Aside from the initial nervousness, the two who would be President delivered predictable performances last night and at the conclusion of the exchange the dynamics of the race had not changed one iota. McCain has substance, Obama has form. Put political philosophy aside and the two of them might have made a great father-son team.

McCain missed an opportunity to hit the ball out of the park on the tax question and this underscores, perhaps, a troubling misunderstanding of why cutting taxes is a good thing as opposed to a good political thing. The answer he should have given his underling was that the reason cutting taxes is essential is to encourage capital formation.

In a credit challenged environment, capital formation is essential to growth. Without economic growth jobs cannot be created and a slowing economy reversed. Say what you want about Reagan’s trickle down approach, but the results prove effectiveness. McCain did discuss the need to make America desirable for business investment, but Obama negated his point by addressing loopholes which McCain could have used to press his point on Washington’s culture of pay and play.

Obama’s tax cut for the 95% of Americans entails having the government take your money first and then handing you back your own money in the form of a handout – or rebate – or tax cut as he calls it. Buy yourself a new TV, made in China! But when you consider that most of the tax revenues come from that excluded 5%, the stimulus to the economy is limited and therefore less than what McCain is talking about. Perhaps it might help for a week or two like the last rebate did, but how this will encourage American investment is elusive.

Given the sensational reporting of the events of this past week and the general misunderstanding of the American voter more interested in football and the Friday special at Red Lobster, it might have been good for McCain to walk people through how Freddie and Fanny started the dominoes falling by making it possible for home mortgages to be given to people with questionable ability to pay them back with no or limited down payments. Forget a chicken in every pot, how about a house!

Obama is hypnotic in presentation and therein lies the threat. Any student of our current crises knows it cannot be blamed on just one elected official and in doing so Obama reveals to us his ability to lie and mislead. But his victory depends of getting the votes of those not paying attention to detail. What a sad commentary on our country.www.edmartinonline.com