September 26, 2008

Debate Open Comment Thread

I'm working on a Unified Field Theory to explain the Bush decade, so just comment away on the Presidential debate.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought McCain unpantsed Obama.

Anonymous said...

McCain won. Here are some of my impressions:

I've come to the conclusion that McCain is smarter than Obama, though both men are clearly smart. I would love to hear Gottfredson's take. Patrick Ruffini's analysis of the financing of both men's campaigns was the first thing that made me start to question if Obama had been overestimated:
http://www.thenextright.com/patrick-ruffini/yes-obama-turning-down-public-financing-is-still-an-epic-mistake

During the debate, at least until the end, McCain dialed back the tabasco and his demeanor was pretty cool like Obama's so they were easy to compare. McCain simply came across as a little more intelligent: less scripted, above-the-fray, his zinger at the end about the seal was more witty than Obama's attempts at humor, etc.

Most importantly, per presidential ambitions, Obama came across as a neophyte. I'm a firm believer that democratic elections are decided by those in the middle and they are looking for innate leadership skills, despite what those voters may sometimes tell themselves.

There is one argument against Obama being less intelligent: he simply has never debated *any* high caliber Republican. McCain is his first! I think a legitimate argument could be made that Obama has had it too easy and was thus unprepared.

Another observation. I'm only 31 years old and it is breathtaking to behold Obama's leftism on the economy and taxes. I was just a child when Mondale and Dukakis came along, but I've seen many dozens of debates at all levels, but I literally guffawed when Obama said, in the context of, "What would you give up because of the financial crisis", many programs were underfunded and named early childhood development as an example of one that could not only not be cut, but funded more.

Thras said...

We can't say who won the debate until the polls tell us how it played with America's most hopeless citizens: the undecided voters.

It does seem that we're all a little dumber for having seen the short exchange about the bracelets each of the men claims to wear.

Anonymous said...

McCain missed a golden opportunity to tie the financial crisis to the Dems' embrace of affordable housing for everyone and point out the unintended consequences of lefty do-gooderism.

Obama won in a split decision, IMO. This debate won't have much impact on the race though. The two factors that will drive it will be the result of the financial rescue (if it gets passed) and whether or not Palin screws the pooch next week.

- Fred

Anonymous said...

Obama won in a split decision, IMO.

That's the worst decision since Roy Jones Jr's lost in the 1988 Olympics.

testing99 said...

Women in Lunz's focus groups loved Obama. The younger women in particular said Obama was a guy they thought was "cool" and that McCain was "old" in so many words.

Women love Dems, and particularly "cool" Dem men who the cool people love and can evoke JFK. That there is a high-testosterone, relatively young, thin and tall Black man makes pretty much most women under the age of 50 solid Obama voters. Probably even married women voters vote for the Black guy, this time around. Obama's effect on them really stood out in Frank Lunz's focus group.

By contrast, I think most White/Asian men are starting to despise Obama for precisely the same reasons. Black guys obviously love him.

Net: McCain wins on substance, women love Obama's style and youth/coolness. Probably win for Obama based on that.

daveg said...

Obama clearly won, and the polls and focus groups confirm this. And he won only needing a tie.

McCain looked a bit looney at the end with his obsession on Iraq. Obama made a great point about the obsession with Iraq causing us to drop the ball in virtually all other foreign policy areas, which is true.

Obama is the master of getting very close to the opponents view and then just taking one or two steps away in the right direction. It is the "I just need to outrun you strategy," or the price is right bidding of one dollar more than the highest bid.

He is saying I am just a little more sane than this other guy on Iraq/Russia/Iran, but I am not a radical.

jeffjrstewart said...

Polls at CBS news and Time show that Undecideds broke for Obama by a pretty wide margin. They pressed the negative button every time McCain used the "What senstor Obama doesn't understand is..." line, and didn't seem to react unfavorably when Obama conceded a point to McCain.

Overall, among indpendents Obama came away from the debate looking better on the terrorism issue (still below McCain, but only by 10 points at this point), and his dismal figure for the "Ready to be Commander-in-Chief" went up by 20 points. McCain actually slipped slightly, from 79 going in to 78.

Foreign policy is the one area McCain beats Obama at hands down in the polls. Bottom line, Obama didn't lose ground to McCain on this last night, and in fact even gained a little.

mka said...

Neither man embarrassed himself, neither man dazzled. I suppose if you already favored McCain, you'll think McCain had the edge in this match. And if you already favored Obama, et cetera. I doubt this debate swayed anybody.

headache said...

