The liberals have been marketing Barack Obama as the greatest orator of our times, but the public saw a different picture in the first presidential debate. Angry, perplexed and devoid of substance was the real Obama, whom the media could no longer hide.
By contrast, John McCain provided refreshing sincerity to Obama's incoherent subterfuges. McCain explained in simple language that only Republicans will limit the increase in government spending, defend national security and ensure that families rather than the federal government will control health care.
McCain reminded voters that Obama is the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate. In one of several witty comments, McCain said, "It's hard to reach across the aisle from that far left."
The debate was held under very disadvantageous circumstances for McCain, and the left had every reason to expect a home run for its candidate. The markets were melting with a Republican in the White House, and McCain was being bullied by the media.
While there was nothing particularly brilliant about McCain's responses to Jim Lehrer, McCain came across as genuinely sincere and straightforward. That was more than Obama could do.
When asked how each candidate would specifically make up for money lost in the proposed bailout, McCain proposed a spending freeze with a few specific exceptions. "How about a spending freeze on everything but defense, veterans affairs and entitlement programs?" McCain offered.
Obama refused to accept this obvious solution to out-of-control federal spending. His response illustrated why Democratic presidential candidates have been criticized as tax-and-spend politicians.
"There are some programs that are very important that are under-funded. I want to increase early childhood education, and the notion that we should freeze that when there may be, for example, this Medicare subsidy doesn't make sense."
The only thing clear about Obama's incoherent statement is that he will continue to tax and spend exactly as the Democratic leadership has being doing for decades. McCain's position against more fiscal recklessness scored many points with the voters, who are tired and broke because of politicians wasting their money.
Given the weak state of the economy, all Obama had to do was to offer some reasonable plan and he would have come out ahead. But he couldn't muster even that.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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