Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Instant Analysis – Round 2

Semi-live blogging and random thoughts as the debate goes on…

– If John McCain is supposed to be the one who does his best in the town hall format, then I really don’t want to see his worst. He looks stiff and uncomfortable, and for those of you who had the drinking game based on the number of times he said “my friends,” try aspirin and lots of water for your hangover. Barack Obama, on the other hand, looks relaxed and comfortable.

– Did John McCain really suggest that the government get into the real estate business by buying up bad mortgages? Isn’t that socialism? And why is it okay for the government to get into the real estate business but not health care?

– So far I have not heard either candidate answer the questions directly. They give it a cursory glance, pull up their stump speech file based on the general area of the question (taxes, energy, entitlements) and then go off on that.

– My goodness, has Tom Brokaw’s voice always been that annoying?

– I’m really not sure that Mr. McCain realizes how whiny he sounds. And borderline cranky. By the way, it’s really not a good idea for a Republican to bring up Herbert Hoover. Stick with Ronald Reagan… except that Reagan raised taxes more than Hoover did.

– Mr. Obama seems to be most comfortable talking about health care and the economy; not so sure-footed on taxes. That’s good; health care and the economy are tops on the hit parade of what people care about.

– Mr. McCain is flat out lying about both his health care plan and that of Mr. Obama’s. Put that on top of his lies about taxes, and he’s doubled down.

– Mr. Obama has a nice way of saying that Mr. McCain is lying: “There’s a lot of stuff out there” wherein “stuff” = bullshit.

– Yes, health care is a right.

– If I drank and went with the “my friends” drinking game, I’d be shitfaced by now, and it’s only 10:00 EDT.

– John McCain just can’t look at Barack Obama. He’s also referred to him as “that one.” Just plain rude.

– Mr. McCain says he will bring our troops home from Iraq “with honor.” But he doesn’t say how or when. He also doesn’t explain why it was a good idea to go to Iraq in the first place.

– Nice comeback for Mr. Obama to Mr. McCain’s refrain of “Obama doesn’t understand”: “He’s right; I don’t understand why we invaded a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.”

– So far I haven’t heard a truly original question from the audience or the Internets. Who writes this stuff?

– Note to Mr. McCain: don’t knock Mr. Obama’s Pakistan policy when your own vice presidential candidate agrees with it.

– Mr. McCain: “I know how to get Osama bin Laden.” Really? Why are you keeping it a secret? You couldn’t have tipped off the Pentagon in October 2001?

– Try as he might to the contrary, Mr. McCain sounds like a Reagan-era cold warrior. Oh, wait… he is.

– Lob question about Iran attacking Israel.

– Oooh, a zen question: what don’t you know and how will you learn it? In spite of it, Mr. Obama gets it right before launching into his closing statement. Mr. McCain: “what I don’t know is what’s unexpected.” Huh?

– Questions that didn’t get asked: How would you help fix the public schools? What is your stand on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage? Immigration?

First impression: Barack Obama won on on both substance and style. Mr. McCain seemed edgy and at times about to lose his cool, which he quickly stoked with a fall back on “my friends.”

I’ll have more in the morning. Meanwhile, feel free to tell me what you thought.