The thing that gets me is the timing of the meltdown and bailout. We know the financial elite have Obama, who will probably win, in their pockets. I cannot believe they did not know the state of their institutions say 6 months ago. So it was up to them when they bring down the house of cards. I cannot believe it was not intentionally timed as another tool to make sure their boy gets in. In addition it basically cements their hegemony. Now they have their puppet in power and not just a lazy prez, and the taxpayer is paying the bill and fighting their wars. What more could they wish for?

headache said...

testing99,
I've got to agree with you that women have been doing the wesern world a disservice since they were allowed to vote. When I think of the typical pols chicks tended to vote for, you can attach most of the social and political programs which wrecked the West to them:

In the US: JFK, Carter, Clinton and now Obama
In Germany: Brandt, Schröder and next year Steinmeier.

I heard there's a Canton in Switzerland where women are still not allowed to vote in local elections. Sounds like my joint.

rightsaidfred said...

NPR commentators had it a tie/slight edge to McCain, so I take this as a McCain victory.

Obama dialed back his existential wanderings.

McCain was sharp, which will be a blow to the senility fans.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what kind of alternate universe I live in. I thought McCain won this debate hands-down. I'm a woman, and I can't stand Obama. I also think he is unattractive, particularly from the shoulders up, with his small head, big ears, and asymmetry. McCain looked handsome to me last night, and his replies to Obama's comments were, I thought, powerfully put forth. Obama seemed to be fighting his tendency to speak haltingly, and his repeated attempts to link McCain to Bush and the past eight years seemed contrived. I've heard it mentioned several times that McCain didn't show Obama the courtesy of looking at Obama while Obama spoke. Perhaps, but more striking to me was the fact that Obama referred to McCain as "John," while McCain referred to Obama as "Senator Obama." Obama also did his usual patronizing "man-hug" of McCain at the conclusion. Just once, I'd like to see someone come at Obama with the left hand and "man-hug" him before he gets the chance.

David said...

[H]igh-testosterone, relatively young, thin and tall Black man makes pretty much most women under the age of 50 solid Obama voters.[...]McCain wins on substance, women love Obama's style and youth/coolness. Probably win for Obama based on that.

Giving women the vote was one of the worst political mistakes ever made. The decline massively accelerated there.

It wasn't always this way - in fact, it was never this way for thousands of years, until 1920 or so.

As our civilization unravels, we should think of alternatives and listen to the wisdom of the past.

Anonymous said...

The gaffe of the night: if you're going to put words in someone's mouth, make sure he's dead so he can't come back and repudiate you.

Jake Tapper calls this "McCain pulling a Woody Allen". Obama tried to say Kissinger agreed with a particular stance, McCain argued with the most incredulous look on his face that Mr. Kissinger did not. This morning, McCain produced Kissinger to back him up.
http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/09/mccain-pulls-a.html

Anonymous said...

Watching those focus groups respond makes me appreciate that the single most important aspect of American democracy is the secret ballot.

Anonymous said...

I ask the following questions when ascertaining a winner:

Who lead, who followed?

Who seemed to dictate, or control, where the debate went?

Whom did the debate seem to revolve around?

In short, who was the alpha-male and who was the follower?

In every way it was McCain, thus McCain won. The danger w/ McCain, his achilles heel, is that he can be too much. This was Al Gore's problem. He was pitch perfect until the end when he started to "school" Obama. Partisans love it, but he started to get angry and dropped himself down to Obama's level.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't see any difference on their policy towards Russia and Georgia. Apparently, neither of them understand how World War one got started.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Like I've been telling you people, McCain has a good standard deviation advantage on Obama - I'd guess McCain 130, Obama 115.

And that's even before you realize that McCain is a 72-year-old guy who just flew cross country and was speaking extemporaneously until almost 11:00PM at night, whereas Obama is a 47 year old whippersnapper who spent the last three days memorizing his lines [fat lotta good that did him].

Obama really is a moron - the question is who is pulling his strings - who is the real brains behind the operation? - and the answer is the usual suspects [Soros, Axelrod, Minow, Klonsky, etc].

PS: The thing that really impressed me about McCain was that he started so slowly yet kept building up a crescendo until the very end - for a 72 year old guy, who just travelled back and forth across the entire continent in the last two days, to keep speaking extemporaneously, and improving, until almost 11:00PM - that's just a staggering feat of endurance - I doubt that 5% of the USA septuagenarian population could have pulled off the mere theatrics of it [much less got the answers right].

