Wednesday, October 15, 2008


[My notes as I took them.]

First impressions. McCain looks weird -- eyebrows jumping, eyes wide, and blinking a hundred times a minute. Where's a body language expert when you need one.

McCain begins the bumbling immediately, speaking of Freddie Mae (sic) and the decline in home ownership (he meant home prices or values; the rise in home ownership is the problem).

Obama promises a tax cut for 95% of Americans, and him saying it makes it true. Never mind that less than 95% of Americans pay taxes in the first place. I don't understand why McCain never points this out, since it makes the claim mathematically impossible.

McCain is the worst speaker of all time.

As poorly as McCain made the point about Joe the Plumber, Obama's argument that the wealthy "can afford to pay a little more" is thoroughly unAmerican and ought to scare more people than it seems to, but 95% of Americans might prefer to stick it to the Man.

On the deficit. . . What are you going to cut back on?

(McCain should say: We know from previous comments that Obama will cut back on defense.)

Obama: Americans are going to have to curtail their spending. (It's not my problem, it's your problem. So I can't be blamed when you fail.)

Obama: artful dodge.

Follow up: Which programs will you cut?

Obama: The ones that should be cut. More artful dodge.

(McCain should point out that Obama didn't answer the question tonight but has answered it before.)

McCain: Spending freeze.

Follow up: What will you cut?

McCain: Marketing assistance program. (Whatever that is.) Subsidies for ethanol. Tariff on imported sugar based ethanol from Brazil. Sweetheart deals. Line item veto. Earmarks and pork barrel bills.

Obama: No across the board spending freeze. Gotta have a lengthy partisan review first. Which will begin after I get all those government worker votes.

McCain: "I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run 4 years ago." (Should have added, "when Sen. Kerry got beat by proposing all the same liberal policies that you are proposing now.")

McCain: When have you ever stood for something?

Bob: The campaign has turned nasty. Will you say those things to his face?

(McCain should say: The truth must prevail.)

McCain: Obama ducked my request for a dozen town hall meetings. Had he accepted, the tone could be different.

(Should say: It's not whether the statements are negative but whether they are true. And then repeat the litany.)

Second mention of Joe the Plumber, to good effect.

McCain: Note that Obama did not repudiate John Lewis' comments.

Obama is a smooth talking dodger. On Fox the Dodgers will lose. Everywhere else this dodger will win. Like Clinton, he is admired for his ability to not answer a question.

McCain sticks up for the "great Americans" at his rallies, and points out that his supporters are far more civil in general than the rabid lefties at Obama's rallies.

Obama calls to end the character smears. (Because he has the most to lose.)

McCain responds with mentions of Ayers and ACORN.

Obama has a tell. Every time McCain hits him squarely with accurate barbs, Obama smiles broadly and looks down. It says "you are correct and I know it."

Obama responds to his relationship with "Mr. Ayers" (that was a long time ago, there is no formal relationship today) and ACORN (they have nothing to do with us). Bob, to his credit, lets this go on a bit. McCain asks the press for full disclosure. Yeah, good luck with that. Obama resents the implication that "my associations are troubling." Thank you, that is a good way to put it, and yes, they are. And by the amount of time you just spend recasting them, you clearly know that they are damaging if reported honestly.

Who will you bring into government?

Obama begins touting the merits of Joe Biden. Good opportunity to check the game.

McCain is proud of Sarah Palin. (Should say: She's actually done stuff. What has Sen. Obama ever done? All he does is talk.)

Is she qualified?

(Should say: More qualified than he is.)

McCain finally gives examples of Biden's poor judgmetn in the Senate on major policy issues. He points out that Obama answer to everything is to spend more. Good points.

Energy. By how much can we reduce foreign oil imports?

Obama: You can't drill your way out of the problem. (Code for "I don't dare upset the environmentalists.")

(Should say, "But we can try.")

Bob is doing a good job of letting them talk and staying out of the way.

E6, 4-0 Phils, second and third, one out.

McCain wants to increase production. Obama wants to decrease consumption.

Health care.

Maybe I am the only American who doesn't care about this issue. Ballgame. . .

Three errors on Furcal in one inning. 5-0 Phils. I've been listening to the Phillies broadcast because McCarver went on about Furcal's terrific arm in Game 1 or 2 when he made a throwing error on a routine play. McCarver is useless. The Phillies broadcast team, meanwhile, was actually sharing valid insight by discussing how Furcal has a tendency to make the hard plays and blow the easy ones, as he went on to do again tonight, sending his team down the tubes.

