09/27/2008 (9:43 am)
Yes, I watched it. No, I honestly don’t care much about these presidential debates. I think it’s insane to base one’s vote on watching candidates trade memes and sound bites for 90 minutes in a media show. I always have. These debates are part of the evidence that far too many fellow citizens have become too shallow to govern themselves.
That being said, I thought there was more substance discussed in this 90-minute show than in most presidential debates I’ve seen. That’s arguably because neither candidate really had time to get briefed up thoroughly, due to the economic crisis. So here’s my proposal for the next election cycle: let’s have the networks kidnap the candidates with no warning and force them to debate unprepared. They could tape the session and release the tape in a scheduled time slot. (Just kidding, but…)
Neither candidate scored any really decisive blows. Obama was stylistically superior much of the time, but his style was not sufficient to overcome McCain’s overwhelming edge in real-world foreign policy experience.
Polls are showing more people think “Obama won” than “McCain won,” and the lefty blogs and mainstream press branch of the Obama campaign are happily reporting that, so that’s the meme we’re going to hear from now on. I’m voting “draw,” myself.
Now, my personal, visceral reactions to some of the contents: Obama really needs to give up on “McCain-Bush,” McCain’s amused dismissal of that repetitive nonsense was effective and completely appropriate. If I hear any more “Wall Street/Main Street” juxtapositions, I’ll be tempted to staple the speaker’s mouth shut. McCain’s point about Russia blocking action in the UN and the need for a League of Democracies is interesting, though, frankly, I’m no fan of sanctions — they get used against peoples whose governments really don’t care. I was intrigued by Obama’s claim that the Iraq war was a mistake because it made Iran more powerful; is he saying that we should have permitted genocide of the Kurds, mass graves, WMDs, and assassination attempts on our head of state because if we take down the nation that does this, it makes their opponents stronger? That’s loony. Obama got called on his “tough guy” stance on Pakistan and tried to back away from it, but the damage was done. What does he imagine the Pakistanis’ response to a similar public gaffe by the President might be? McCain was right; you don’t say things like that out loud. I’m disappointed McCain didn’t bring up the role NATO played in Afghanistan, which is the reason for the current debacle there, but that’s also a touchy subject that doesn’t need airing by high-profile fools (and this is where Obama’s NATO committee should have been meeting, and wasn’t). “I’ve got a bracelet, too…” (gag) McCain: “Watch Ukraine.” Ok, I will, but for what?
Obama lied through his teeth about Henry Kissinger’s support for his approach to Iran and Pakistan, and Kissinger was good enough to say so publicly this morning. Obama lied about his response to the Georgian crisis, and about his position on the Iraq war and his opposition to the surge. Obama also obfuscated badly while trying to make his position on talks without preconditions palatable. The number of statements Obama has made that he now wants to unmake is pretty high, and his standard approach to unmaking things that have slipped out of his mouth is to lie about them, and then call somebody else a liar for pointing it out. That says something truly vital concerning his fitness for the office.
1 Comment »
Comment by Zanzibar
Nyuk nyuk nyuk.
I think it was either a draw or a slight McCain win on the merits, but foreign policy was supposed to be McCain’s strong point, and there was nothing that Obama said or anything that McCain tried to pin on Obama that made Obama come off as un-Presidential.
As far as ‘fitness for office,’ Obama reassured a LOT of people last night. McCain needed to make people rethink their support for Obama, and he really failed at that. Saying over and over ‘he just doesn’t understand’ doesn’t make it true when it’s pretty clear that Obama DOES understand. They may disagree on policy, but that’s a far cry from McCain’s suggestion that Obama is somehow unfit to do the job.
I think it’s a net loss for McCain, and with Palin coming up next, it’s not looking good. I predict another pathetic drama queen attempt by McCain to shake up expectations before next Thursday. Any guesses on what it’ll be? Another loud trip to Washington for a photo op? Maybe he’ll get Bush to invade Pakistan?