Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Obama and McCain: Round Two

The experience watching the second debate between the Presidential candidates was much the same as the first. We heard a lot of the exact same rhetoric, the exact same attacks, and the same exact issues. For a town hall meeting, with something like 25,000 questions coming in from the internet, the variety of questions was pretty poor. I kind of liked the last question, something like "What don't you know, and how would you learn it?" Unfortunately, it was the closing question, so both candidates used most of the time to give their summary closings.

Some viewers have responded by saying that the town hall meeting was more conducive to John McCain, but I don't think so. He did all right, but looked stilted and awkward much of the time. There were also times when he was wandering around while Obama was talking, which looked weird.

Some people are making a big deal out of McCain calling Obama "that one," which I think it somewhat disrespectful, but not a big deal. What was dumb was the bit about the $3 million overhead projector, which McCain mentioned twice. These silly one-off references to supposedly ludicrous earmarks make McCain sound dumb. Apparently the $3 million was for a projection system for a Chicago planetarium. So Obama voted to spend $3 million on upgrading a science museum...the horror.

Overall the debate was relatively boring and repetitive. I saw a bit of the Bush/Perot/Clinton debate from 1992 they were replaying on C-Span just before last night's debate, and Clinton looked young, energetic, and smart. I'd even forgotten how likable and relatively articulate Perot was before he revealed himself as a wingnut. But Bush seemed old and out of touch, checking his watch and becoming defensive when a woman asked how the poor economy affected each candidate personally. Bush said something like: "Are you suggesting that people with means aren't affected?" Which kind of made him look like a rich asshole.

The differences weren't as stark in this debate. Obama looks tired to me, probably because he his. He wasn't nearly as charismatic and smooth as I've seen him. But by contrast, McCain is beginning to look more and more like Bob Dole.


Laurie said...

My personal favorite part of last night's debate...McCain's response to the "what don't you know and how will you learn it" question:

"...what I don't know is what the unexpected will be..."

Well, no shit.

Actually, I think that everyone knew they wouldn't have seriously answered that question, and I think they knew that we knew that they wouldn't. So I didn't expect much from that, but I did think Obama's deferring to his wife at least showed off some of his personality, which is something that McCain is sorely lacking. And unfortunately McCain's blandness is only exacerbated by his constant and insincere referral to the audience as "my friends."

You say that the "town hall" debate format didn't suit McCain very well. I'll take it a step further and say that no debate format seems to suit him very well. Every time I see him, I just want to tell him that he needs to go spend a relaxing day at the spa or something.

Philip said...

I did think Obama's deferring to his wife at least showed off some of his personality

I agree. I read here ( that the female response was off the chart at that moment.

Rob said...

I think McCain has lost his mind! The proposal he threw out on the very first question to basically find everyone in the country whose mortgage is higher than the value of the house their in, refinance the mortgage and send them on their merry way.I thought the $850 billion was a load of crap but this is just the vanilla ice cream on top of it. Hopefully he will come out and explain it away as a senior moment.

Their was a time when businesses and individuals did stupid things and suffered the consequences. They took their lumps, licked their wounds, and tried again. Apparently we taxpayers are taking the lumps for them.

I was thinking the about Bob Dole also as I watched him.