My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Review: The Debate 

So, the debate went on . . .

and on, and on . . . .

The strategies were fairly straightforward: McCain wanted to emphasize his experience, his connections to people around the world, and Obama's naivete; Obama wanted to come across as calm and collected and seem "Presidential." And, as near as I can tell, they both succeeded.

The best answer I heard tonight was McCain's response to the accusation of "cutting taxes for corporations": of course you cut business taxes, because that encourages business to stay in America and create jobs and wealth here at home.

Here's the trouble for a Republican partisan: I don't believe Obama, and I'm pretty sure he's either lying or obfuscating, but I don't know how to bring that to light. I'm pretty sure the media won't do it; I don't think McCain is skilled enough at this to call him on it in debate; and so I wonder how those truths can come out.

For instance, here's my idea: Obama said in McCain debate "nobody's talking about Presidential talks without precondition, I was talking about cabinet level meetings . . . "; then show him actually saying in debate with Hillary "I would sit down, without precondition, with leaders from around the world, including Ahmedinijad, and Chavez . . . " Obama said in McCain debate "Yes, we have to increase domestic production of oil, and . . .yes, nuclear . . . '; then demonstrate how frequently Obama has actually voted against both of these. I think this debate may leave him vulnerable to charges of being a flip-flopper. But I think that's really the only way for this to turn into a clear win for McCain.

McCain was almost on the offensive when he was talking about Obama's inability/refusal to recognize that the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, our perception around the world and our national security were all linked. Sadly, I don't think he was able to close the deal and drive the point home.

I don't think I know, at this point, what the "sound bite" moment is going to be from this debate--it wasn't as obvious as John Kerry's "global test." But I also think Obama made enough dubious assertions about his own positions that he's open to attack.

From a style standpoint, I don't understand why McCain refused to look at Obama--it seemed , I don't know, petulant. Obama looked comfortable and in command, and McCain looked experienced but uncomfortable. A little bit of humor would have gone a long way to deflecting that impression, but it was missing.

I would expect that this will be spun in the media as a big night for Obama. I don't know if John McCain or any of his surrogates have the skill to turn that spin on its ear in the next few days. But, perhaps, the impression of the wise old man will be the one that prevails in the long run.

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