Friday, September 26, 2008

Debate Reactions

I watched the presidential debate tonight; here are my reactions.

First, what genius thought that it would be a good idea to have the debate on a Friday night? I’m a political junkie, debates are appointment viewing for me, but how many people is that true of? This schedule must have driven down the number of viewers pretty significantly.

That’s a pity for McCain, because he had a very good night. His forte is sounding strong and inspirational about foreign policy, and he sounded strong and inspirational tonight. Whatever one may say about McCain, he is an honorable man—and that integrity and fortitude showed tonight.

McCain sounded decisive and tough about foreign policy. He seems to have his foreign policy all mapped out; he knows exactly what he wants to do on this issue. (Possibly, foreign policy is the only issue McCain actually has mapped out; the rest of his policies are a confusing mixture of Goldwater libertarianism and Teddy Roosevelt progressivism). McCain always sounds good when talking about foreign policy, and he was no different tonight.

A few points about McCain’s debating style. First, I couldn’t help but notice that he blinks in time to every word. It’s very distracting. Second, he seems to have mastered the art of talking over his opponent—several times, Obama tried to jump in, but McCain relentlessly kept talking. On television, if two people attempt to talk at once, neither can be heard. McCain used that knowledge well.

As for Obama, he didn’t do badly. He did stutter a lot, which makes me wonder how someone who is a very good, very experienced public speaker can sound so bad at times.

Often, it seemed like Obama was trying to prove his competency to independents, appeal to the base, and hit McCain, all at the same time. It didn’t work. It often seemed—this was especially apparent on the foreign policy questions—that Obama was rambling and saying whatever points jumped to mind. Not that they weren’t good points, but Obama didn’t do them justice in his presentation of them.

It strikes me that Obama is handicapped from the beginning is a foreign policy debate. His policy is less war—and that’s a tough position to defend. Peace sounds good, but it also sounds weak. Even if Obama was right about Iraq (and he well may have been), it’s still hard to sound good when droning on about how if everybody had listened to Obama we wouldn’t have had to fight this mean, nasty war.

Memorable moments:

Obama told McCain he was right at least six times. You don’t think that will show up in ads? Oh, wait—it already has. Probably not the best choice of words for Obama.

McCain: "I'm afraid Senator Obama doesn't know the difference between a tactic and a strategy." Semantics? Yes, but it makes Obama look inexperienced and naïve. And that’s what McCain needs.

McCain told what is probably his best story: the anecdote of the mother of a fallen soldier who asked him to wear a bracelet to remember her son, and to ensure that he did not die in vain. It’s an amazing story—when heard in person, it is incredibly moving. But when McCain told it tonight, Obama was ready. He responded “I’ve got a bracelet too, from the mother of…” then he looked down and read the name off his bracelet—apparently, it had slipped his mind. Granted, there could have been any number of reasons for this—he could have been unsure of the pronunciation, he could have merely been adjusting his cuff, he may have been looking at the bracelet for inspiration. But then, George H.W. Bush probably had plenty of good reasons for looking at his watch during the infamous townhall debate with Bill Clinton—and that incident still killed him. (Video at this link). This could do similar damage to Obama’s campaign.

Sarah Palin debates Joe Biden next week. Prediction: she will do very,very well. Some conservatives are worried that she is unprepared, simply because she didn’t do particularly well (or particularly poorly) in three interviews. That’s not overwhelming evidence. She will do fine.

35 Comments:

At September 27, 2008 at 5:23 AM , Blogger Beth said...

I think they had it on Friday night because that was the only night "Dancing with the Stars" wasn't on!

 
At September 27, 2008 at 6:10 AM , Blogger Bob said...

I felt that Brack Obama gave a superficial answers. And McCain was much more well informed and specific!
I also thouth that the moderator gave Obama more time

 
At September 27, 2008 at 8:50 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

I didn't watch it but I read it. I should have bet the house that John McCain would utter "We went to change Washington but Washington changed us."

I told Beth as much Friday morning and sure as shootin' he uttered it.

Embarassing really.

 
At September 27, 2008 at 12:42 PM , Blogger Bob said...

Name: Soapboxgod said...
“Embarrassing really”


What’s really embarrassing, is that YOU are SO predictable!

 
At September 27, 2008 at 2:31 PM , Blogger Beth said...

Bob says:

YOU are SO predictable!


