"Senator Obama, that kind of thinking is dangerous. With views like that, you are not ready to lead. You've come a long way in a short time, and that's commendable. But you need to take a little more time and get to know the world better. America can't afford that kind of naivete' in its Commander in Chief." There were moments in Friday's debate when John McCain could and should have said something just this blunt. Obama gave him several perfect openings. If McCain had delivered such a body blow to his opponent, it would have rocked the political world for days to come, giving the Republican candidate a real chance to take the lead and hold it till election day. What a missed opportunity.
It's true that McCain hammered repeatedly on the point that Obama is naive, doesn't understand, doesn't get it. I still say he gave a themeless performance because there was no decisive, sizzling sound bite like the one I've suggested that would give the debate resonance in this campaign and earn it a place in history. There was no memorable tag that our guy hung on their guy to put him on defense for the next week and drive his supporters nuts trying to peel the tag off. What a pity.
"Themeless, alas" was one of my headlines as I live-blogged the Ole Miss debate for PoliticsWest.com. Read my whole thread from their 90-minute encounter right here.