After the conclusion of the second of three planned presidential debates, John McCain again is trailing in the polls. Unfortunately, while he's the guy I'm rooting for, it's not that difficult to discern why exactly that is.
People are looking for charisma. They want a strong voice and they want a clear message. They see that in Barack Obama, and to a large extent it was exactly those same qualities that sparked the initial interest in Gov. Sarah Palin. She had passion and fire, and most of all you could tell. But she's not running for president.
The sad truth is that McCain has been less than clear in the debates about just exactly what his policies are, and that's the one place where most Americans will decide who they are going to vote for come November 4th. If McCain can't get his message across clearly to the American people during the debates, and if he can't muster up the fire and passion to excite the audience, it could very well be at the risk of the election. Based on what I've seen so far, I think it may actually be too late.
It's not that McCain doesn't have a plan. If you've been following McCain through his campaign websites, or listening to his prepared speeches, the plan is clear. You know what his vision for America is, and I'd argue that McCain's vision is leagues ahead of his opponent's.
But Barack has better delivery, and McCain, at times, seems to have difficulty articulating his ideas. One CNN poll has suggested that viewers of the debate felt that Barack Obama was the more intelligent candidate. Yet another said that John McCain acted more like a typical politician than his opponent, despite his message that "change is coming." These are all things that McCain has to work hard to dispel. Bush has been criticized—I think to a large extent, unfairly—for not being too smart, and certainly his policies have been highly unpopular with the majority of Americans. Many people, although I disagree, have made comparisons between McCain's and Bush's policies. Senator McCain needs very badly to quell Americans fears that he will be just another war mongering, fumbling buffoon in the White House. Not that I'm making any assertions here as to President Bush's time in office, but if you ask most people, that's what they think about the current administration true or not.
What we need to see from John McCain is something more akin to the last five minutes of his speech before the RNC at the convention. We need to see that fire and that passion, and we need to hear that message that will reinvigorate the ideals of the American dream, of patriotism and love for country.
"Stand up!" he said. "Stand up and fight!" That's exactly what McCain needs to say, and it's also what he needs to do to win this election. We know he's got it in him, but frankly the man just seems a little tired.
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