I put words in McCain's and Obama's mouths over at the Culture 11 website. In it, implicitly I suggest that McCain should play to his strengths - using analogies of military self-sacrifice and his correctness about the "Surge" - to speak with authority about the economic crisis. Also - quite implausibly - I suggest that he should issue a national call for self-reflection about our own complicity in the crisis, and devote a McCain presidency to restoring virtues of frugality and self-governance. Unlikely, from a man who taunted Obama for suggesting that we could save gas by properly inflating our tires. Obama was right, and more generally, should have been praised for recommending ways that changes in our personal behavior can have significant public benefits.
By contrast, I suggest (again, implicitly) that Obama must overcome his greatest weakness - his inability to connect to "Red" America, or Reagan Democrats. I offer a bit of red meat populism, a call for an economy that rewards the lower and middle class, not the wealthiest, and an effort to paint these commitments as the most fundamental form of "traditional values." Obama began his campaign by an attempt to appeal to "values voters" and the Left swooned, but the fact is, he has never succeeded in attracting them (they seem to like the female candidates this year). He will likely win the election by default against a cratering economy and a clueless McCain, but his inability to draw these voters to his side intimates that he will be a one-term President unless he can build an electoral base that goes beyond easily-disillusioned and distracted college students.