The first debate between John McCain and Barack Obama was “a game of cat-and-mouse, a slow bicycle race, whatever metaphor you like for a debate in which neither candidate was willing to set out a whole encompassing philosophy, a whole approach to government,” reported Guy Rundle in the Sunday Age.

“You couldn’t really have great hope for the health of the republic from either contribution to this encounter. This week the American credit system almost collapsed — and it still might. Even after the immediate crisis was declared to be over, the Government took over Washington Mutual, the largest main street bank, and sold parts of it on. On Wednesday, after George Bush — the first “dead duck” president — practically pleaded on-air with Congress to pass the $US700 billion ($A844 billion) bail-out, his Defence Secretary Robert Gates was quietly telling the Armed Services Committee that they should lower their expectations about what a troop increase in Afghanistan might do, and that such an increase was not wanted at the time. This, barely noticed, was effectively a declaration of loss in Afghanistan at the same time as economic crisis loomed. It’s a rare double whammy. The times we’re in demanded a bold statement about what America is and what it could be.”

Read the full story here.

Peter Fray

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