The Final Debate

The final Presidential Debate of 2008 is tonight. I won’t be liveblogging it, but may chime in with reactions at some point.

This is McCain’s last real chance to pull it out. The polls are against him, and if Virginia swings to Obama he has almost no hope of winning. He has simply got to do more that just attack Obama over his questionable associations. He has got to ask the American people to trust him. The problem is that he’s lost so much ground that he may just be unable to do much to arrest his slide.

If I were McCain, I’d essentially ignore Obama. I’d not do what the GOP pundits are doing. He has got to show that he can lead in turbulent times. He has to give the American people some real “straight talk” tonight about what we face in the next few years and why it’s so important not to go down the wrong path.

This race was always going to be a tough one for the GOP. 8 years of being tied to Bush and an arrogant Congress has left the Republican Party intellectually moribund. The Republican Party has lost its way, and while McCain is not the sort of Republican who got the party into this mess, he’s stuck with the bill. We can whine all we want about how the media has been constantly covering for Obama—and had they done their job this race might be different—those complaints are totally worthless in terms of winning.

There’s so much ground for McCain to make up that it seems impossible for him to win. Then again, that’s been said of the McCain campaign at least once in this political season. The difference is that McCain can’t count on his competitors melting down to win. He’s going to have to give the American people a reason to vote for him. If he can do that, he still has a chance. If not, an Obama Presidency will be a fait accompli.

UPDATE: Marc Ambinder gives three bullet-points to consider tonight. I expect all three will be at play in the debate.