Was it as good for you . . . ?

September 27, 2008 by susan
McCain and Obama, nuzzling after debate

Allrighty then, is the post-debate glow holding up? For me, yes.

The spin-dits were their usual jabbering selves, Obama said "I agree with John" too often, looked smug, started strong but dropped points when it got to foreign policy, where McCain clearly cleaned up. And the McCain camp released a statement from Henry Kissinger saying that McCain had it right, he never said no conditional talks with Iran. Hello, Henry Kissinger? Jabba the hut meets the Godfather? Think Nixon, think Vietnam, think back as far as you can . . . Talk about looking at the future vs. looking at the past. It's not just computers he doesn't get.
More, you betcha.

I could not imagine anyone, except hard-line Israel supporters and very old people, feeling good about this spokes-model for the mortuary arts. Barack, on the other hand, was the best I've ever seen him in a debate -- and as we know, they have not been his strong suit. The bigger piece of good news in this is that he demonstrates that he listens, that he's teachable. Clearly those who prepped him for this debate told him what he had to do differently, and he did it. This not only bodes well for his campaign, it bodes well for his presidency.

So for me, watching it was the biggest stress-reducer in a few long weeks. Would he be too professorial? Too stiff? Too Gore, too Kerry? Too nuanced, aloof, cool, etc.? I was worried that McCain would somehow manage to come across better, more self-assured, more patriotic, more tough on terror.

But mostly he came across to me as the little guy behind the screen in the Wizard of Oz, who has managed by special effects, feints and stunts, to convey powers he doesn't have.

At least the wizard proved to be a good-hearted guy in the end, who got everyone what they needed -- or pointed out to them that they had it within themselves all along. Smite me, but I don't think John McCain has that kind of heart, or that kind of message. His message, for all his puffery about our American workers and our American soldiers and our American know-how, is that we-the-people should be very afraid, that we lack the brains, heart and courage to do what's right. How many times did he say to Sen. Obama, "You just don't get it." "You're naive." when talking about the evils or Iran or North Korea. Yep, leave it to me and Henry Kissinger and the winged monkeys to handle all this.

To really make your day -- or send you to your cave -- google up various clips of Sarah Palin being interviewed by Katie Couric, if you haven't already seen them. OMG, Houston, we have a problem. The Republican operatives must be shitting a brick. A glib speech, it turns out, is no substitute for experience or knowledge. Who knew?

She is in so far over her head that you almost feel sorry for her. (Okay, not. She didn't have to say yes to this, she might have had the humility to say "Thaynks, but no thaynks.") She has the panicked look on her face of a small town finalist in a national spelling bee being given a word she's never heard of. She stalls for time, her eyes flicker trying to remember her talking points, she falls back on the same phrases for every issue or country, she defends her statement about her proximity to Russia (and Canada!) giving her foreign affairs experience. She is so devoid of substance that Katie could barely conduct the interview, and in one instance, had to supply the word Palin was groping for.

How in the world will Joe Biden, who can be a bit verbose -- and grandiose -- handle her? Will that be another debate that just might not happen? Stay tuned.

Posted in


BLOGDE (not verified) | September 28, 2008 - 11:56am

I saw it as a draw. I was a bit disappointed that Obama didn't tie McCain to his history of finance deregulation and the repeal of Glass-Steagle, a vote that was party line in the senate in '99, he should have hit him hard when the subject of the economy was addressed, "Where was the maverick when America needed him?" Obama could have said.

I was quite worried when Obama made his bracelet statement, do not go toe to toe with McCain on the area of military service.

But, on the positive side, McCain completely failed to make a case against Obama on experience.


susan | September 28, 2008 - 12:12pm

I suppose you're right, I mean, all MSM analysis agrees with you, though some threw it to Obama by a hair. I just so viscerally dislike McCain that I can't bear to see him or listen to him, and I realize there are plenty of people out there who feel the same way about Obama, if not worse.
And the bracelet thing played out badly, you're right. When he first said, "I've got one too." I thought he would go on to say that all these bracelets are meaningless if we're still sending our soldiers off to die needlessly. And I think his intent was that. "You wear one for the soldier who says let us finish the mission, I wear one for the mother who says stop this madness." But by flubbing the name it looked very insincere, obviously coached, and almost childish. "
Also on the positive side, the next debate is on the economy, no? Or is the next one the town hall meeting? Then the economy? Well, at least the foreign policy one, supposedly McCain's strength, is over and Obama surely held up well. And McCain only mentioned being a POW once. When it's on the economy the only past relevant experience he can draw on is the Keating 5.


barbara says (not verified) | September 28, 2008 - 1:57pm

Yeah, there were several points where Obama could have thrust home. I think it's possible for Obama to say this, that, the other thing make him angry without raising the spectre of the angry black man. We're all angry. He's one of us. He is our surrogate. He represents the only chance we'll have as piddly little people to have our voices heard, if only vicariously. I think it would be simply peachy for him to say, "John, the American people are fed up and rising with the systematic destruction of our country, our laws, our economy, the assaults on our healthcare, education, and retirement savings, America's standing in the world, our new and terrible reputation as a war-mongering nation, all, ALL as a direct result of the Bush administration you have supported and seek to continue. No amount of rouge on this rhinoceros can conceal the fact that you are a Bush Republican. George W. Bush has nearly destroyed America. Another Republican administration will finish the job W started." Or something.


