In Barack Obama and John McCain, we representatives of an emerging set of values and an enduring tradition. But we didn't get the sort of constructive debate between these traditions showing the value of each.
It's all negative all the time now in the TV ad wars. For once, Obama has stolen a march on McCain in the campaign hit parade. And his attack strategy seems to be much more on the axis of decision for this election.
This is an attempted reboot in a losing scenario. McCain has been all over the lot on the financial crisis. He is a staunch deregulationist, at a moment in history in which it is clear that that approach has failed.
With the eyes of the world, and the U.S. media, trained intently on Obama during his week-long tour of the Middle East and Europe, for McCain, there is the question of what to do while all this is going on.