Thursday, October 16, 2008

Episode 12: Fireworks! Finally!


Wow! Is it possible Obama and McCain kept their energy bridled in anticipation for the final fight?! This is the debate I was waiting for. Frankly, every 1-on-1 debate should be in this format. The first debate lent itself toward rambling. The second debate was an utter failure because it wasn’t really a town hall format. But sitting down, and arguing their points of view, now THAT is how you debate. For the first time in this debate process, both candidates clearly demonstrated their points of view. And now, it is up to the voter to decided which point of view.

Some pundits believed that Obama was beating out the clock. However, if anyone has been following Barack Obama’s campaign, it is very clear that he has been advocating the same principles for bolstering the middle class, creating universal healthcare, making drastic improvement of the education system, and making college affordable, among others. So yes, Obama really had nothing else to do, but reiterate his political philosophy tonight.

John McCain on the other hand, had a lot to answer for. He has dug himself a six-footer, and he had to spend time plugging it up. Between Bill Ayers, ACORN, healthcare, economy, his picking Sarah Palin, John McCain has created his own hostile environment. He had no choice but to be fiery and unleash the fighter’s spirit. To this end, McCain succeeded. John McCain did exactly what he needed to do.

However, McCain’s demeanor shifted drastically as the debate progressed. He was shifting in his chair, and blinking, and combative, and angry. He has proven that he cannot keep his cool. An important quality that makes a good leader is grace under fire. Bill Clinton was incredibly cool, and life in the 90s was good. G.W. Bush is an ineffective communicator and very shifty and uncomfortable in the limelight, and he is arguably the worst American president. McCain does not look like a dunce on camera, but he truly lives up to the “hothead” McCain moniker, which could have very negative ramifications in the global political sphere.

“Senator Obama, I am not President Bush!” What an awesome line, delivered to perfection. It had the right sting and the right tone, but it didn’t come off as condescending. But Obama’s response was more impressive. And it wasn’t what Obama said the impressed me, it was the non-verbal cues. He absorb attacks without flinching, carefully chooses his words, and then follows up. This is leadership defined! It takes a very special person to be able to exhibit such patience under fire. There was one moment however when Obama’s resolve flickered somewhat, and then returned to normal, when Obama discussed the angry mobs yelling “terrorist” and “kill him.” Repudiate attacks on McCain’s healthcare plan showed on the commercials? Are you kidding me? That is a weak argument. It is not abnormal to attack each other’s plans to convince Americans one plan is better. Ads that incite nuts in the crowd to say despicable things is clearly out of bounds.

One topic where McCain completely failed was on abortion rights. That was an ugly finish. I am pro choice, and I also believe that the third trimester ban, except in the case where the mother’s health is in danger is important. It should be a woman’s right to question her morality on the issues, analyze the health risks, and with a her family and doctor make difficult choice. John McCain’s mocking of health risks to the mother was incredibly insensitive, and he will regret that statement in the morning.

What does this mean for the rest of the campaign? Well there are a few things to consider now. Virginia is now leaning Obama, with the latest polls showing him up by 10. This effectively means Obama wins the election with 277 electoral votes. If that lead holds up or increases, it is statistically impossible for McCain to win if the polls are accurately reflected on election day. Even if Obama doesn’t get Virginia, McCain needs to go 8 for 8 in the swing states. I strongly doubt he will win New Mexico and Pennsylvania.

For Obama, he needs to steadily continue on. He needs to continue to focus on the middle class, jobs, healthcare, and education. Essentially, he does not need to change his game plan. Throughout the 20 months that Obama has been campaigning, his steady and consistent message have been turning people to team Obama. The true snowball effect.

McCain however is in an incredibly difficult position. He is losing bad, and uphill battle may be the understatement of the year. McCain’s trek to the presidency is damn near a vertical climb with no ledges on which to grip himself. The factor that destroyed his campaign may be the only way to save it; he must change his message to lay out plans for the middle class. It is interesting that he refuses to use the word “middle class.” This was, is, and will continue to be a problem. Blue lens bias aside, I just can’t see how McCain can make up ground. The fact is, McCain supports trickle-down economics. Trickle-down economics does not work. He loses the economy debate, therefore he loses the election.

But wow, this debate was the fireworks show I think we’ve all have been waiting for! As a Long Island native, it is no surprise that this debate was so great… that’s how we do on Strong Island.
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1 comments: on "Episode 12: Fireworks! Finally!"

Tara said...

I almost sat down to watch this with my upstairs neighbors but that "I am not president bush" line turned my stomach and made me get up and leave. I don't know how McCain thinks he's not Bush when they both do that terribly obnoxious smirk thing which never ever leaves their face. How can someone vote for someone who debates like a smug, know-it-all 15 year old?

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