Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Obama wins Belmont stakes by a length

My friends (swig), had you chosen the words my friends as your cue to imbibe the (alcoholic) beverage of your choice, you would be good and wasted and hungover now. It seemed like the more irritated or frustrated Senator McCain got, the more he used my friends (swig) as a verbal crutch, to help him connect or reconnect with the audience. But John, may I call you John?, those people were not your friends, nor should they have been. They and we, the home viewing audience, known collectively as voters, and the people who pay your salary, are not looking for a new friend, we are looking for a new president. And it was this whole stupid idea that we should elect the person we would most like to go out for a beer or play a round of golf with got us into this effing economic mess and the war of choice in Iraq.

And now my friends (swig), to my thoughts on last night's debate...

First, a procedural note: I am not going to comment on every question and/or every response. That would take forever, and I actually have some paid work to do today. So the following are my thoughts and impressions only. You can add your own thoughts and impressions via the Comments. Also, I have not had time to fact check every statement the candidates made. For that, go to, though in going there just now I happened to see that McCain's assertion that "Senator Obama has voted 94 times to either increase your taxes or against tax cuts" was rated FALSE -- "not even close," according to the non-partisan fact checkers.

1. Was Tom Brokaw in the tank for McCain? It sure looked that way, what with their matching outfits, down to the stripey red tie and red hankies. And the 68-year-old Brokaw was certainly just as if not more crotchety than the 72-year-old McCain -- and took Obama to task more often than he did McCain. I get that NBC is desperately trying to suck up to the McCain camp, though I don't know why at this point, but I found Brokaw's conduct less professional and more partisan than either Jim Lehrer's or Gwen Ifill's.

2. Let's just get this out of the way: McCain looks and sounds like a grumpy old not-too-healthy white guy and Obama looked and sounded like some cool-cat 1950s-era poet beatnik out of "Funny Face." All Obama needed was a bongo drum and a beret, and maybe a form-fitting black top and black pants. Of course then the Republicans would accuse him of being French, and we can't have that, can we? Zoot alors! (My mother, who lives in Paris, is cringing right now.) As for McCain, possibly the whitest white man I have ever seen (even without the hair transplant he joked about getting, as the rest of us worry about being able to afford much more serious and possibly life-threatening health-related procedures) -- and yes, I know he was a POW for YEARS and was TORTURED, but I want a healthy-looking, physically and mentally fit guy or gal to be my president, not a guy who looks like he's going to rupture an artery or keel over any minute.

3. I see black people! Woohoo! You could have probably counted them on one hand, but I saw at least four black people (or African Americans for you PC types) in that audience, and a couple of them were even allowed to speak! Is this a great country or what?!

4. My friends (swig). I think I covered this already, but for the record, McCain used this verbal crutch at least 14 times (then I stopped counting).

5. Points to Obama for turning the stupid Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac gotcha game back on McCain, whose campaign manager, Rick Davis, and Davis's firm, were paid millions by Freddie Mac -- and continued to receive payments through this August. As for Fannie and Freddie campaign contributions, just about everyone in Congress practically got a little sumthin' sumthin' from the mortgage buyers. Next.

6. Both candidates should have admitted things were probably going to get worse, probably a lot worse, before things got better. This was not the time to be coy or sugarcoat the truth. It's time to turn down the heat, put on that cardigan sweater, and make some sacrifices (more about that in a minute).

7. I am so effing tired of sound bytes and campaign ads masquerading as answers to questions. Enough already. And both candidates could not get out of their own or their campaign's way, most of the time, and directly and briefly answer the audience and Internet questions.

8. And speaking of those questions, who picked those questions?! I know: Tom Brokaw. But I kept wondering why out of millions of questions submitted he chose some of the ones that got asked last night. I kept waiting for, "If you were a tree, what kind would you be?" And frankly, Babwa Wawa would have been a far more entertaining moderator.