I say

POT-KETTLE-BLACK.....

 
At September 28, 2008 at 3:38 AM , Blogger Bob said...

Soapbox's Lawyer said: "POT-KETTLE-BLACK"

I say, I'ts not 3:00 Oclock yet...why aren't you in school where all good little girls should be?

 
At September 28, 2008 at 4:54 AM , Blogger Throwing Stones said...

I may be biased because I support McCain, but but (McCain won) he was on the offensive and Obama was too much on the defensive (and it showed). McCain kept mentioning Obama's inexperience and inability to take a firm stand. He also mentioned how he has been to many of these places, talked to many of the principles involed and Obama has not.

And Beth, why are YOU always defending everything that soapboxgod says? As if that makes everything he says acceptable somehow. You seem to glorify him. Aren't you getting tired of being a "YES" guy? When are you going to be your own person? Man alive it's getting to be a drag. Someone askes him a question and YOU answer. Someone insults him and you come back and insult them. Be Your Own Person, you don't need his acceptance or approval. Why are you so influenced by other people? be your own person, get a backbone
It's getting boring.
Even if you don’t support McCain, you don't have to back up everthing that Soapbox says, so much of his rhetoric is BS and when you back it up, it make YOU look silly.

 
At September 28, 2008 at 6:39 AM , Blogger Beth said...

So TS, if I "backed up" everything you said, that would be okay, but because I "back up" Soapie I am some sort of stooge, huh?

lol, you and Bob keep me laughing.

 
At September 28, 2008 at 7:12 AM , Blogger Throwing Stones said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At September 28, 2008 at 7:25 AM , Blogger Throwing Stones said...

No, Beth,I don't want to sound mean but I guess you just don't get it. And i kind of think you never will... I don't expect you to "Back up what I have said"
You shouldn't have to back up anyone, just be your own person. Form your own opinions, If you don’t agree with that, fine, that is a choice you makeI respect opposing opinions, but let it be yours, not anyone else’s. You argument always backs up his. You can’t always have the same opinions.

You can Disagree or Agree , but this constantly agreeing with your "mentor" is sickening.

As for Bob, I guess that he sees it as I do. And I'm sure many others do as well.

 
At September 28, 2008 at 10:20 AM , Blogger Beth said...

TS says, "As for Bob, I guess that he sees it as I do. And I'm sure many others do as well."

roflmao, it's perfectly fine that you and Bob agree with each other ALL THE TIME but heaven forbid I agree with my friend Soapie. But for the record, there are issues Soapie and I disgree on, John McCain just isn't one of them.

 
At September 28, 2008 at 10:54 AM , Blogger Beth said...

As to my (very own and personal!)debate reaction, I saw Senator McCain speak in person several months ago, and within 10 minutes of the debate he had said two things he said back then that didn't impress me months ago, so I stopped wasting my time watching the rest of it.

 
At September 28, 2008 at 12:00 PM , Blogger Bob said...

do you think that a politician uses a speech only once?

maybe Bob Barr will impress you more

At least your giving your own opinion, for what that's worth.

Does BO’s statement that he made today about the bail out impress you ? .... Do you think Obama's policies concerning America are a Nightmare as I do?

What would McCain have to say to really impress you? I guess I really would like to know what it takes to impress you.

 
At September 28, 2008 at 12:28 PM , Blogger Beth said...

If McCain renounced any sort of bailout and tell the American people to start taking responsibility for themselves, that would impress the hell out of me, Bob.

 
At September 28, 2008 at 12:44 PM , Blogger Beth said...

Another issue I'd like McCain to speak about is what he is going to do about our deficit which is primarily caused by Social Security, and how we're going to reduce our debt to China.

 
At September 28, 2008 at 12:47 PM , Blogger Bob said...

Maybe he will..If McCain votes "no" and Obama skips it that's a great opportunity to paint himself as a great leader and Obama as a do nothing (vote "present" or skip difficult votes) politician only out for himself.

 
At September 28, 2008 at 12:49 PM , Blogger Bob said...

Don't you think that our deficit is primarily caused by being in two wars for over 7 years?

Not that I'm against the war, I am for it. But I feel the large reason for our deficit is caused by the war.
It's something we are stuck with.

 
At September 28, 2008 at 12:53 PM , Blogger Throwing Stones said...

