The Preview. Glad Mc-too-busy-saving-the-world-to-appear-on-David-Letterman was able to make it. McCain's theatrics leading up to the debate itself were high drama. Unfortunately, trying to position yourself as Savior of Everything came off as more than a bit flaky, impulsive, and an exhibition of poor judgment rather than "maverick" or "agent of change". Four snaps for Obama's comment that presidents have to multi-task. Clear winner: Obama.
The Hallmark Moment. Obama lopes across the stage like he's f'ing Cary Grant and extends his hand in genuine friendship or at least geuine sportsmanship. By God, if he spoke with a British accent, I'd be throwing my thong up on the stage. McCain looks like he's being forced to kiss fat Aunt Helen who smells like rose water and antiseptic. Ok, I get that his arms are restricted, but is that why he can't look Obama in the face? He reminds me of Napoleon. McCain has never looked older. Obama has never looked more like the Young Turk. Clear winner of the shake off: Obama.
Opening Volley: the economic crisis.
"Gentlemen, at this very moment tonight, where do you stand on the financial recovery plan?"Clearly, neither man understands the question. A good starting point would be to summarize the financial recovery plan. D'uh! Either they haven't read the plan or they don't want to be pinned down. Obama: oversight, collateral for taxpayers, no golden parachutes, help for homeowners. D-disappointment meter: off the charts.
MCCAIN PLAYS THE KENNEDY CARD! Yellow flag on the field! 5 yard penalty and down over.
McCain: When he began by saying "we're not talking about failure of institutions on Wall Street. We're talking about failures on Main Street" and then paused, I thought "Holy Mackeral, is he actually going to blame this on us? You know, the same good people we grow so good in our small towns? I feared this debate was over in the first four minutes. But he turned it around by talking about bi-partisanship (which caused my bullshit meter to top out after his partisanship leading up to this debate). Ok, I don't remember Dwight Eisenhower or the Normandy Invasion and I have no f'ing idea what the story about the two letters was supposed to represent. Does he think that GWB should resign? The entire Repub party in Congress? *head scratch* He had nothing else of substance to say except that this is the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end for the American economy. What a tool.
Review: I expected someone to offer a clear, concise reasoning about why the American taxpayer should shoulder this burden versus, oh I don't know, the people who got us into this mess. Obama gets brownie points for getting McCain to use his dichotomy of Wall Street and Main Street. Clear winner of the economic crisis: The Republican Party and GWB who are getting off scott-free for creating then ignoring the problem over 8 years while their donors got richer. The O-lion missed a great opportunity to pick off the oldest in the herd here. Why not a little tasteful jab at McCain's shenanigans over the past week? Mewonders if Obama has the killer's instinct.
"...are there fundamental differences between your approach and Senator Obama's approach to what you would do as president to lead this country out of the financial crisis?"McSnowjob: the economic crisis is the result of Republican excesses, earmarks, bear DNA.
"As president of the United States, I want to assure you, I've got a pen. This one's kind of old. I've got a pen, and I'm going to veto every single spending bill that comes across my desk. I will make them famous. You will know their names."Back away! Quickly! He has a pen! And if the ink hasn't dried up, he's going to veto every single spending bill that comes across his desk. Yes, government will grind to a halt. The man is so old/unprepared/confused/pissed off, he has managed to f-up his best talking point.
Obama: Why oh why, my lovely, did you not nail his ass to the wall for this answer? Oh that I could have whispered in his ear at this moment. Sometimes, my darling, you need to speak forcefully. You needed to get angry here, not rebut with complete calmness. This is not a problem of Congressional spending! This problem is a Republican fiasco caused by deregulation and Republican-sponsored raping of the American worker. I wanted to see your little bony hand pound on the lectern. A little lesson in economic theory delivered in a silver bullet to the heart would have finished that little man off. Barack, Barack, Barack. If you keep this up, I'm sliding my thong back on and crossing my legs. Clear winner: McCain for surviving to play another round.
Oooh, oooh, oooh. McCain brings up and lies about Obama's tax plan. I felt that Obama should have said things like "John, that's just plain wrong. Here is my plan...." He did a mediocre job of setting the story straight. Clear winner: Obama by default. McCain concedes that his tax plan is Bush's tax plan, a proven failure. And that he's not Miss Congeniality. Seriously. Does this dude have a beauty-queen fetish? It's kind of scary.
"As president, as a result of whatever financial rescue plan comes about and the billion, $700 billion, whatever it is it's going to cost, what are you going to have to give up, in terms of the priorities that you would bring as president of the United States, as a result of having to pay for the financial rescue plan?"Obama: reasoned answer. Don't know what the budget will look like, can't predict revenues. We have to concentrate on health care, energy independence, education, and infrastructure. I love a man with good talking points. Contrast this with:
MCcain: I'd remove ethanol subsidies? Huh? You are going to pay for the bailout with ethanol subsidies? And why ethanol? No explanation. Do you want gas prices to go up for the American public? As for defense spending, I have no idea what a cost-plus contract is. Demerit points for using vernacular. I'm not sure who at Boeing or the DoD that he "fixed" or "killed" or sent to jail but he completely lost me here. Here's what I heard: "I'm a daft old man who thought my partisan tactics would work and I thought I really wasn't going to have to debate tonight so now I'm just rambling incoherently."
And then he did it. He shook me out of my apathy with two words: SPENDING FREEZE.
Spending freeze? For everything except defense, veterans affairs, and entitlement programs? No infrastructure? No more paid holidays for federal workers? No more tours at the Washington monument? No more money for NSF, NEH, NEA? No more Department of Energy? You are going to shut down 90% of government? This man is daft! Clear winner: Obama. Why is McCain still breathing. God man, do I have to slay him myself?
This is about the point when D walked away from the TV in frustration and fixed dinner.
Fade in: Is McCain really talking about taking care of our veterans? After voting against veterans issues for years? Why is Obama letting him slide? Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrghhhhhhhhh. I must also admit that I got an ewwwwwwwww moment thinking of the Bush Administration engaging in an "orgy of spending". Trying to erase that mental image of Cheney wearing a gay motorcycle getup smacking George Bush's ass with a riding crop.
And on that note, I'm taking a mental break. More later.