Obama: Large businesses "can afford" fines for not complying with his health care mandates. The "average family" wins, and only the big evil corporations pay, as they should, for they are big evil corporations.

Lots of references to Joe the Plumber. I heard him on the radio today and am glad to let him speak for me tomorrow on every station that will have him.

McCain: Obama wants government to decide. I want Joe the Plumber to decide.

Bob: What of abortion and the Supreme Court?

McCain: Let the states decide. I'm a federalist.

McCain: Elections have consequences. I've voted on competence and qualifications. He has voted (no) on ideology. I'll have no litmus test.

Obama: Abortion is a moral issue, so let the courts decide it. My judges will need to be sensitive to the real life issues of average people.

McCain hasn't said "my friends" all night. You CAN teach an old sea dog new tricks!

Education. We spend more and more for ever worse results.

Obama: This has more to do with our economy than anything else. (Except energy, which he said earlier had more to do with our economy than anything else.)

Obama: Early childhood education. (A terrible, terrible idea if you ask me. Kids don't need to be in school at age 3 and 4.)

Obama: Bad results are the parents' fault. (Because it can't be the teachers' fault, they vote for me.)

(Should say: Apply free market principles to education. Tax credits for private tuition.)

McCain: Choice and competition. This is working in New Orleans. (Which is true. Katrina closed all the schools and they are recreating the school system for the better.) Fire sucky teachers. Reward good teachers. Promote Teach for America. (Yes! This is a good program that asks young teachers to give two years out of college to teaching disadvantaged kids.)

Should more federal dollars be directed to the schools?

Obama: Yes. Much more. Bush sucks.

McCain: No. Just spending more money removes the opportunity for creative solutions. We have the most expensive education system in the world and it's not working. It cries out for reform. (And by the way, I'm a reformer. Note I haven't said maverick all night.)

Closing statements.

McCain: These are difficult times. America needs change. No more Bush. I'm a reformer and have broken repeatedly with the GOP. (Not with "my party.") Health care. Education. Government spending. Can you TRUST US as stewards of your money? Examine my record. I've always put Country First, like my daddy and my granddaddy. Vote for me.

Obama: These are tough times. Bush is a big loser. Failed policies of George W. Bush. We need change. You know you can trust me. We need to cut taxes, give health care and college to everyone. Energy. Higher wages for the middle class. It requires everyone to sacrifice and serve. Vote for me, I'm on your side. It's about the children.

McCain left a lot unsaid, as he always does, but he was pretty good tonight. He needed to land some blows without looking desperate and I think he achieved that.

There's your debate in short form.

The big winner was Nike. Joe the Plumber was wearing a Nike t-shirt when he spoke to Obama. Nike somehow manages to be everywhere.


Anonymous said...

(Apologies for length . . .)

I think I finally figured out why some conservative talking heads keep naysaying McCain's debate performances.

After watching the debate last night (which was a clear win for McCain), I took (as is my habit on such occasions) a quick tour of the three MSM networks as well as Fox news in order to see what their pundits were saying.

On that trip, I found Charles Krauthammer on Fox. Brit Hume introduced him and then Krauthammer spoke, saying that by any objective measure the debate was a draw, which (according to him) meant that Obama won.

Upon hearing this, my blood pressure rose slightly. Why? Because Krauthammer could have just tape recorded himself from the first two debates and had Fox play the tape in place of his actually showing up for the segment. You see, he said almost the exact same thing at those debates as well.

At the first debate, he said that it was a draw -- but look at how he interprets a "draw". He said that McCain won on "points", but that since Obama didn't vomit up his lunch and soil his tie on national television (alright -- he might have actually said that "since Obama didn't make any errors"), that meant that Obama actually won.

O-kaaaaay . . .

Then, after the second debate, he said essentially the same thing. Now, after the third debate, he again repeated this rather strange bit of "analysis".


So, with my irritation level increased, I turned over to ABC. There, I happened upon the middle of their analysis. George Stepa-napa-lapa (as I call him) was actually making one of the few insightful and accurate comments that I heard anywhere last night. He said that McCain's performance was strong and would probably have, at the least, the effect of bringing back to his side any conservatives who may have been wavering.

