Throughout modern political history, typically a single event or statement by one of the candidates can be attributed as the point in the campaign when "its over". For example, Nixon looking nervous and pale during the '60 debate, Reagan's joke during the second '84 debate about Modale's youth and inexperience, Dukakis in the tank in '88, Kerry's "voting for it before he voted against it". These events are replayed time and again in our memories and in the media.
For Conservatives, we may have witnessed "That Moment" in the 2008 campaign. Here's the quote from Tuesday night's debate:
"You know that home values of retirees continues to decline and people are no longer able to afford their mortgage payments. As President of the United States, I would order the Secretary of the Treasury to immediately buy up the bad home loan mortgages in America and renegotiate at the new value of those homes -- at the diminished value of those homes and let people be able to make those -- be able to make those payments and stay in their homes."
Of course, we would have expected such a statement from Sen. Obama, but sadly it was said by Sen. McCain. The water cooler chat the next day had supporters and Conservatives scratching their heads and asking, "What is McCain doing?" I understand in reading some of the post-debate reviews that the program he is proposing was not explained properly and it came across more socialist that it really is but the damage has been done.
Based on what they heard on Tuesday night, independents who were still undecided now feel as though there is not much difference between the two candidates when it comes to the voters' No. 1 issue -- the economy. If those independent voters perceive that both candidates are looking to get the government even involved in the economic mess, Sen. Obama stands to gain an overwhelming majority of their support based on the intangibles -- likability, presence, communication skills, etc. It also doesn't hurt that Sen. Obama is portrayed by the press as the greatest thing since George Washington...
Sen. McCain failed miserably on Tuesday night in explaining, in simple terms, how he will make America better. He does win, with ease, on foreign relations and national defense issues, but with the stock market dropping several hundred points each day, he needs to propose a solution that not only makes sense but separates him from Sen. Obama and Pres. Bush. His first attempt was a dud...