26 September 2008

John McCain Wins First Debate

You can always tell one side has won a debate when their opponent's spin doctors start using phrases like, "we held our own." Unfortunately, while John McCain won the first presidential debate he did not deliver a decisive maneuver politically equivalent to the figure-four leg lock.

McCain owned foreign policy. While Barack Obama consistently strummed the two-chords of "we should have never gone into Iraq" and "we took our eye off Afghanistan," McCain boom-boomed back on his big bass drum with "the next President isn't going to decide on going to Iraq but how to win there" and "you can't win in Afghanistan if you lose in Iraq."

The Republican candidate also scored points concerning Obama's idiotic initial response to Russia's invasion of Georgia, when the Democrat implied that it was equally Georgia's fault. Yep, apparently those Georgian's were asking to get their buttskis kicked by having an oil corridor that Russia wanted within their internationally recognized border. And then McCain went a critical step further by warning the world about the Ukraine situation -- a point I'm glad he brought to the fore for all Americans and sincerely hope that it did not sail by the viewing audience (especially the Russians . . . we've got our eye on you, Vlad).

Predictably, Obama tried to recapture the chanting response he received in Berlin with his call to make America more beloved in the world. But the call sounded hollow when his threat to unilaterally strike militarily inside Pakistan surfaced. And Obama's call died to a whispered when McCain pointed out that a face-to-face meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions "is dangerous. It isn’t just naive, it’s dangerous." (Though I did find it kinda cute when Obama petulantly insisted that Kissenger agreed with him and not McCain.)

Barack Obama's best moments came early in the debate, when the discussion revolved around the economy and the impending bailout of those Wall Street mortgage brothels. It wasn't the substance of Obama's message (clear - defibrillator - clear) but the practiced sincerity with which he appeared to feel the pain of hurting Americans when he promised them better health, better education, better fuel, secure housing, and rich people's money all while vowing to cut their taxes. Hell, if I hadn't been paying attention before this debate I might have even believed him.

McCain made some strong points during this part of the debate as well, just not strong enough for my liking. I felt like that kid on the bench, "put me into the game coach. Put me in" as I watch him soft-peddle what is a much stronger economic plan than Obama's desired return to the Carter years. I just hope Mac was sandbagging, waiting for the "official" economic debate to say some of the things I want him to say like:

  • "Yes, I will consider a spending freeze on every non-essential government agency. Senator Obama claims that these are desperate economic times but he believes that we can succeed by trimming away spending with a scalpel. Well, I say breakout the chainsaw and lets cut government down to size."

  • "We do have the second largest corporate tax rate in the world and Senator Obama doesn't want to cut it, in fact, he wants to increase it! [looking at the camera] Now if your company has to choose between saving your job or moving some work elsewhere to become more profitable through lower taxes, which do you think they will choose? If Senator Obama becomes president you'd better brush up on your Chinese."

  • "Both Senator Obama and I support a bailout, but our strategy . . . not tactic . . . our strategy is very different. My plan calls for debt reimbursement by the receivers while the plan his side called for wants the taxpayers to pay for it all. I guess I want to protect the people who pay my salary and he wants to protect the people who pay for his campaign."

  • "Energy independence is a critical cog in making our economy strong. Senator Obama wants to develop alternative fuel sources in ten years but to get us there plans to drill where there is no oil and support nuclear energy resources only when they are unfeasible. Well, unless Senator Obama is also figuring leprechauns into his energy plan, you can't get there from here."

UPDATE: I thought I'd add part of a comment to this post that I received on RightMichigan from John Galt. I just love his line: "I don't know a single person who works for poor people."

I wanted Mac to say "I don't know a single person who works for poor people. I don't know a single person who works for someone on the 'bottom' like Obama calls his reform plan. Punishing the companies you work for, and punishing small business owners will make things worse. If you think your job is in jeopardy today, if you think times are tough - raise taxes on the people who employ Americans. You'll see just how insecure things will get."


  1. Anonymous said...
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  2. Freadom said...

    Yes. Well said.

  3. Freadom said...

    I mean, what Khaki said was well said.

  4. Khaki Elephant said...

    Unfortunately I had to delete the first comment that was dropped on the post: it was the type of "brave" profanity-laden rant we've all witnessed from that fact-deprived creeper "Anonymous." But I will summarise it's content for those of you who missed it:

    George Bush is to blame for everything and Republicans like to have sex with animals.

  5. Anthony Palmer said...

    I agree that McCain probably won the debate, but he lost in that even though this debate was about his strong suit, it won't catapult him in the polls. Obama did well enough to meet the competency threshold. This means Obama will probably remain ahead for the next 7-10 days until the next debate.

    And let me ask you this, since I know you are big on Palin. Did you find it strange that she wasn't on TV last night spinning for McCain after the debate? Biden was spinning for Obama, but Palin was nowhere to be found. Has she impressed you, or are you feeling disappointed?

  6. Khaki Elephant said...

    Anthony, I agree. No "bounce" for McCain on this one.

    And I am very disappointed in what the McCain team has done to Sarah Palin. They are so concerned with her "staying on message" and preventing a possible gaffe that they won't let her take to the streets and be herself. She could be a huge asset to the campaign but instead has become just a pretty face. And I expect that she is even more disappointed than I am.