My Mets are fucking losing!!!! DAMN! As I’m writing this, I just got word that one of my favorite actors, Paul Newman, has passed away. Thanks for all the beauty Paul…
-=[ The Art of Debate ]=-
“Ten days ago, John said that the fundamentals of the economy are sound. I just fundamentally disagree.”
— Barack Obama at the debate
So I watched part of the beginning of the presidential debate last night. My thinking is line with the majority of the polls out this morning scoring this one for Obama. Obama came out of this debate looking better than McCain, who looked extremely uncomfortable and came off as belligerent at times. McCain looked ill at ease and I think he didn’t parry what I felt was the line of the night, as delivered by Obama. McCain came out with a silly double speak attempt to sound “deep” on the economy saying, “This isn’t the beginning of the end of this crisis. This is the end of the beginning… ” — arrrghhh! Is Palin rubbing off on the old man?!!
Compare Obama’s response, “This is a final verdict on eight years of failed economic policy promoted by (President) George (W.) Bush and supported by Senator McCain.”
For the most part, I think Obama came off looking more “presidential” than McCain and did a lot better than I thought when it came to foreign policy. I do, however, think McCain dodged a bullet because Obama’s debate style let him off the ropes. Obama needs to stop agreeing with his debate opponents! That’s just not smart at all. He also missed some real opportunities to nail McCain on the economy. For example, Obama allowed the economic portion of the debate to turn to taxes, and of all things, earmarks! Arrrrrgh! Obama should’ve been able to point out that McCain isn’t so clean when it comes to earmarks and could’ve brought up many instances of McCain bringing the pork home.
I also think Obama could’ve done more pointing out McCain’s connection to the core issue of the current financial mess — deregulation and the dismantling of government. He didn’t, for example, point out that McCain’s chief financial advisor, Phil Gramm, wrote the bill that paved the way for the subprime fuckfest. A bill McCain voted for!
Still, though my impression was that Obama was too soft and was too much on the defensive, I also think he came out on top. Mostly (and wisely), he consistently returned to his strength by emphasizing his argument that — in his vision for the future and leadership — the Republican represented a continuation of Bush’s policies, which Obama said have badly affected average Americans in every area of their lives.
“Over the last eight years, this administration and Sen. McCain have been solely focused on Iraq … that is where their resources and their priorities have gone,” Obama said. “In the meantime … we have weakened our capacity to project power around the world.”
One of the harder blows landed by Obama came after McCain criticized Obama judgment suggesting we go after extremists in Pakistan was reckless. McCain jabbed, “Now, you don’t do that. You don’t say that out loud. If you have to do things, you have to do things, and you work with the Pakistani government. To which Obama responded, “And, John, I — you’re absolutely right that presidents have to be prudent in what they say. But, you know, coming from you, who, you know, in the past has threatened extinction for North Korea and, you know, sung songs about bombing Iran, I don’t know, you know, how credible that is. I think this is the right strategy.” (Emphasis added)
That was a powerful message that served him well in deflecting McCain’s attack-style of debating. In addition, McCain did himself a major disservice by the use of his body language. He wouldn’t even look at Obama squarely. Bad form.
Finally, I would have to agree with the talking heads that this was a debate grounded squarely on the issues. In the end, I don’t think either candidate convinced people to come over to their side. However, I believe this bullshit line they trot out every election cycle is just that, bullshit. Independents usually vote one way — they’re independents in name only.
The real key in winning this (or any U.S.) election lies in the candidate’s ability to energize their base. On this issue, I believe Obama’s campaign has done a remarkable job.