At that point, Diane Sawyer then asked a question of George Will. Although I had not heard his analysis, I could tell from her question that Will thought McCain had not done well.

Sawyer asked Will, "George, what could McCain have said that would have made you feel as though he had an effective night?"

Upon being asked the question, Will momentarily had a deer-in-the-headlights look . . . he then began to stutter . . . "Uhhh . . . well . . ." before finally admitting that "I don't think there's anything he could have said, because I think it is too late."

Amazing! Will admitted that it didn't matter what McCain said . . . Will's "analysis" was going to be that "Obama won" no matter what McCain said! In fact, by Will's logic, McCain shouldn't have even bothered to show up!


By now my blood pressure had increased by a few more points. I flicked back over to Fox to see who they had on now. Unfortunately, I was greeted by the bored gaze of Krauthammer as he continued to ramble on about how McCain had not won. In the course of this monologue, he, too, let a truth slip out. "Even if Reagan had been at this debate," Krauthammer pontificated, "he wouldn't have been able to do anything to Obama."

Hearing that, I stared at the screen in disbelief. Krauthammer revealed the same bias that Will had shown: it didn't matter what McCain said -- Krauthammer was convinced that Obama had "won" even before the debate began!


My disgust and puzzlement at the comments of these two stayed with me overnight. Then, today, I went to National Review's on-line blog "The Corner", where I read some post-debate reaction from several of the columnists, including Rich Lowry.

Reading Lowry's analysis, I was again reminded how I am more and more disliking each utterance and/or writing from him. Lowry's basic point was that McCain didn't do enough, blah blah blah.


I continued to read a few more of the post-debate postings at NRO and my dismay increased as I noticed that many of them were downplaying McCain's performance. I began to ask myself if I had watched a different debate than the one they had. Surely that must be the reason for their -- frankly -- idiotic analyses of the debate.


But then, sometime after lunch today, it dawned on me: I finally figured out why these conservative commentators have consistently downplayed McCains debate performances:


That is the only possible explanation for the repeated, often logic-defying "analyses" that these conservative pundits have provided during the course of the debates.


I began to ask myself just why it is that they don't want McCain to win. After thinking it through, I came up with the following explanations:

* They don't view McCain as a "true conservative"

* They feel that a McCain presidency would forever damage "pure" conservatism and would turn the Republican party over to the more moderate/liberal elements within it.

* They feel that if McCain loses, the moderate/liberal wing of the Republican party will lose its influence in the party, thus allowing the "pure" conservatives to re-take control of the party.

* They feel that an Obama presidency would -- with its socialist actions -- so alienate voters that these voters will flock to the now-under-conservative-control Republican party, and that this conservative-led Republican party will -- in four years -- usher in a new Golden Age of conservative governance as Republicans retake the White House, the Senate, and the House in a massive repudiation of Obama socialism.


I have come to believe that this is what they really think. It's the only thing that explains their inane analysis of the debates.

But I also think that they are wrong.

I think they are kidding themselves if they think that in four years there will be a major anti-socialism vote. Why do I say so?

Consider the following . . . I would ask those conservatives how they are going to overcome the Demon-rats (who may end up with control of the White House, Senate, and House -- including a possible filibuster-proof majority in the Senate) when they:

* make Washington, DC the nation's 51st state, thereby adding two more virtually permanent Demon-rat Senate seats and adding another virtually permanent Demon-rat House seat.

* re-institute the unfair "Fairness Doctrine" for the public airwaves, making it virtually impossible for conservative talk radio such as Rush, Hannity, Levin, and others to remain on the air.

* impose severe restrictions on Internet speech, thus having the effect of limiting the power and influence of the conservative blogosphere.

* grant amnesty to the tens of millions of illegal aliens in our nation, thereby adding tens of millions of new Demon-rat voters to the increasingly comprised voter registration rolls.

* continue to funnel tax dollars to ACORN in an effort to allow it to destroy the integrity and fabric of our electoral system.

* appoint radical leftists to the federal judiciary -- not only the Supreme Court, but also to the hundreds of other federal judgeships -- from which these radicals can impose the above-mentioned restrictions on Internet speech, amnesty for illegals, etc.


That is how I see it. I am much interested to hear your reactions and thoughts about this . . .

Tom said...

I'm sorry to see the debate season end because I enjoy your recaps. I enjoy them much more than the genuine article. I wish you could sit on his shoulder at these things.

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