Friday, October 17, 2008

Strike Three! You're Out!

I had planned to write some grand, lengthy piece about the third and final presidential debate but work and life conspired against me and rather than wait any longer than I already have, allow me to simply toss a few, seemingly unconnected thoughts and impressions your way:

• I think Schaeffer did the best of any of the moderators — he was fair, demanding and specific.

• Ah, the oft extolled Joe the Plumber. McCain hung his final presidential debate hopes on an Ohio plumber his campaign staffers never even bothered to vet. Turns out that the insta-celebrity Joseph Wurzelbacher, someone McCain said would have to pay higher taxes under Obama, in fact makes no where near the $250,000 a year mark, meaning he would actually receive a tax cut if Obama were elected president. Not only that, Joe owes years of back taxes, he’s not even a licensed plumber, and there’s some question as to whether he is even registered to vote!

• I liked that Obama came out and said that Americans have been living beyond their means and that is one of the main reasons we are in this fiscal crisis. Republicans love to talk about personal responsibility. And very often they’re right. We need to hear more of this and probably will...after Obama is safely in the Oval Office.

• I’ve been surprised at the Republican talking points these past few weeks. Despite being lambasted for saying that seeing Russia across the Bering Strait qualifies as foreign policy experience, Sarah Palin continued to talk about it in interviews and on the stump. To a much smaller, but equally baffling degree, McCain continued to harp on the $3M “overhead projector,” (to the ire of scientists everywhere) obviously completely unaware that it was not a projector of the sort that are used in school classrooms, but a kind used to power planetariums.

• McCain’s best moment came when he said, “I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago.” Nice. Not true. But nice.

• McCain’s answers were full of half truths and non-sequiturs. When confronted for his inflamatory ads, McCain seemed to imply that none of them would have been necessary had Obama only agreed to his suggestion of town hall meetings, as if the two things have anything to do with each other.

• After weeks of vicious attacks, McCain had the gall to frame himself as the victim, whining that Obama has been silent while he bravely repudiated anything untruthful leveled against his opponent. McCain hasn’t repudiated a thing! His running mate is the worst offender of them all. And he categorically endorsed those who came to his rallies, including those now being investigated by the Secret Service for threatening the life of a presidential candidate and the guy who beat up a reporter just yesterday.

• McCain claimed Obama has spent more on negative ads than anyone else in history. That’s true, but only because Obama has spent more on ALL advertising than anyone else in history. And Obama wasn’t making things up when he said that 100% of McCain’s recent ads have been negative! Independent fact checking groups broke that one well before the debate.

• You know things are bad when Ayers constitutes McCain’s core debate argument. It is the last nail in his coffin. Obama simply and easily dismissed him and the charge.

• ACORN deserves to be prosecuted harshly if found guilty of voter fraud. On that McCain and I totally agree. Still, it’s funny that McCain spoke praiseworthily at one of ACORN's events just this summer. Plus, let’s keep things in perspective — the allegations are more registration fraud than voter fraud. If ACORN has done what McCain claims, they would have to produce tens of thousands of bodies with matching IDs on Election Day, and that was never going to happen.

• Why does McCain continue to smile like a madman, blink like he’s communicating in secret code and otherwise contort his face into the most off-putting grimaces? Almost every four years there is always the candidate who comes off as petulant and childish. It was Gore in 2000. This time around it’s McCain. Why doesn’t someone on his staff call him on it?

• Yes, Senator McCain, we have gotten to know Gov. Palin, despite your best efforts to hide her, and obviously we don’t like what we see. The once great hope of the GOP has an approval rating slipping into the high 30s! Practically the closest McCain got to talking about his running mate in these debates was an autism comment. A (respectable) desperate niche shoutout if every I heard one.

• Speaking of Palin, Obama is taking a sheet from her debate book and talking directly at the camera more than he ever has before. As for McCain, I guess we should just be happy that he is even looking at Obama!

• Obama seemed to always be a step ahead of McCain, anticipating every comment. McCain meanwhile came off as surprised and angry when confronted. McCain was always on the defensive, even when he was on the offensive. He always seemed to jab while Obama sat serenely by. McCain was like the kid who is punching furiously at the air in front of him, while the older, nonplused kid holds his head an arm’s length away.

• The inevitable abortion question: I don’t think McCain delivered the simple, knockout punch religious conservatives were looking for. Certainly not like he did at Saddleback. Obama is realistic, McCain is idealistic. I admire idealism. I am pro-life. But McCain’s pie in the sky pandering is nonsense.

It no longer matters who appealed to the base. Who managed to reach the great middle wins the day...and the next four years. McCain may have been feisty on conservative issues, but was he centrist enough? No.

There are now only 18 days left before we vote for our next president! Wednesday night was McCain’s last, best shot. It was also strike three for the Republican. Scientific and non-scientific polls overwhelmingly assert yet another Obama victory. It’s a clean sweep for Obama.


Anonymous Matthew Delahunt (POD) said...

Funny how you criticize the indiscretions of the ordinary Joe "The Plummer" yet your intellectual laziness prevents you from making the same criticisms of Obama's past.

How unfortunate, sad and pathetic your blindness for the support of Obama. I pity you, my dear friend. I hate writing this... I really do.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Brandon said...

Criticize the indiscretions of the ordinary Joe "The Plummer"?

Did Obama owe back taxes? Did he practice in the Senate without a license? Did he never register to vote?

I'm not attacking good old ordinary Joe, Matt! It's McCain vetters I'm attacking!

10:50 AM  
Blogger Rhonda said...

I thought McCain came off as petulant whereas Obama was calm, cool, collected and stuck to the issues - except for when he had to answer McCain's continued harping on the same old crap.

11:26 AM  

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