One Last Debate Post

Posted: October 15th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Politics, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Is it bad that I’m bored of this election? I know who I’m voting for, I have my hunches about the outcome and I don’t hear the candidates telling me (or those mythical undecideds) anything new. Gail Collins, who gets PAID to cover this stuff, says she’s a bit bored too.

That said, despite the big argument about Ayers, Lewis and attack politics in the middle of the debate, I thought tonight was overall more interesting to watch than previous ones have been. Bob Scheiffer did a really commendable job of getting candidates to actually talk to one another, plus, I think, the swivel chairs helped.

I think Gail and I just have news overload. My friend Steve who is super well-read but doesn’t spend his time tied to the news tickers with an IV drip like I do was much better able to evaluate this evening in eloquent terms. So instead of offering my own take, I’m offering his:
Obama made some mistakes: “The last remark he made about sex is sacred was kinda bizzare, and could be misinterpreted to promote abstinence rather than comprehensive education, and I thought he stumbled a bit on the ‘100% of McCain’s ads are negative’ line, because he’s done pretty well avoiding that kind of half-truth thus far and meticulously taking apart all of the ones that McCain has used.”

But McCain made more: “When he tossed out ‘class warfare’ in his first answer, it screamed desperation.”

On Ayers, Lewis and the personal attacks: “The Lewis thing overstepped a line, sure, because McCain is not a racist. And is not telling these people to think that Obama is a terrorist, and I know that he was quick to grab the mic back and correct that retarded woman who said she can’t trust Obama because he’s an ‘a-rab,’ but he is tacitly permitting them to think like that by saying ‘Obama associates with terrorists,’ and the air of fanaticism with people shouting ‘terrorist!’ at McCain’s rallies is troubling in the way that Lewis indicated.”

On why McCain’s long history as a maverick/moderate/negotiator doesn’t count anymore: “At this point, that guy is not running for this office. The Republican Party is running for President in the figure of John McCain.”

“This is not a debate”

Posted: September 27th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Politics, Video | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

So said my mother, 9:56 pm ET last night, or 2/3 of the way through the first Presidential back-and-forth. Despite Jim Lehrer’s best efforts to force the candidates to talk to one another and really duke it out on the issues, they stuck to their canned stump speeches. McCain recycled his favorite gems (like that “Miss Congeniality” line) twice in the same evening.

To the candidates’ credit, the exchange last night was wonkish, policy-centered, which is how I like my politics. But McCain failed to make connections between details (pork spending) and his broader vision (anyone?) while Obama failed to bring any of the passion that marks his broad vision speeches to policy positions. Even the NYTimes called him a technocrat. It’s almost as though he CARES more about telling us what America should look like than grappling with how to get there. A president who CAN’T get excited about detail is just as bad as one who can’t see the forest for the trees. The best policy wonk leaders of the C20th–FDR, LBJ, Reagan and Clinton–could do both: they had vision, they had policies and they could explain in accessible detail how the two connected. Read the rest of this entry »