Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Primary debates will help McCain

The long debate season has ended in the Democratic and Republican primaries. The way the MSM has conducted them will help John McCain in the fall.

In 20 debates among the Democrats, the media questioners barely asked the candidates about issues that will favor McCain: the surge, raising taxes, FISA, etc. Yes, Iraq has been talked about endlessly but almost always exclusively from the liberal Democratic framework, which centers on the decision to start the war. McCain's focus will be on the surge and the Democrats foolhardly statements that the surge wouldn't work and the consequences that would have flowed from surrendering to al-Qaeda a year ago instead of defeating them.

Of course the Democratic candidates haven't asked these tough questions of each other because they all hold the same McGovern liberal orthodoxy.

In sharp contrast, the MSM asked the Republican many questions about issues they might be vulnerable on in the general election—some social issues, attachment to George Bush, etc.

In short, Barack Obama will have to make a much sharper pivot on issues than will John McCain. The public might be surprised at some of Barack's positions when they hear about them outside an echo chamber format. But McCain will have to overcome Obama's skills as a politician. Powerline's Scott Johnson explains.

Watching the Democratic debate last night, I thought to myself: I would buy a used car from Barack Obama. He is smart, disarming, adroit, and likable. In a debate format with Hillary Clinton, the competition has been reduced to seeking Democratic votes on claims to the greatest ideological purity. For Obama, the claim rests on his opposition to the Iraq war. For her, the claim rests on her health care program. Both Obama and Clinton are peddling tales of gloom and doom, and both recognize no greater threat to the United States than the Bush administratoin. In substance, they both portend a grim Eurosocialist future for the United States. With his personal attributes, however, Obama has it all over her.

Once Obama locks down the nomination, McCain must block his drift to the middle. He needs to hold him accountable for his far left wing primary debate positions, a job that should have been done by the MSM months ago.

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