Neither inspires or impresses much:

What is McCain's response to the current crisis? At first, back in the primaries, he denied there was any such crisis. Then he turned populist. Last week he was railing against the greed of Wall Street. If markets need a steady hand in the next president, they should avoid McCain as the distracted, impulsive cynic he has revealed himself to be in this campaign.

Barack Obama is only slightly less disappointing.

Instead of telling Americans in no uncertain terms that their recklessness has consequences, he too is peddling populist blather. He too will spend money the government doesn’t have to protect small-time borrowers from the consequences of their folly. He too blames companies that operated within the rules as dictated by Congress for maximising their profits by irresponsible lending. He is fiscally more responsible than McCain – and his economic proposals would add less to US debt. But he will not cut spending and is not the fiscal conservative the economy needs. And he is playing a conventional game of economic demagoguery to win votes.

I suspect he will be successful. The truth is: however hard McCain tries to change personality and policy to meet the next news cycle and polling, he cannot escape the simple fact of his Republicanism. He cannot play the maverick now – after abandoning his previous common sense to embrace the Bush-Cheney economic madness of the past eight years. If he had stuck to his principles of 2000, he might have had a chance as these Bush chickens came home to pelt the Republicans with droppings six weeks before election day.

McCain sold his soul a long time ago; in the past few weeks he has been auctioning it on eBay. He deserves to lose. On the economy, though, Obama is not exactly demonstrating that he deserves to win either.

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