"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The First Presidential Debate

Well, the first Presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain has ended. In my view, the debate ended in a tie. Which is bad for McCain who needed a clear victory in what was supposed to be his strongest area, foreign policy.

The basic theme of the debate for McCain is that Obama doesn't know anything and doesn't have the experience. For Obama the theme was McCain is advocating four more years of Bush policies. In nether case was a real argument made to really discount those accusations either.

Some ideas I would have liked to have heard is both candidates advocating the Line-Item Veto. Both talked about cutting earmarks and "changing" Washington. That would be a step in the right direction. Congress can promise all the earmarks they want and the President can proceed to veto em. That would save a lot of money.

Another idea for fixing the economy that I personally advocate (because its mine) is capping interest rates on all form of loans. Sadly it is an idea that will probably never have traction.

McCain's constant drum-beating about Iran continues to concern me. This fear card of imminent danger risks igniting a third front that this country can ill-afford.

On the plus side the press seems to be fact checking the debate better then usual. USA Today's is here, AP here and CNN here. Some highlights include both candidates being right on the Kissinger comments and both wrong. They go into voting records, spending, and foreign policy so both are worth reading. Overall, the next result in bending of the facts is a tie. Both did it about equally depending on what points where being made.

Time's score on the debate was a marginal victory to Obama. Watching CNN, the consensus seems to be a virtual tie so as a result it was essentially a win for Obama.

I couldn't find an article on Fox News but its safe to say they give the victory to McCain if their emphasis on Obama's "He's Right" statements are any indication. Apparently occasionally agreeing with your opponent is wrong in Foxland. Of course McCain did agree with Obama with issues, he just didn't say it, instead he just repeated similar statements. Call me crazy but agreeing with your opponent every now and then is not a bad characteristic.

The net result I think is the debate only encourages those who already chose their candidate and in states that are essentially decided just added a few points to a pre-determined victory. For the "battleground" states, I think the net result will be a wash. The points gained in one state will be offset by points lost in another. At most the popular vote will move about 1% to Obama's favor and the Electoral College breakdown will probably barely budge.

The next debate is the Vice Presidential Debate on October 2nd. Considering that Palin wasn't even made available to talk today, it’s clear that McCain has once again circled the wagon for after pathetic Couric interview. I will frankly be shocked if the VP debate occurs.

To watch the debate, you can find the videos here.

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