PPS: Sarah Palin is also rumored to have very good physical conditioning [her oldest son, "Track", was named after her love for the sport], whereas Biden is widely rumored to be a drunk, so I wonder if physical conditioning could prove to be a factor in their debate, as well?

Anonymous said...

The general impression from those who saw the debate seems to be that McCain won on debate points, but Obama didn't make a fool of himself. With media bias, the perception that the economic situation is the Republican's fault (of course, most everyone in Washington deserves a good chunk of blame, but neither McCain or Obama are going to point that out, for obvious reasons) and Obama's age appeal in a country obssessed with youth, McCain needed a knockout, and didn't get it. But the overall impact was probably pretty small.

As numerous people have pointed out, the VP debate is crucial. Palin could make a complete fool of herself (or turn in a mediocre performance that could be spun that way by the media), or she could knock Biden out of the ring. From what I have seen of Palin, either is possible. We'll see.

Tschafer

Martin said...

"testing99 said...

Women in Lunz's focus groups loved Obama. The younger women in particular said Obama was a guy they thought was "cool" and that McCain was "old" in so many words.

Women love Dems, and particularly "cool" Dem men who the cool people love and can evoke JFK. That there is a high-testosterone, relatively young, thin and tall Black man makes pretty much most women under the age of 50 solid Obama voters. Probably even married women voters vote for the Black guy, this time around. Obama's effect on them really stood out in Frank Lunz's focus group."

From what I have seen of women's reactions to Obama, I think your analysis is correct on this point. This election, unlike 92' may truly be the "year of the woman" in terms of thier influence.

nsam said...

pro-Obama people were puzzled by Obama's repeated "I agree with Sen. McCain" and his generally extra-pleasant demeanor (as opposed to McCain's "Sen. Obama does not understand..." and his failure to look at Obama at all)

Obama's approach to the first of three debates was strategic, not tactical. His goal was to appeal to all sorts of independents, including the republican leaning ones. He basically passed the threshold for the commander-in-chief and foreign policy tests and cut McCain's lead in these areas. And yes all the polls and focus groups confirm (at least a short term shift) towards Obama among independents and undecided. And he won over women big time due to his conciliatory approach.

Expect Obama to go slightly harder at McCain in the next 2 debates (without of course being unpleasant or uppity as that can be dangerous for an AA presidential candidate; To a lesser extent the only serious mistake Biden can make is to appear patronizing to Palin).

See here for an analysis of Obama won over republican leaning independents:

http://www.democracycorps.com/focus/2008/09/first-presidential-debate-obama-makes-important-personal-and-national-security-gains/

Partisans can justifiably claim victory for McCain (Republicans) or at best a tie (Democrats).. so among the partisans and the already committed it is a McCain win.. but for independents, it is a clear win for Obama. So the pattern of influence for those in the center is much different than those in the extremes. The evisceration of McCain will be left to hatchet-man Biden.

Anonymous said...

Lucius Vorenus:

"Obama really is a moron - the question is who is pulling his strings - who is the real brains behind the operation? - and the answer is the usual suspects [Soros, Axelrod, Minow, Klonsky, etc]."

Lucius, did you type that to draw a contrast between McCain and Obama? If so, what are you smoking? McCain has been THE neocon candidate in this race all along, going back to the primaries. He's the "usual suspects"' dream guy on foreign policy. Obama is their dream guy on domestic policy. The neocon/liberal split is irrelevant for most purposes. There is a lot of phoniness in that split, and the two groups agree with each other on most substantive issues. This is why the media has to use the candidates' personalities, as opposed to their policies, to draw contrasts between them.

Basically, my point is that McCain is being pulled by the same strings.

Anonymous said...

Watching the debate, I have come to the conclusion that it is very hard for a Republican to argue about taxes and the appropriate role of government with a Democrat given the nature of our full democracy. The truth is that the top 20% of households pay more than 80% of the federal income tax revenues. Most people are net tax consumers in the course of their lives and this creates a natural majority for the party promising to distribute part of the wealth of the relatively well off minority to the majority. I wish McCain would drop the demand for tax cuts above and beyond the Bush tax cuts and simply hit on keeping taxes the same and cutting "wastefull" (as I would couch it) spending. Also, his harping on ear-marks is rather pointless as they don't effect the overall level of spending. One could also see how hampered McCain is when addressing the sub-prime crisis. It is easy to blame Wall Street (which they fully deserve) as both Obama and McCain do, however, one can tell that McCain and the Republican's are very uneasy about assigning culpability to the poor and the stupid (and disproportionately NAM) common people who bit off more than they could chew.

