama wasn’t really allowed the time to contradict the misstatements. For example, Obama keeps promising to cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans; yet McCain keeps claiming Obama’s economic plan will raise taxes across the board.

McCain’s response to Obama’s plan for getting Bin Laden from an uncooperative Pakistan reinforces this as well as provides more evidence for the fact he is grasping at straws.

Obama did not claim to intend to invade or attack Pakistan, he simply said that were Pakistan unwilling or unable to capture Bin Laden, his administration would take up the job. McCain not only proceeded to criticize Obama “speaking loudly,” but he then gave the exact same plan.

After the McCain camp’s claim that Obama is sexist based on an often-heard cliché about “lipstick on a pig,” I find it hard to believe anyone can take his attacks on Obama seriously. McCain’s attacks keep getting sillier and sillier.

McCain reminds of the boy who cried “wolf,” only instead of “Wolf!”, McCain’s been shouting, “Terrorist!” and “Sexist!”

But both candidates had their flaws. Question-dodging was the response of the night, as it has been. Except where Sarah Palin simply ignored questions in favor of “the tax thing,” and John McCain used vague generalities, Barack Obama gets 10 points for transition. While, yes, his answer to “What don’t you know and how do you plan to learn it?” was not the answer to the question, he shifted his response beautifully, turning the question to make it work the way he wanted it to.

Seven of 10 for the answer (he did dodge the question), but full marks for style. McCain, by contrast, gets an average of three points out of 10. He did at least make me laugh when Brokaw asked who he’d appoint for Secretary of the Treasury, and McCain said, “Well, not you, Tom”.

McCain’s average of three points versus Obama’s average of seven points more or less summarizes the entire election.