I believe John McCain won the foreign policy debate hands down, but he was unimpressive on economic issues, which, in fairness, were not supposed to be the subject of the first debate. But he can redeem himself in the next debate. Thankfully, Obama is exceedingly vulnerable here, even more so than on foreign policy, which is a mouthful.
McCain must attack Obama's class-warfare assertion that every economic problem we face, including, preposterously, the financial crisis, is a result of the Bush tax cuts. If McCain's going to be a supply-sider, he must begin talking like one. He must also steer far away from the silly populist line that the free market is somehow to blame for the crisis. Leave such blasphemy to the Obama Democrats.
But McCain's first order of business must be to address the financial crisis head-on -- instead of in generalities, as both he and Obama did in round one.
McCain should not consider this a problem but a softball served up by recent history and the comparative behavior of the two political parties and the two presidential candidates that he must knock out of the park. If McCain is willing to hit Obama in the gut with the full truth about the genesis of the crisis, he could emerge from the next debate as the clear favorite.
McCain's opportunity here is even richer when you consider that on this matter, despite his scant political record, Obama has very dirty hands. He cannot be allowed to pretend to have been a bystander when it's incontrovertible that the policies leading to this crisis were vintage Obama. The people who caused it are Obama's political allies and close friends.
McCain cannot sit idly by as Obama attempts to shift blame onto corporate America, capitalism itself, Republicans and the Bush administration. He can't allow the mindless mantra of moral equivalence ("each party shares equal responsibility") to stand: -- not that Obama would even consider that much of a concession.
McCain must take the gloves off -- as he did after Obama made the mistake of showing his nasty, haughty and condescending side in the first debate -- and place the blame for this mess squarely at the Democrats' and Obama's door.
As you've surely heard by now, much of the ammunition he needs is contained in a well-done YouTube video showing the congressional Republicans' efforts in 2004 to rein in Freddie and Fannie and the Democrats' thwarting of those efforts.