Also, when McCain let a huge opportunity to slam down Obama when Obama started harping about corporations needing to be taxed more. He could have offered a line in the vain of "corporations don't pay taxes, they collect them and pass the costs on to their customers. If the costs become to high and render the goods and services provided by the corporations too expensive, they either shut down or off-shore. Either way, jobs disappear."

On foreign policy, particularly Georgia, I found myself exasperated by McCain. Everything he said was right out of the Neocon playbook. Obama more or less repeated the same idiocies, but was more half-hearted.

Also, did anyone notice that when Obama was addressing McCain by his firts name, he sometimes called him "Tom" and not "John?" So much for his vaulted intelligence.
-PhillyGuy

Anonymous said...

From what I have seen of women's reactions to Obama, I think your analysis is correct on this point. This election, unlike 92' may truly be the "year of the woman" in terms of thier influence.

How badly will Obama lose the male vote? The Dems have been parading Obama, Frank, Reed, and Pelosi out there the last couple weeks. Can't they find a way to get Jim Webb and Heath Shuler some face time to prove that all Democratics aren't girly-men?

beowulf said...

The anonymous that said there was a lot of similarities on the issues is quite correct. Whoever is president next year is certain to give amnesty to illegals, tighten corporate regulations and have similar defense policies (either one is likely to ask SecDef Gates, the only competent Bush cabinet officer, to stay on). Since there will be a Democratic Congress, it will also mean a repeal of the Bush tax cuts and perhaps a security transaction tax like the UK already has.

There's a reason that neither side talks much about health care. There's a bipartisan universal health care bill waiting in the wings (google Wyden-Bennett) for the next president to sign.

McCain won't talk about it because "universal health care" will drive his base nuts (though the Lord knows it would help him pick up moderates). Obama won't talk about it because the bipartisan bill has mandates and is similar to the Hillary plan that Obama ridiculed all through the primaries. He can't flip flop on mandates before the election.

As I think about it, the obvious next long bomb for McCain is endorsing Wyden-Bennett and saying Hillary is right, we need mandates. The GOP base will vote against Obama regardless and he will pick up moderates and Hillary fans.

secret string puller said...

McCain has been THE neocon candidate in this race all along, going back to the primaries. He's the "usual suspects"' dream guy on foreign policy. Obama is their dream guy on domestic policy.

And yet only one of them can be president. So I guess the "neocons'" dream of world domination won't come true.

Anonymous said...

Like I've been telling you people, McCain has a good standard deviation advantage on Obama - I'd guess McCain 130, Obama 115.

This is just ridiculous. Obama was considerably more articulate than McCain throughout the debate. His sentences were more complex and flowed much better than McCain's, even if you think (as I do) that McCain won on substance. He clearly has a higher verbal IQ than McCain.

Carlos said...

"Like I've been telling you people, McCain has a good standard deviation advantage on Obama - I'd guess McCain 130, Obama 115."

McCain was last in his class. Obama was among the top, and that can't be completely from Affirmative Action.

But that doesn't matter. Idiocracy will win, and McCain and Palin and the Idiocracy Party.

Lucius Vorenus said...

It's no use trying to argue with you people who have drunk the Obambi kool-aid.

[PS: As I've remarked before in these parts, what McCain/Obambi proves is that the guy who finishes dead last in the 1950's engineering curriculum at Annapolis is a whale of a lot smarter than the quota admission who takes a 1980's/1990's social sciences/humanities curriculum in the Ivy League.]

Truth said...

"[PS: As I've remarked before in these parts, what McCain/Obambi proves is that the guy who finishes dead last in the 1950's engineering curriculum at Annapolis is a whale of a lot smarter than the quota admission who takes a 1980's/1990's social sciences/humanities curriculum in the Ivy League.]"

How about a social sciences/humanities curriculum at U. of Idaho?

Anonymous said...

"There is one argument against Obama being less intelligent: he simply has never debated *any* high caliber Republican."

He debated a well-known and very smart black Republican (whose name escapes me, but the same one who is in with the head of the Minute Man Project) for his Senate seat. I remember listening to part of that debate, and Obama was quite good.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Truth: How about a social sciences/humanities curriculum at U. of Idaho?

Stay tuned Thursday night - same Bat Time, same Bat Channel.