September 26th, 2008


Suspended Animation

McCain's incredibly stupid last few days has pushed me two or three notches away from voting for him. Maybe he'll redeem himself in the debate, maybe he'll just make himself look more stupid.

By going to DC, Obama didn't win any points with me either, but his staying the course on being at the debates didn't lose him any.

Not So Great Debat

Caught most of the debate. On the radio from 6:15-6:30, the rest on TV. Both candidates did well, I think. The moderator was not in control and both men insisted on the last word when it was not their turn to have it. Obama went wildly off-topic onto tangents a couple of times, McCain did not take the bait. McCain over-used the "Obama doesn't understand" line, but it was cute that he threw Barak's DNC "he doesn't get it" back in his face.

I think McCain showed hugely more depth of knowledge of foreign affairs issues, but Obama is a quick study and has picked up more than just surface info.

Something McCain said in passing was perhaps the most important point against Obama's readiness to lead. Obama mentioned that the subcommittee he is chair of always met as a committee of the whole, and shrugged off direct responsibility for bad moves it had made. McCain let fly that he always led his subcommittee meetings when he was chairman. Seems like a minor point, but what it says to me is Obama is content to bow to his committee chairman rather than take full responsibility for his assignment. Not very Presidential.

Neither man came off as a wacko or too young or too old or too short or too tall to take this ride. Both were articulate, paid attention to the questions and each other's answers, and neither one tripped over words more than the other. Both men misrepresented each other's position about the same number of times, with about the same degree of severity. Both stuck by the theme that nobody can explain their whole record and platform completely as half of a 90-minute chat.

The moderator (Is Jim Lehrer related to Tom Lehrer? No, I think not) did something exceedingly stupid for the first half hour. He kept chastising the candidates for not looking at each other and talking directly to each other. The way the cameras were placed and the lecterns angled, the only intelligent thing for both men to do was look into the camera in front of him. Looking at the other candidate would have appeared too aggressive. And anyone who has been on a debate team knows the debater is talking to the judges, not to his opponent. This is a debate, Mr.Lehrer, not a boxing match. The audience on the other side of the TV cameras is who the candidates need to talk to, not each other.

Maybe Jim has been on the cocktail party circuit too long. Come to think of it, that might be interesting. Put the two men in someone's crowded livingroom, equipped with body mikes, give them each a martini, insert the moderator to complete the triangle, and just let them argue the issues that way for 90 minutes.

Biden and Palin, of course, would not find that appropriate for their debate. The would be more comfortable mud wrestling.

For those of you who are keeping score at home, I'm still undecided.

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