Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thoughts on Final Debate

So, I’m not too far off with my predictions:

  • Obama will remain cool and collected: check
  • Troopergate won’t come up unless the moderator brings it up: check
  • McCain will try some kind of stunt: bzzt
Instead, McCain totally fell for Obama’s hectoring him about negative attacks. Obama said earlier in the week that McCain wasn’t willing to confront him face to face with the allegations McCain has been making. McCain’s manhood and honor were on the line, so he had to answer that in the debate.

When he did, Obama coolly rebutted every charge, then turned it around and said “what is important is making sure that we disagree without being disagreeable. And it means that we can have tough, vigorous debates around issues. What we can't do, I think, is try to characterize each other as bad people. And that has been a culture in Washington that has been taking place for too long.”

Bam. He gets McCain to enthusiastically talk trash, then takes the high road. The guy is brilliant.

The format of the debate also worked to Obama’s favor. With time for long rebuttals and back and forth on the same issue, he was able to answer all the attacks with facts and well-reasoned positions without the subject changing every two minutes.

Some random thoughts:

  • McCain again claims he wouldn't have gone negative if Obama had agreed to town hall meetings. Does anyone believe that? McCain: Hey, there’s nothing I can do. Obama didn’t agree to my format, so I have to hurl hate bombs at him. I had no choice.

  • Obama had a couple great rejoinders when McCain said his feelings were hurt that John Lewis criticized him for whipping his supporters into a hate-filled froth. “I think the American people are less interested in our hurt feelings during the course of the campaign than addressing the issues that matter to them so deeply.” And later: “I don't mind being attacked for the next three weeks. What the American people can't afford, though, is four more years of failed economic policies. And what they deserve over the next four weeks is that we talk about what's most pressing to them: the economic crisis.” Bam.

  • Basic difference in philosophies - Obama (paraphrase): During tough economic times, I don’t mind paying higher taxes. The wealthy can afford to help out. It’s patriotic. McCain (paraphrase): me, me, me, me. me. Don't ever raise my taxes for any reason.

  • Does McCain really want his message to be “Don’t Spread the Wealth”? From a man with 12 houses? Good luck with that.

  • McCain: "If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago." That's a nice line. But it works both ways: If McCain wants to run against Bush, maybe he should have run four years ago too. Obama's response was typically even-handed: "If I occasionally have mistaken your policies for George Bush's policies, it's because on the core economic issues that matter to the American people, on tax policy, on energy policy, on spending priorities, you have been a vigorous supporter of President Bush."

  • Obama was unwilling to criticize Sarah Palin. Another smart move. People seem to have made up their minds already, and criticizing her will just look small at this point.

  • I was glad abortion came up. To be honest, I have not checked Obama’s record very closely on this, but I’ve heard the usual scary allegations that he wants to personally kill babies once he’s elected. I thought he had good reasons for his votes (late term procedure ban he voted “present” for did not have a clause that protected the life of the mother and he voted against a bill that required life saving treatment because there was already a law that required it, and the bill he voted on would have undermined Roe v Wade). McCain’s response: “He's health for the mother, you know, that's been stretched by the pro-abortion movement in America to mean almost anything. That's the extreme pro-abortion position, quote, 'health.'" Mmm. I wonder how well sneering at the health of mothers as an extreme position is going to play among women.

Overall, Obama again showed why he is ready to lead. McCain didn't have a game changing performance. He is quickly running out of options. I'm not even sure producing the dead carcass of Osama Bin Laden will help him now. At this point, he might need to produce photos of Obama doing unspeakable things.


    the nitpicker said...

    UNspeakable. The prefix in- is attached to transitive or intransitive gerunds, NOT to prejoritave or conjunctive gerunds, unless proceded by a...oh never mind.

    Dan S said...

    Dang. I knew that. It was a typo.

    I need an editor.

    the nitpicker said...

    that's why I'm here

    Robert Sievers said...

    I am actually beginning to believe Obama might win. Listening to these voters helps me understand why.

    Caution. This is Howard stern, hardly a bation of conseravative ideals. Given the recent post of should some people stay home, this seemed appropraite.

    PG said...

    When Obama wins, come back up to Illinois, Robert, and we'll strategize cooperation and detente and peace. No more red and blue.

    Robert Sievers said...


    Nice thought, but Obama is not intersted in working with conservatives. That is just campaign talk.

    PG said...

    I heard it just now on NPR. He IS working with conservatives.

    But, forget Obama. I'm talking about you and me (and Dan and Brownie and Fingee or whatever).

    We're taking personal responsibility, just like Obama said we should do.

    Fingtree said...

    Great idea pg. Pot luck style; I'll bring the stem cell stew.

    Dan S said...

    Fingtree, you are definitely on a roll today. And we all know that rolls go well with stew.

    brownie said...

    I'm an ambidextrous eater. I can sit on the right or the left and be equally uncomfortable.