10/05/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Barack Mans Up, McCain Wusses Out

Barack Obama will appear on The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News tonight. John McCain cancelled his interview with CNN.

That sums up all you need to know about either candidate - and, in a nutshell, explains why Barack Obama will win the White House on Nov. 4.

The official story is that McCain cancelled his appearance on Larry King Live because he was angry that CNN reporter Campbell Brown grilled a McCain strategist about Sarah Palin's experience as "commander in chief" of the Alaska National Guard.

But really - what could McCain say? He has approved a set of talking points about his choice of a running mate that now make it impossible for him to do anything but duck the press and hope for a hurricane.

It didn't have to be this way. While I think Sarah Palin is a lightweight zealot who has no business on a national ticket, McCain could have introduced her in a way that would have showcased her strengths and papered over her weaknesses.

McCain could have said: "Governor Palin is smart, savvy, principled and overwhelmingly popular in her home state. Although her political career has been relatively brief, she has proven her judgment and her character. She is admirable in her personal and public life, I think she is the face of the future of our party."

Unfortunately for McCain, some nitwit GOP attack dog stood up and said, "Hey, wait a minute - you could say exactly those same things about Barack Obama."

If McCain had been clever, he would have snapped back: "Yeah, and it's worked out pretty well for him, hasn't it?"

Instead, the GOP leadership is showcasing Sarah Palin's "executive experience" - 20 months of governing a state with 670,00 people and an annual operating budget of $4 billion. They're claiming, with straight faces, that her tenure in office outweighs Obama's years in the Illinois and U.S. Senate.

That's just stupid. First of all, if executive experience is the most important factor in selecting a president, then John McCain is way out of his league here. But even more ridiculously, by that "logic," Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is, (depending on your math), four times, 20 times, or 12 times more qualified to be president than Sarah Palin. Kind of makes you think, doesn't it?

So while McCain looks sulky for ducking Larry King, he doesn't have much choice. He has saddled himself with a set of talking points that have all the logical power of a soap bubble.

Contrast that with Barack Obama. When he was (justly) outraged at the way Fox News was covering his campaign - calling Michelle his "baby mama"? - Obama and his media advisors went to work behind the scenes to fix the situation, bringing in Fox News President 'Roger Ailes and even network chief Rupert Murdoch. Thanks to their effective, timely work, Fox News viewers will be watching Barack Obama get hard-edged -- but respectful -- treatment from Bill O'Reilly tonight.

So as the increasingly cranky McCain moves further into the bunker, undecided voters will get a fabulous opportunity to watch Barack Obama - handsome, intelligent, smoother than soy milk, and looking more presidential every day.

You know, there are a lot of things that experience can teach you. But there are some things you're just born knowing.