Between the presidential candidates, Senators McCain and Obama; it will happen tonight. Senator Obama has held consistent lead in the tracking polls, at the same time as Senator McCain has been slipping behind. Reuters summarized the story:
"McCain and Obama meet in final White House debate. Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama face off in their final debate on Wednesday, with McCain hoping a strong performance can begin to turn around a White House race that could be slipping away."
One of my favorite newsmen, CBS' Bob Schieffer, a "hometown boy," will be the "moderator. -- Schieffer steps up to the plate," according to Politico (10/14/08). Schieffer is seasoned, tough and has always been his own man. We watched him get an early start locally with his brilliant coverage of the Kennedy assassination. To quote:
Schieffer wasn’t available to talk to Politico, but he has sent signals that he’s heard the grousing and intends to hold Barack Obama and John McCain accountable. If the candidates don’t answer questions, he recently told the Hollywood Reporter, “I'm going to call them on it.”
Schieffer — and viewers — may also benefit from a format that is more likely to prompt real exchanges between the two candidates. Instead of standing at competing podiums (as in the first debate) or wandering around a town hall stage (as in the second debate ), the candidates and the moderator will be seated together.
Potential for fireworks is present. The McCain tactics have seemed, to many people -- me included -- to cross the line of propriety and good sense. We lived through the searing sixties, and want no more of it. The Huffington Post's Paul Slansky offered "three questions# that Bob Schieffer probably won't ask John McCain, but he should." They include 1) questioning McCain's judgment in choosing his unqualified running mate, 2) questioning McCain's impugning his opponent's character, and 3) questioning the McCain campaign's fanning the flames# of intolerance.
To sample the way hate speech can grow like wildfire, here is a paragraph from my latest Congressional Quarterly-Behind the Lines newsletter:
Obama bin Laden: The Obama campaign says its Muslim outreacher would have avoided a September meeting if she had known controversial Muslim activists would be present, NBC News’ Jim Popkin reports. “Let me be clear, Barack Obama was ‘palling around with terrorists.’ [And some] who are actively campaigning [for] and financing him, are even more frightening,” Emily Ngo slams for amNewYork. On 300 absentee ballots mailed out in Rensselaer County, N.Y., the Dem’s name is rendered “Barack Osama,” The Albany Times Union’s Bob Gardinier writes — while The Washington Times’ Stephen Dinan has McCain ousting a Virginia campaign chairman whose newspaper column claimed, inter alia, that under Obama, the 2nd Amendment “will only apply to gang-bangers, illegal aliens, Islamo-Fascist terrorists and Sen. Jim Webb’s aide.” Time Magazine, meantime, has Virginia’s GOP chairman saying, comparing Obama and bin Laden: “Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon” — and see The South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Michael Mayo on “two men with ski masks outside a theater with a banner of Barack Obama that said ‘Endorsed by Hamas.’”
These are perilous times, both politically and economically. My readership seems to indicate this, too. Several have been interested in reading a couple of my old (7/19/05) posts, one about Thomas Friedman's "Flat World," and the other about leadership qualities. In the worldwide financial realm, huge challenges cry out for good leadership, and good followership. And in the political realm, after the debate is over, it is up to the voters to decide. But then they have to act on those decisions and lead others to do the same. J.P. Green, of the Democratic Strategist, said recently that the "endgame is more about turnout than undecideds." I will watch the debate with interest. However, I have already made up my mind. On October 20, I will cast my early vote for Senator Obama. He is the leader we need.
Hat Tip Key: Regular contributors of links to leads are "betmo*" and Jon#.
View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.
(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)
My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.