It’s up for debate.

I was never on the debate team in High School. Always thought I’d be pretty good at it – I love to challenge people with whom I disagree, and enjoy the give-and-take when someone can argue their positions with facts and logic (as opposed to rhetoric and emotion. 

I watched the debate last night with interest. The candidate on the side I’m pulling for (the conservative side, if there was ever any doubt) is not known for his inspiring speeches or magnetic personality. The guy on the left (Obama) is all about lofty rhetoric, but generally short on specifics, not to mention logic. Then of course, you have to factor in the pundits. “McCain needs to put Obama away to win this.” “Obama is in the lead, he just needs to not screw up…a draw is a win for him.” “Both candidates need to deal with specifics, so we can get past the slogans and see real plans.” Um, yeah. I made that last one up. Nobody in the media has been saying anything like that.

So, how did it go? I dunno. I think Obama started strong, but then got more and more rattled as the night went on. McCain did surprisingly well, but I don’t know if that was enough to move undecideds into his column. I think this election is gonna come down to the wire. I would like to make a few observations on last night’s performances:

 

  1. Somebody must have told Obama and Biden that it would be psychologically devastating to keep referring to Senator McCain as “John.” Their intent was – and is – to trivialize his status in the Senate, and by extension, his experience. They did it so uniformly, it MUST be by design. It came off (to me, anyway) as tacky and somewhat sophomoric. Or sophomoronic. You decide. 
  2. Obama can parrot stats back like a well-coached actor, but he seems to be all stats and no substance. I could almost see the database search going on in his head, as he spun his mental Rolodex to find the appropriate response. 
  3. McCain missed a LOT of opportunities to put Obama away last night – but he did a good job mixing it up. Rather than an artful boxer who can avoid punches and darts in fast to score telling blows, he’s more like the guy who just gets in and relentlessly pounds the other guy, and will not stop. Whatever works, Senator. Whatever works. 
  4. Obama is slick. Really slick. And I’m afraid that in today’s sound bite world (and with the media’s bias toward the Democrats), I’m afraid that Obama wins style points that will make a bigger impression with the public than will McCain’s substance. 
  5. McCain better hope that Palin does a killer job on Biden, and that he can raise his game by the time the next debate comes around. Barring that, McCain’s best hope for a serious shift towards his side is that some international/national security crisis overshadows the news of the economy between now and November. 
I take some comfort in the fact that both Reagan and Bush did not do well in their first debates of the campaign. It was only after they let Reagan be “Reagan” that he recovered. Bush simply got better and more comfortable (and both Kerry and Gore came across as elitists that looked down on Bush). So, we’ll see. 

2 thoughts on “It’s up for debate.”

  1. Your Five and My Five…
    I love a good argument. R's and D's aside (same stuff, just two different piles), here's my 5 observations from the first debate.

    1. Somebody must have told John not to even look in Obama's direction at all during the debate, as if he's “better than Barrack” and to just pay no mind to this new guy challenging Mighty McCain. Obama was clearly more respectful towards his opponent. Truth is, Obama deserves to be on the stage as much as McCain does. They are both the winners of their respective parties. To me, McCain came off as Elitist.
    2. McCain can namedrop all he wants w/ anecdotal stories. We all know by now that he does have experience and is a war hero, and for that, he is greatly respected and appreciated… The war hero part, the experience as a senator is what concerns me.
    3. Obama is the clear winner of the “Missed Opportunity Award”.
    The table was set, with the economy, unemployment, layoffs, etc. and…. the massive Wallstreet Bailout crisis for Obama to hammer away at the republican train of thought of “Trickle Down Economics” and how the rich get richer, while the poorer get poorer… only now it's middle class America being driven to the poorhouse.
    4. McCain and his campaign staff is desperate. How else do you explain picking Palin, the “Great Hillary Hope Vote Stealer” and his stunt to which he “Suspended” his campaign. Please. What's next, Him letting refugees from the next hurricane stay at ONE of his houses?
    5. I totally agree with your number 5. Palin better at least hold her own against Biden, or the next McCain Hailmarry move might just be replacing her at the last minute with someone else. From what I've seen from her limited time on TV, I can't tell the difference between her and Tina Fay's impression of her. I totally agree with who ever said that she is “Way out of her League”.

    If the dems can not win this race with everything that's going on in our country, and the world— and the fair coverage from the media, Notice I didn't say biased, if you want to see biased media, watch Fox, it is there own fault for not being able to convince the voters that McCain will simply be just more of the same.

  2. Your Five and My Five…
    I love a good argument. R's and D's aside (same stuff, just two different piles), here's my 5 observations from the first debate.

    1. Somebody must have told John not to even look in Obama's direction at all during the debate, as if he's “better than Barrack” and to just pay no mind to this new guy challenging Mighty McCain. Obama was clearly more respectful towards his opponent. Truth is, Obama deserves to be on the stage as much as McCain does. They are both the winners of their respective parties. To me, McCain came off as Elitist.
    2. McCain can namedrop all he wants w/ anecdotal stories. We all know by now that he does have experience and is a war hero, and for that, he is greatly respected and appreciated… The war hero part, the experience as a senator is what concerns me.
    3. Obama is the clear winner of the “Missed Opportunity Award”.
    The table was set, with the economy, unemployment, layoffs, etc. and…. the massive Wallstreet Bailout crisis for Obama to hammer away at the republican train of thought of “Trickle Down Economics” and how the rich get richer, while the poorer get poorer… only now it's middle class America being driven to the poorhouse.
    4. McCain and his campaign staff is desperate. How else do you explain picking Palin, the “Great Hillary Hope Vote Stealer” and his stunt to which he “Suspended” his campaign. Please. What's next, Him letting refugees from the next hurricane stay at ONE of his houses?
    5. I totally agree with your number 5. Palin better at least hold her own against Biden, or the next McCain Hailmarry move might just be replacing her at the last minute with someone else. From what I've seen from her limited time on TV, I can't tell the difference between her and Tina Fay's impression of her. I totally agree with who ever said that she is “Way out of her League”.

    If the dems can not win this race with everything that's going on in our country, and the world— and the fair coverage from the media, Notice I didn't say biased, if you want to see biased media, watch Fox, it is there own fault for not being able to convince the voters that McCain will simply be just more of the same.

Leave a Reply