The third and final presidential debate is over. Obama won, but McCain held his own and scored enough points to remain a viable candidate.
Dick Morris said on Fox that McCain needed to connect with voters’ anger on the financial crisis, and to act like he had lost the election anyway — so he had nothing to lose and could let loose on Obama. McCain didn’t take the advice.
On one hand, it’s hard for McCain to hit a moving target. Obama spent his whole political career voting for tax increases. Now he’s a self-proclaimed tax cutter promising cuts for “95 percent of the population.”
McCain seems to be unable to rattle off all the taxes Obama has promised to raise that will affect everyone one way or another: the dividend tax, the capital gains tax by almost double (though he now says he’ll do less), the FICA tax cap on every employee, the estate tax – and most important, he promised to let the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010 – which will cause a massive, automatic tax increase. (Oops, now Obama says he may keep the tax cuts.)
The man’s tax program is abominable, but his flip-flops are even more incredible. Yet the McCain campaign seems totally unable to hold Obama accountable for his constant position changes.
This is important to do because it cuts to the issue of trust and character, vitally important traits for a leader in times of crisis — financial, national security or otherwise.
I am amazed how so few issues are actually talked about in these debates. The same topics we hear time and again: taxes, energy policy, health care, foreign policy issues.
Contrast these debates with those held in the Democratic primaries where specific issue after issue was carefully discussed and debated.
I wished these debates focused on specific issues, so we could see the “evolution” of Obama on so many of them.
Consider that as a candidate for Illinois State Senate, Obama signed a questionnaire saying he would back a total handgun ban for private citizens. He also publicly stated he supported Washington, DC’s total handgun ban.
When the Supreme Court overturned the law, Obama hurriedly said he changed his opinion and opposed the ban.
He has also played legerdemain with the abortion issue. Though Obama has always been an ardent advocate and voted for abortion rights, he sounded almost like a pro-lifer during Wednesday’s debate.
He said he even would back a ban on partial birth if it included an exception for the health of the mother. McCain was quick to point out that the “health” exception is loosely interpreted and can mean anything. The bottom line: Obama supported partial birth abortion in the past and he vigorously attacked the Supreme Court when it upheld the ban on partial birth abortions.
The point here is not the position Obama takes on one issue or another, but the fact we still do not know what this man really stands for though he is just two minutes away from becoming president.
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