Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Presidential Debate #2

Been a week since I posted anything...things are busy in the academic calendar.

Watched the debate last night, such as it was. I did not think there was any clear winner, though some of the focus groups that certain news organizations had set up seemed to lean McCain's way.

I did not like the format at all. The questions, I thought were predictable. They were questions of regular people who aren't paying much atetntion until now, so we wore over old ground again. Too much stuff that has already been heard.

Sen McCain's "maverick" proposal was good political theatre, whether it is good policy, I don't know. I thought we were essentially doing what he proposed, except instead of buying bad mortagages, we are buying bad paper. What difference to the financial markets that would make, i wonder. Could Secy Paulson do that with the 700B he already has?

On the atmospherics, I thought neither candidate did a great job of "connecting." This was supposed to be McCain's strength. As Chris Matthews (I think) predicted, there would be vet in the audience who would get to ask a question and sure enough, a CPO did, and Sen McCain acted exactly as the pundit other words, predictable. Later, I noticed, that CPO speaking comfortably with Sen Obama after the debate was over.

Two excellent questions: health care a right, privilege, or responsibility. Sen McCain did not hesitate and said responsibility (though I wondered what that really meant..) while Sen Obama, without hesitation, said right. And then the audience member who asked is health care a commodity? Neither candidate directly answered the question...but Sen McCain's answer was a clear "yes" to that question. Sen Obama's was more hedging (as appropriate to his view of it being a right) but certainly doesn't embrace the idea that health care is (or should be) a ocmmodity.

More on atmospherics: I think one of the punidts I was switching between last night noted that Sen Obama has a nice smile. Indeed, and I hear many women, including white middle aged women, what a good looking man he is. And he is. Sen McCain, though when he was young, perhaps was a good looking man..(seems most young men in uniform look good), is an older man and while he may be in good shape, I don't think many would agree that he is a good looking man...I mean, compare to Ronald Reagan, for instance. Indeed, I kept thinking that last night about Sen Obama...he is Reaganesque is many, many ways. And while I didn't care for that about him, I did say, I wish he was "on our side."

I don't know what to make of Sen McCain's "this one" comment. I think this is his sense of humor which tends to be sarcastic. Sarah Palin could pull that off and no one would think anything negative about her. Sen MCCain doesn't look Presidential when he does that.

Overall, as I said above, no winner last night. A draw, which means a win for Obama because he did nothing to turn the trends which seem to support him, while Sen McCain needed to do something. He tried with his bold suggestion for baling out homeowners with bad mortgages, but that will anger his base, which he absolutely needs to have any chance to win.

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