I have one major criticism of Palin's performance. She failed to pound home one important argument that the McCain campaign has unaccountably failed to make. She did point out briefly that McCain sought in 2005 to impose tighter regulation on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and that Democrats opposed this Republican move. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac then proceeded to encourage the issuance of subprime and Alt-A mortgages, injecting toxic waste into financial institutions of all kinds. Politicians of both parties share responsibility for widening home ownership further than should have been done. But Democrats can be fairly blamed for failing to rein in Fannie and Freddie. Here the case is laid out by my American Enterprise Institute colleagues Peter Wallison and Charles Calomiris. And two British writers, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Dominic Lawson and the Times of London's Gerard Baker, have done a better job on this issue than almost any of their American counterparts.
Will the VP debate move votes? Current polling shows Obama 5 or 6 percentage points ahead of McCain. Obama is ahead (in some cases, of course, by minimal margins) in recent polling in states with 353 electoral votes. The McCain campaign has pulled out of Michigan. Post-convention polling showed McCain in contention to carry Michigan, a state George W. Bush lost in 2000 and 2004, but more recent polling showed Obama well ahead there. McCain needs to move ahead in national opinion in order to be competitive. A dreadful performance by Palin might have conclusively prevented him from doing so. Now he has a chance.
By Michael Barone