Alex Massie

Obama-McCain. Part 3.

Text settings

And so, weary campers, the end is in view. Tonight's debate is the third and final tussle between Messrs McCain and Obama. A victory on points won't help Mr McCain; it's far from certain that even a knockout defeat can really hurt Mr Obama. Anyway, I dare say I'll try and live-blog the thing again. So what does Mr McCain have to do? Here are some helpful tips from National Review Online:

Advice to McCain    [John J. Pitney, Jr.]

What demeanor should McCain display tonight? Angry doesn't work. Solemn doesn't work.  ake-smiley doesn't work. Instead, McCain should go back to his roots and unleash his inner smart-aleck. If Obama accuses him of being erratic in a crisis, he should say: "So I'm erotic in a crisis? Who knew?"

This approach has a couple of advantages. First, it enables McCain to show the more appealing side of his personality. Second, it throws Obama off his game. His handlers have surely anticipated every possible attack line about Ayers and Wright. And as a good liberal, he's waiting for the chance to say, "Have you left no sense of decency?" But he'd be hard put to defend against ridicule. The One can't handle the jokes.

So to get ready for the debate, McCain should lay aside the notes, crack open a beer, and watch Animal House.

It really is hard to see what could possibly go wrong with taking this approach. As another doomed candidate once-never-quite-said, "Crisis? What crisis?"

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articleInternational