Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thoughts on the McCain - Obama Debate One and the Economic Panic

My general (biased) view of the debate last night was that Obama did not fair that well. I know that polls are indicating that Obama purportedly had won (I don’t buy it – that generally people polled felt that way), but perhaps Obama's style was more winsome. On Fox News last night, a preliminary and unscientific poll had McCain way ahead in debate performance, but I surmise the viewers were already in tune with McCain.

Except, perhaps, for what seemed more like empathy for hardship rather than a leader ready to roll out real solutions to the economic challenge we now face, every other topic was clearly won by McCain in my view.

McCain started slowly, but eventually got into a stride, and demonstrated clarity of thought and decisiveness. Obama was frequently stuttering. Someone said that they observed that Obama had McCain stuttering – I didn’t notice that.  I thought McCain was crisp and clear, and that Obama rambled.  Toward the end of the debate, Obama clearly was blabbing into every corridor of topics he could throw at McCain, which I believe his own people coached him not to do – he sounded like an academic, and his arguments were academic and not very substantive or even factual.

Today, the daily Gallop poll had Obama back up by 6 points, after McCain had gradually gotten to a tie in the recent days. I consider that the discrepancy was developed by the economic panic, which most people think was caused by a lack of leadership on the part of Bush and his team – and McCain is stuck with his association with Bush by Party lines.

I’d say McCain did a decent job separating himself from Bush in the debate, and probably helped himself, so I am predicting that the daily Gallop poll will tighten in the days leading up to the Vice Presidential debate next Thursday.

The tidbits of root cause analyses that seem to be popping up in the more reputable quarters of the main stream media (e.g., WSJ, etc.) indicate that the Democratic Congress had their fingers deeply into promulgating the Freddie and Fanny fiascos which are at the root of the great fall of the financial titans, which have been falling like dominoes.

Nonetheless, I would say at the moment, the Republicans have the greater liability in the eye of the average voter, and that is adversely affecting McCain, regardless of the debate performance.

I’ve never been a huge fan of John McCain, though I admire his patriotism, and honor his self sacrificing service to the nation, I do agree that free market economics is not his strong suit. But likewise I believe we face significant foreign policy challenges, and I have a difficult time picturing an Obama presidency facing both foreign policy and economic challenges on the scale we are facing today.

It brings to mind the comment made by the late Whitaker Chambers who remarked that he had struggled with the fact that his efforts to reveal a sinister communist infiltration of communists in the State Department in the 1930’s because, he felt, his efforts would eventually deemed as fruitless – that ultimately the bad guys would win, in his dour view of the future of the country at that time. When Reagan won the Cold War, several had indicated that, thank God, Chambers was wrong on that count; but in my view, the game perhaps isn’t over. We could still lose. Were Obama to win, his views being so far to the Left that there is no equivalent parallel in US history to compare, then Chambers warnings reemerge as prescient, terrifyingly and tragic.


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