I'm intentionally avoiding the post-debate talking heads to provide myself better, and less influenced, perspective on the hour and a half of hot air I just witnessed. I don't know why I enjoyed Presidential debates (nevermind that they're not even a real debate), as when they end I always find myself in the same position-shaking my head at all the bullshit the candidates tried to spoonfeed us, and further shaking it at the thought that people really believe them. But I guess that's why they have debates on tuesdays (no football) and broadcast it on all networks to avoid actually entertaining programming....and in the end, I owe it to myself and this blog to patiently sit through the debate with an open mind, open eyes, and a wee bit of Cutty Sark, which may or may not have been on sale and made the debate much more palatable.
So ya, my analysis. I think if one went into this debate with no knowledge of the current political landscape and as a truly middle of the road candidate, one would give the nod to Senator John McCain in this one. I thought, while at times sounding a little too Washington (to some folks that's statesmanlike, its really relative), he overall seemed to have the better grasp of the issues, especially when it came to National Security and while he made jabs at Senator Obama, he resisted the temptation to go for the jugular which I think would have backfired. In fact, I was quite surprised by the lack of attacks within the debate, expecting quite the opposite. And I was utterly shocked that McCain didn't reiterate the talking point VPILF Palin had been pushing earlier this week of Obama's "association with terrorists" referring to William Ayers. Obama had many great moments, I just thought McCain had a few more and a better protrayal of himself.
Yes, I would give McCain the advantage and a slight victory in this debate. That said, going into this debate with knowledge of the current political landscape, I think he didn't do what he needed to do. I think it's close to impossible for a GOP Presidential candidate at the moment in light of the proverbial shit hitting the fan the past few weeks (and especially past couple days) with the financial markets to distance himself far enough from George W. Bush, and furthermore to build any sort of credibility when the GOP has held the Presidency for the last eight years and congress for most of them. McCain's task is gargantuan, and as such I thought he had to have an incredibly good performance tonite to try and stop the bleeding that the polls indicate is occuring. With a month to go Obama is starting to run away with it, which shouldn't be happening, but is on account of this economic mess. So McCain tonight needed not only an Obama fumble, but also to pick up the fumble and return it for a touchdown. Or he could have blocked a field goal and returned it for a TD....the analogy holds. Genius, right? Point being, Obama didn't turn over the football and McCain wasn't able to score some convincing points. And now, to my notes;
-To open the debate Brokaw says that the world has changed in the past 12 days. Could that favor Obama?
-10m into the debate both candidates still looked really uncomfortable and shaky in the debate. And there's something really odd about having them just pacing around during questions, or sitting in strangely tall chairs. I liked the questions, but the pacing was just weird.
-When confronted, both candidates refused to acknowledge the 300lb gorilla in the room, namely that the economy is going to get a hell of a lot worse before it gets better. Really a little disappointing that they wouldn't admit what we all know. Hell, have you checked the Dow today?
-McCain wants to renegotiate home mortgages with the bailout plan? I know the plan allows for it, but it's a little surprising.....and a welcome change in policy-even if I still loathe the bailout. But if you're gonna do it, you might as well use it to bundle mortgages and use that buying power to renegotiate them.
-I'm not sure if the audience is in their formal attire, but if so, these are some of the worst dressed people ever. Mis-matching clothes everywhere, to say nothing of their terrible wording of their questions.
-McCain admits that Social Security benefits will have to be altered so as not to bankrupt this country. He may have ignored the other 300lb gorilla, but kudos to him for acknowleding this one.
-McCain refuses to prioritize issues (presumably to get back at Obama saying McCain couldn't do multiple things at once back when he suspended his campaign), Obama prioritizes them energy, healthcare, and then education. Strangely enough, to this point, McCain puts a lot more emphasis on energy while Obama put the emphasis on healthcare-which befuddled me.
-Obama compares his 10 year plan to energy independence to JFK's 10 year program to get to the moon. Nice move.
-I understand an am equally annoyed by the candidated running over and refusing to stay in the allotted time, but does Brokaw really have to be a broken record about it?
-Why is McCain so in love with Nuclear Power? I understand it as a component of energy policy, but he repeatedly cites it over wind or water or even solar. This isn't 1965.
-So Brokaw asks this great question about whether we need a Manhattan Project or a Silicone Valley like approach to the energy problem-a fantastic question-and McCain dodges it while Obama is never even asked the question. That was a great question.
-I don't get McCain repeatedly saying we need to drill for more oil now to "bridge the gap" on energy when just last week even VPILF Palin didn't refute that it would take 10 years to access to the oil we'd be drilling for. Even if the drilling did reduce prices, there's no way that would hold up-it's really a poor stopgap.
-At 9:10pm CST I switched over to CNN for a few minutes. They're running with that stupid tracker again this week, and again it's "Uncommitted Ohio Voters." I guess the Cleveland Browns fans need something to feel good about.
-Why the fuck are we talking about Pakistani territorial sovereignty? Seriously? That's important? With everything going on, we're going to discuss Pakistani territorial sovereignty? And the worst part was, it was a heated topic
-One thing about what Obama is saying, can you imagine if on 9/11/01 the American public had been told that in a debate on 10/07/08 we'd still be arguing about finding and killing Osama bin Laden? Over seven fucking years later, dude's still alive and well.
-At 9:25p we get the obligatory Israel question. Why the hell are we talking about Israel? Again, with all the issues, is that seriously concerning anyone right now?
-If you're John McCain's age, his wife is the American dream. Just saying.
-Did it strike anyone else strange that while McCain is just shaking hands and talking to people, the audience are all whipping out cameras after the debate to take pictures, both of and with, Obama? I didn't see any camera angles of that going on with McCain. The Obama effect is just so strange.