I guess no one wants to bring up the deregulation that is the root cause. Not that it matters, a hole was put in the boat and it is sinking, best find a way to save it. Sorry but I have No answers here, they will do as they please or what they are pressured into by the man from Wall Street. But ya can't blame McCain.

 
At September 29, 2008 at 12:40 PM , Blogger Bob said...

I hope you DINGBATS are happy now.

Dow Plunges 700 Points After Dow Plunges After House Rejection of Bailout Bill
Happy Now Dingbats?
I hope ALL those SHORTSIGHTED dingbats are happy now! Some people just don't care about the bigger picture, I know that a few can see it, but most others just think it's all about themselves and don't realize that this WILL effect them as well.This is a National Emergency, it's not just abour "Main Street"
It's NOT ALL about YOU!

 
At September 29, 2008 at 12:55 PM , Blogger Bob said...

The conservatives may think they won...but just wait until this effects them. They think it's all about BIG Government. But it's not, it's about everyone.
Not just the little schunck that bought a house that he couldn't afford, like many people think!

Wait til they look at their 401's and their IRA's
Then they will come back and change their minds...

 
At September 29, 2008 at 7:05 PM , Blogger Beth said...

Oh our stocks got hammered alright, but I still believe it's the right thing to do.

 
At September 30, 2008 at 8:21 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

"Wait til they look at their 401's and their IRA's
Then they will come back and change their minds..."


The value of your precious 401k and/or your IRA isn't going to mean jack squat so long as the value of the dollar is in such peril that you can purchase little with it.

 
At September 30, 2008 at 9:44 AM , Blogger Bob said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At September 30, 2008 at 9:46 AM , Blogger Bob said...

Soapboxgod said:.."The value of your precious 401k and/or your IRA isn't going to mean jack squat so long as the value of the dollar is in such peril that you can purchase little with it."

Very profound, Forrest Gump!

 
At September 30, 2008 at 9:52 AM , Blogger Bob said...

Beth said: "Oh our stocks got hammered alright, but I still believe it's the right thing to do"

Very impressively put! And you call yourself an Accountant. I’d hate to be one of your clients, with an outlook like that!

Tell that to the millions of people that lost their Life’s savings and their Retirement funds . I’’m sure they will be glad to hear from you! And your advice however foolish it is...

 
At September 30, 2008 at 12:08 PM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

Glad I could dumb it down to your level Bob.

Carry on...

 
At September 30, 2008 at 12:44 PM , Blogger Bob said...

LOL, Aw, come on now SoapGod, is that really the best you can do?
But I'm going to be a sport and answer your frivolous question or was it a statement?

Look at it this way. If your 401k balance is $250k and declined to $200k recently, this might stop the decline ... BUT the remaining $200k will only buy $100k of "stuff" when you retire in a few years because of the inevitable inflation that occurs when government creates ("prints") too much money

To look at it on the "bright" side.

If everyone's salary goes up because of rampant inflation, two things happen (well many more than two, but...)

1) You get to pay off loans, mortgages, etc. with valueless dollars

Yes, for fixed rate loans. Still the principal is lower and lower with each passing year due to inflation.

2) You quickly find yourself in a higher tax bracket without a single politician having to say that he/she voted for higher taxes

 
At September 30, 2008 at 12:50 PM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

There's not "bright side". That is unless of course perhaps you work in the banking industry and seek to benefit from said bailout (oops..have I said too much?).

There is no "bright side" to individuals laboring and serving as a means to the ends of another.

And I should say, there is no "bright side" to Socialism or Nationalism.

Put whatever wash cycle you want on it. It's still spin to cite it as anything but.

 
At September 30, 2008 at 1:02 PM , Blogger Bob said...

Come on now, I know that there's no "bright side". I've been saying that all week!!!

My "Bright" side comment was tongue in cheek!

It was meant for Beth's empty comment:
" our stocks got hammered alright, but I still believe it's the right thing to do"

 
At September 30, 2008 at 2:20 PM , Blogger Beth said...

My point is that even though it affects me, there is no justification for socializing our economy, I will take my lumps. And I would advise people to keep their investments in a variety of risk levels and don't max yourself out, because there are no guarantees, nor should there be.

 
At September 30, 2008 at 3:37 PM , Blogger Bob said...

well good for you, let the whole county be damned as long as YOU have YOUR principles

 
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