Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Presidential Debate Analysis

I think it was clear win for Barack Obama. He had a real good night and John McCain had a bad night. In fact, there were times where I really felt kind of sorry for McCain. Gone is the John McCain I liked so much in the 2000 Presidential race. McCain now looks like he should be serving his last months in office, not seeking his first. Time and his complete sell out to the Bush Administration over the past eight years has taken a terrible toll. George Bush ruined it all for John McCain. In more ways than one. No wonder he's seething.

Think about it. In 2000 John McCain was pretty close to being a real Maverick. He railed against the Religious Right who pull the important strings in the GOP, he argued against then Governor Bush's doomed to fail economic plans and he condemned the lie and hate filled campaign that Bush was raging against him. But in 2000 he lost. George W. Bush took away his best chance of ever becoming President.

But it gets worse. In a calculation I still don't understand, John McCain decided to cross sides and join his enemies. He snuggled up to Bush for the general elections in 2000 and 2004. He embraced Bush's policies over 90% of the time. McCain even hired the smear merchants that slimed him for his own campaign in 2008. McCain appeased the fundamentalist with the Sarah Palin pick and got down in the gutter as bad as he got just 8 years earlier. This calculation seems to have failed. So this time, by joining up with George Bush and his people, McCain is having his second and final attempt at the White House going down the drain.

I just wonder how it must feel for him to hear himself now being tied to the failures of the Bush Presidency. He must truly hate the man. Not only did Bush take the nomination from him in 2000, not only did he convince McCain to back bad policies, but he also lead McCain into giving up his maverick status and even his honor this year. George Bush has just about ruined this country and caused immeasurable hardships on millions of people across the world. But John McCain might just have the unique distinction of being hurt by Bush more than anyone else still alive. Now, being (correctly) labeled as "McSame" (as Bush) must be galling beyond belief.

Back to the debate. Of course there were the idiosyncrasies we have all gotten used to. John McCain winking and blinking and saying "my friend" seemingly without control. Barack stuttering and using the word 'notion" a lot. And I would be remiss if I didn't point out that John Mcain's upper lip never seems to move when he speaks. The oddest phrase I heard was "nailing jello to the wall" uttered by McCain. Huh? Is that a common expression? Why would anyone try to nail jello to the wall anyway? Also, McCain blundered greatly when he suggested that people could drive to Arizona to get health care. Tennessee, where the debate was held, is a long way from Arizona and I doubt anyone in the audience saw that as a good idea.

Finally there is the "that one" comment that is big news today. I grimaced as soon as I heard John McCain say that. It sounded racist to me, as in "that (black person)". Now, I do NOT believe that McCain meant it that way or is a racist at all. In fact, I assumed it was an expression from the olden days that he trotted out. But, wow what a mistake to say it! He is catching a ton of flack about it today. Rightly so. Even if it was an honest mistake, a slip of the tongue, an old expression lost in translation here in the present, McCain should not had said it.

As for the aesthetics of the debate, the audience, for most of the event, looked like frightened hostages. They came across as people who were forced to dress in fancy clothes against their will and told not to make a sound. They loosened up a bit as the debate went on but overall looked very uncomfortable. Tom Brokaw, as I expected asked weak questions. Why would he give multiple choice, yes or no questions to complicated issues? Why insist that the candidates prioritize certain issues? And why constantly complain about the time. None of it contributed to the substance of the discussion and Brokaw looked silly and small doing that.

Overall, it was the best of both worlds for me. Barack Obama really looked on his game. He was informed, articulate, energetic and enthusiastic. McCain was pretty much the exact opposite of all that. He was bad even for John McCain. I think it is definitely advantage Obama now. There is one more debate to go (right here in New York) and now less than a month until election day. I hope that Obama can continue the momentum he has going right now.

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