9. For the record (in regard to question three), in case any of you have been living on Mars the past eight years (I'd say a cave, but Osama bin Laden probably knows more about the United States politically than most voters here do), the party that has been in power the last eight years has been the Republicans. We have had a Republican president all eight years -- and a Republican majority in the Congress until the election of 2006. And since then the Democrats have had the slimmest of majorities, unable to pass legislation without the support of at least a handful of Republicans. So, please, folks, can we get past this BS blaming of the Democrats for our current economic woes? Moreover, it was not Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) or Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) who got us into this mess. It was the people making and betting on subprime loans and get-rich quick schemes all across America and particularly in the housing, financial, and insurance industries.

10. Points to McCain for sounding more passionate, trying to connect with the live audience. Obama just isn't that guy. He is not Bill Clinton. He does not give people the warm and fuzzies or sound like he feels their pain, at least in his tone. McCain is clearly the more emotional guy, though really, do you want a guy with more mood swings than a woman with acute PMS with his finger on the nuke button?

11. Obama remained calm and in control at all times, even when irritated or trying to correct something McCain said. That both spooked and impressed me. Wish I had that Zen-like control of my feelings and emotions. I'll have whatever he's having.

12. I get it about the whole energy independence thing and supposed need to drill offshore, John. OK? Next.

13. Similarly, I get it about the $300 billion in tax cuts to corporate America and the oil companies, Barack. You made your point, now move on and answer the effing question that was asked.

14. Do we really care about a $3 million projector when we're blowing billions, daily, overseas and now (or soon to be) billions more here at home? Is $3 million really going to change the tide and/or make a difference? Enough with the stupid, petty sniping.

15. Enough about effing earmarks. And for the record, not all earmarks are bad. Earmarks help people/communities/town/cities/companies... and chances are there is some project or school or something in your home town that wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for an earmark. So, enough about earmarks, OK? Some of them are bad or foolish or totally political, and those should get cut from bills. But some of them go to good projects and causes. While I am cringing as I type this, you don't need a hatchet but a paring knife (or okay, a scalpel).

16. Someone else besides Rudy Giuliani said 9/11! And it was Barack Obama! Whoa.

17. John McCain clearly misses Joe Lieberman. I swear he misted up talking about their roadtrip. Well John, he's all yours. Take him. Please.

18. Hey, John, you can't have it both ways. Just to remind everyone, McCain has been in Congress 26 years and has consistently been a proponent of deregulation. I am straining my ears (and I have dog ears), but I haven't heard a whole lot of fresh, new ideas from you lately. (That mortgage idea, about the government buying them up, not new, not yours. Good idea, though, but not original.) In fact, it seems like the few good, fresh ideas you've had in the Senate you've turned your back on since you entered this race.

19. Enough with the smirking. Notice that the camera didn't pan to McCain as much this debate but when it did he was smirking or grimacing? Were the cameramen given orders not to flash on McCain when Obama was speaking? Hmmm...

20. $5,000 doesn't go a long way when it comes to health insurance. I don't know about you, but my healthy, young(ish) family's plain old vanilla insurance policy costs over $12,000 a year -- and that's with a good-sized deductible. So a $5,000 credit is still going to leave us holding the bag for at least $7,000. If I were McCain, I would brush up on my math and stop yapping about what a good deal his healthcare plan is.

21. For the umpteenth time, OBAMA IS NOT GOING TO RAISE YOUR TAXES.

22. Did you hear McCain snipe at Obama about his "short career" and "no time for on-the-job training" when you are president during that foreign policy-related question?! OMG! So when can I expect to hear the announcement that McCain has dropped Sarah Palin from the ticket? Btw, If McCain really cared about the economy, he would ditch Palin and put Mitt Romney in the VP slot. But he'll never do it.

23. Quick reality check: We can no longer afford to keep our troops in Iraq when it is costing BILLIONS a month to do so. So let's come up with a smart, phased plan to get 'em out of there -- and not shout it to the whole world.

24. Stop talking about us not leaving Iraq until we have achieved victory. In the words of Bruce Springsteen and John Kerry, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" Too many people, U.S. citizens and Iraqis, have died already, more than were lost in 9/11, which had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein and Iraqi people.

25. If I'm McCain, I wouldn't be talking about judgment. (See "deregulation," "Keating Five," "Iraq War.") Just sayin'.

26. I thought Dwight D. Eisenhower was McCain's hero? No wait, it's Ronald Reagan, that's it. No, my bad, it's Teddy Roosevelt.

