The Corner

Looking Like a President

Jay Cost:

Strong leader, able to handle a major crisis, somebody you’d go to for the toughest decision in your life because you know he has good judgment. Right now, that man is Barack Obama – not John McCain. This is a clear indication to me that, as of today, the country is comfortable with the idea of Obama as President. If it remains comfortable with that idea come Election Day, he will win. . . .

My opinion is that something like this is what happens when a major economic event fundamentally favors one candidate over the other, which is exactly what we have seen. This is a banking crisis that started at the end of an unpopular Republican administration. It’s not surprising that the public’s opinion of the Democratic challenger has significantly improved. Through their actions, both candidates have probably reinforced the dynamic – but those actions were largely induced by that crisis. It’s easy to look cool, calm, and collected when you have the wind at your back; it’s much harder when it’s blowing in your face.

McCain’s job over the next three weeks is to change this perception.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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