Poet (not verified) | October 1, 2008 - 1:24am

The "debates" are not really debates, they are a hybrid between infomercials and professional wrestling matches. We all know what each is selling (themselves!) and we all know that the overwhelming majority of the country's electorate has had it with both the Republicans and their hypocritical philosophy of government (made abudantly clear by Monday's vote against the $700 billion bailout).

Meanwhile, what are the political consultant, party organizer, escort service, lobbying, and advertising industries to do? We are talking big bucks and economic stimulus in an economy badly in need of both.

So for a time McCain was ahead, now Obama is in the ascendency, pretty soon it will be McCain's turn to once again body slam his opponent on the mat while the freaky crowd (aka the electorate) oohs and ahhs taking in all the entertainment.

Eventually the tag team title of the political universe (complete with 4 inch wide belt with a humongous shiny jewel encrusted gold buckle) will be awarded to the winner and in 4 years we will do it all over again.

For now, the most poitically significant thing happening had nothing to do with either presidential campaign. It was the house voting down the 700 billion Wall Street bail out against the wishes of the maximum leader, his designated heirs apparent, his treasury secretary, the head of the FED (can you speak Bertnanke?) and the "leaders" of both parties in both houses of congress.

Power, for at least one day, belonged to the people!


susan | October 1, 2008 - 11:33pm

Well, I agree the debates are not debates, although compared to the inanity that George Steph subjected us all to in the Hillary/Barack debacle, Jim Lehrer presided over an olympian event. But they've pretty much degenerated into American Idol, complete with a flickering graph running below the screen throughout the debate, spiking up and down at the mention of various buzz words, like "Ronald Reagan." (red and independents up, blues, down or steady.)
As for the bail out, it sure sucks, but I don't think it's as simple as power to the people. I mean, sure, it was fun to rebuke King George and other posturing ninnies, but we can't vote it down again or we all go down.
Let's say you had a captain of a ship who repeatedly ignored warnings to observe shipping lanes, constantly cut corners to make the extra buck, who got a handful of crew members to go along, and whose corporate office rejected any gubmint oversight -- knowing it was endangering the passengers, cargo and crew.
Let's say the ship starts to list and no one does anything about it. "She's a sturdy ship, she'll correct course." Then it lurches towards a reef that protects a huge coastal plain, and we learn it's carrying -- say, nuclear waste. The captain is spinning the wheel and underestimating the impending disaster to his passengers, and well, you get it. Someone in that heavily populated community says, "Folks, much as this captain and his greedy crew have screwed us over forever, and deserve to die, we can't let it happen cause it's going to kill us all with them, even though we didn't do anything wrong. Okay, we kinda liked getting all the other good stuff the ship carried, and the price was right, but now, if we let it crash on the shoals, we're done." "Yippeee," some shout, "they had it coming." "Nope," say others, "as much as this stinks, we've got to go out there and try to keep them afloat. It's a gamble, but it might keep us alive, and it might even bring us some income some day and pay us back." "Boo hiss," yells the angry crowd, "let the pigs die."
And the ship hits the shoal and lots of the pigs die, and slowly, over the next few years, so do most of the people in the coastal plain. The few who survive look blankly at each other, and one raises a withered fist and says, "yeah, we showed 'em." Maybe I'm way off on this, and I'm assuming you'll straighten me out if I am.


Poet (not verified) | October 2, 2008 - 8:05pm

The idea of me straightening out Susan on anything seems laughable given your own long experience in political activism. I am not Don Quixote seeking a joust with a windmill and yes I know the sorry miserable crumbs on Wall Street need some sort of help lest we all (worldwide even!) suffer.

What annoys me the most is their dictating the terms. Does not $700 billion buy some leverage for the payee besides being told to "stay out of my way" on the part of those being bailed out? At the very minimum "We the People" ought to be able to demand and get as part of the bail out:

1. A one year moritorium on forclosure of any ARM financed residential property while the distressed owner is given some time to work out other financing arrangements.

2. Revocation of both the Financial Services Modernization Act and Gramm-Blilly Act of 2000 which were the principle enabling legislation that permitted the kind of fraudulent dealings that led to this current crisis.

3. Reinstatement of the Glass Steagle Act which from 1933 till 1999 when it was revoked by the above named laws managed to prevent such shenanigans on Wall Street.

4. Increased funding for enforcement by the SEC and expansion of FBI probes into Wall Street firms to include the appropriate regulatory agencies for any possible criminal negligence on their part.

5. Recusal by Henry Paulsen, Robert Rubin, and all the rest of the Wall Street financier crowd from having any authority in the implementing of such plan that passes due to conflict of interest.

6. Oversight of any implementation plans by a multi-partisan blue ribbon commission which reports directly to the Congress and has final veto authority over any proposals not to its liking.

But you won't find anything even close to any of those proposals in the new and expanded several hundred page larded up with legilsdative bon-bons of a plan now being shoved in front of the Congress.

The executive is behaving like some tantrum pitching 2 year old brat which needs either to be popped on its bottom or ignored so that it learns that such behavior will not get it any results that are not worse than before.

But Pelosi, Reid, Hoyer, Boehner, and McConnel are behaving like some first time parents afraid that if bratty lil' Dubya doesn't get his way something vewy baaad will happen and it will be their fault.