Liveblogging the Next Debate

I’m a big fan of town-hall formats.  As I have said before, any candidate who cannot answer live unscripted questions from an unscreened audience doesn’t deserve to be elected dog-catcher.  Obviously, McCain enters this debate way behind the eight ball.  The conventional wisdom seems to be that he can’t go negative in such a format.  I think that remains to be seen.  As usual, I’m watching this on PBS since it is the least annoying, David Brooks notwithstanding.

The audience, being undecideds, looks whiter, older and more middle-class, but I listened earlier to someone from the Gallup organization that picked them explain that this would be the case.

Right out of the chute, Obama sounds like an earnest college professor.  Oooh, McCain gigs Obama for “chickening out” on town hall debates.  “Let’s not raise taxes on anybody today.”  McCain certainly seems, well, not comfortable so much, but less bitter and angry.  And now McCain smacks Tom Brokaw for no apparent reason.  Is this supposed to be funny?  McCain successfully poaches Warren Buffet from Obama, so Obama ignores the question and goes into his standard middle class speech.  Everytime McCain says “Wall Street greed and excess,” take a shot.  McCain is evidently going to hit Obama with every answer and Obama is going to throw an elbow back every time.  Obama calls the nice voter a cynic.  Expect an immediate denunciation of his elitism.  Oh well nevermind, McCain called her a cynic, too.  McCain’s smirk is worse than his scowl.  He’s starting to seem angry again.  Obama actually came close to calling on Americans to sacrifice for the common good!  OMG!  “I’ve got some news for you, Senator Obama, and the news is bad.”  Condescend much?  Obama gets really annoyed when McCain misrepresents his tax policy.  Social Security reform is “easy”?  Then why haven’t you fixed it in the last 26 years?  “Nuclear power is safe and cheap”?  McCain should never, ever, ever smile; he looks scary as hell.  The CNN crowd loves it when Obama talks about federal employee style health insurance for all, but gets annoyed when he starts in on McCain.  Obama had the guts to say that healthcare should be a right.  Good on him.  McCain trying to be funny (I guess to avoid being tagged as mean and angry again) is really just embarassingly sad.  I will, however, give him points for continuing to doggedly push this grotesquely unpopular trainwreck of a war.  That was a very good question on Pakistan, our least-helpful “ally” in the War on Terror.  Yes, Senator McCain, clearly the Pakistanis LOVED America before Obama opened his big mouth.  Others may disagree, but I think it’s in Obama’s favor when he shows a little fire and a little anger.  McCain gave a good answer to a stupidly framed “yes or no” question about Russia.  Obama badly flubbed the defense of Israel question; waaaay too professorial and too concerned with refuting a McCain attack that sounded lame anyway.  Again, Obama misses a chance to show a little humility by insisting on proving himself to be the smartest kid in class.  McCain’s answer not much better.  Both of them went with “log cabin” stories about their rearin’.

Published in: on October 7, 2008 at 7:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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