27. Note to John McCain, I read Charlie Wilson's War, too, and saw the movie (starring Tom Hanks!). And I believe the word you were looking for when talking about those Afghani freedom fighters (as opposed to Sarah Palin's "Talibani") was Mujahadeen. Btw, John -- may I call you John? -- read Three Cups of Tea. Now. You could learn a lot.

28. Does Joe Six-Pack really care or know about what's going on in Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Georgia? And does he even know where it is? Next Q&A.

29. On the Israel question, nice sucking up to the petty officer, guys. Extra points to McCain on this one.

30. I hereby move to strike the phrase "would meet without preconditions" from all future presidential discourse and the next debate.

31. Obama wins the closing statement round. I found Obama's closing statement to be much stronger and more thoughtful and forward-looking than McCain's, who seemed a bit petulant and worn down. (Okay, grammatically, not a great sentence. But I am really tired and out of steam. Fortunately, I am not running for president.)


* Conservative columnist David Brooks said the edge went to Obama and gave him points for calmness, fluidity, and reassurance -- and a better ability to adapt to a changing world.

* I didn't notice this but apparently McCain did not shake Obama's hand, nor would he look at him or call him by his name, just "that one." (Several pundits commented on it.)

* Re the candidates' wives, my mother, a former model -- and Harvard professor, wrote, from Paris at 3:40 a.m.: "On the topic of style: did you stay tuned for the aftermath of the debate, when Cindy Cain and Michelle Obama came onstage? I found the contrast striking, beyond the amusing fact that Cindy wore blue and Michelle red. Cindy’s suit was perfectly cut and the brooch on her jacket, whether genuine or ersatz, glittered in the camera light. Between them and her big hair, she looked like what she was: a millionairess who’d have fit right into Dynasty. Michelle, in contrast, had not had her hair done by a professional. Her dress was off-the-rack and did not fit her perfectly. Moreover, since she was frequently shown from behind, you could see the zipper running all the way up. Expensive clothing is sewn to conceal the zipper; not the case here." Good points, Mom! : ) One of the reasons I like Michelle. She's keepin' it real, dawg.

And so, sleep- and food-deprived, I end my presidential debate coverage... for now.

Good day, and good luck.


Anonymous said...

Excellente summarario! Thanks, J-Two-O.

There is something to the matched clothing thing going on...

OBAMA SUPPORTERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!!! Light blue ties, white shirts and dark suits all the way from now until election day!

Anonymous said...

I watched the debate on CNN that included a moment by moment poll from unconfirmed voters in Ohio and it was fascinating. OBama would star talking and the lines would go up and up, and then McCain would talk and the lines would scroll down.

Lietzy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lietzy said...

Re: McCain's attack about the $3 million dollar overhead projector, guess it is hard for someone born in the 19th century to understand this modern, new fangled "overheard projector."

(not to mention the fact THAT IT WASN'T FUNDED).

Go, Straight Talk Express, Go!

Dave S. said...

My friend (swig, burp), I can't believe we missed "my friends" (swig) in the pre-debate drinking game setup. Although how we would have drunk through clenched teeth is another question.

Your mom's observations on fashion were good. (My money is on real over ersatz, incidentally.) By all accounts Cindy McCain hates campaigning, and if anyone told her to be "more real" by toning down her getup you can bet they would get a demonstration of the effect of the world's hardest natural mineral on the human body.

jjv said...

A couple of things, first it was supposed to be undecided voters. How many blacks are undecided? Certainly those in that audience didn't seem to be. This was another debate without social issues. That redounds to the advantage of Obama.

Two more items 1) whether my taxes get raised or not a marginal rate increase to 50% is lously for the economy. Second, if you think a democratic congress and obama aren't going to increase the taxes of everyone who pays income taxes (40% of Americans do not)are going to go up. Also, since such a large percentage of Americans pay no federal income taxes how is Obama giving them (95%)a tax cut? Oh yea, paying them other people's money!

To channel Comic Book Guy:

Most Boring Debate, Ever.