September 26, 2008

The Debate

I thought the debate was more interesting than those in the past. I thought Senator Obama did a good job, but did not win. Senator McCain was very steady, knew his own mind and even though he was hard on Senator Obama's experience and judgment, he was not as hard as he could have been. They both hit all their same old hot spots, Senator Obama claiming that standing up in his Democratic District in the State Congress of Illinois and saying the Iraq war was wrong was brave and prescient (pretty easy call since he didn't have to look at the evidence that convinced Senators Clinton, Biden and Kerry) and Senator McCain touting his early and constant call for a change and more troops in Iraq.

Things that rubbed me the wrong way:

1) Senator Obama said that no American soldier ever dies in vain because they are performing the mission of their commander and chief. I think over 58,000 American soldiers died in vain in Vietnam. We threw men into a horrible war, we won nearly every battle we were allowed to fight and then we left and let the country dissolve into killing fields. What a waste.

2) Senator Obama said that young people the world over no longer like or want to come to America -- that's just downright false. People are dying to come here and nobody who's here seems to want to leave for better prospects elsewhere. Immigration into America is huge and non-stop.
Oh, and something I thought was well said (by McCain in this case, responding to Senator Obama's courageous stand against the war when he neither saw the evidence nor had the standing to vote):
“The next president of the United States is not going to have to decide whether
we should have gone into Iraq. He’ll have to decide how we leave, when we leave
and what we leave behind …”

Update: Here's a Hugh Hewitt Scorecard

Also, when I read articles saying McCain won big (like David Yepsin and Roger Simon) they seem to discuss what happened during the debate, while those who say that Obama won -- actually very few say he won and most end up saying he tied (like Joe Klein) seem to carry Senator Obama's water for him, explaining to their readers that Obama didn't really say in the past what he said in the past and bringing their own preference for Obama into play, prefering Obama's policies thus saying he won by having those policies.

Example from Klein:

"The problem with McCain's aggressiveness was that it almost always involved misstating Obama's positions—on offshore drilling, nuclear power, talking to our enemies, raising taxes on the middle class, attacking Pakistan ... the same list of untruths McCain has stuck with throughout the campaign. Or he'd try to make petty distinctions, like whether Obama's initial statements on Georgia were tough enough. When Obama chose to criticize McCain it was on big things—supporting the war in Iraq, opposing alternative energy, standing by the Republican trickle-down philosophy of taxation. In this way, too, Obama was strategic and McCain tactical."

Thus does Klein make every victory point for McCain petty or dishonest (using Obama's past statements against him unfairly?) while every punch Obama threw was artful and meaningful -- the difference is more about Klein's policy preferences and less about anything that happened in the debate.

Update 2: "The Moment"

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