Post-Debate Thoughts

On Friday, John McCain and Barack Obama squared off in their first debate. Here are a few quick thoughts:

•    Although I wasn’t surprised, I was nonetheless disappointed that no one acknowledged James Meredith, the first African American to attend University of Mississippi. If not for Meredith’s courageous fight against state-sponsored terrorism 46 years ago, Obama would not have been able to debate there last Friday. At the very least, he should have been an invited guest.
•    By far, this was Obama’s strongest performance. Cleary mindful of critiques that he is too esoteric and longwinded –some of us would say thoughtful and complex– Obama came out of the gate with high energy and succinct points.  Also, he appeared more confident than normal (which is no small feat for a man who makes his own presidential seals) and didn’t appear frustrated when McCain applied pressure.
•    Neither candidate did an effective job explaining the consequences of the bailout plan for their social agendas. While this is virtually a moot point with respect to McCain, who wants to shrink every sector of government except for military, it raised a few questions about the viability of Obama’s proposed plans.
•     Is it really necessary for candidates to give Israel a shout-out at every debate?
•    John McCain repeated some variation of the phrase “Obama doesn’t understand” seven times during the debate. Most likely, he was attempted to speak to undecided voters, many of whom have lingering doubts about Obama’s experience and intelligence. While this scripted tactic may have been an effective political move, though post-debate polls suggest otherwise, it amounted to one of the most pejorative and condescending gestures in recent memory.
•    In his post-debate speeches, Obama keeps pointing out that McCain’s failure to say “middle-class” during the debate is an index of his indifference to their struggles. Based on this logic, how should I interpret his failure to say “poor people” or “black people” in the same debates?
•    Overall, Obama did a better job of explaining his points and challenging his opponents. Nevertheless, he found himself playing defense and conceding unnecessary points to John McCain. If he wants to convince undecided voters that he’s the better choice, he’ll have to refine his strategy for the next debate.

39 thoughts on “Post-Debate Thoughts

  1. Ok so nobody blew me away in terms of platform or presence. McCain came across as extremely inconsistent, out of touch, and downright scared to be onstage with Obama I mean damn how can you share the stage for over an hour and not once look your debate opponent in the eyes? That’s one of the most important pieces of participating in a debate. It was interesting how McCain seem to get his Depends in a bunch with the topic of Iran came up. I wasn’t completely impressed with Obama but at least the points he made were much clearer than McCain’s. For all of McCain’s alleged foreign policy experience he should a least be able to pronounce names correctly, that kind of stupidity garners no worldwide respect at all. Bottom line while I’m still undecided I am having a hard time trusting anything McCain says. How he can say with a straight face that America is safer since 9/11 yet the individuals responsible for that tragedy are still on the loose is an enormous joke. I’m not riding with Flowbama yet but I’m definitely shifting in that direction.

  2. i hear you DC…and McCain pretty much sealed it up with this incredible flip flop on the economy. He went from the economy being fundamentally strong to suspending his campaign to “fix” the crisis, AND he folded under the pressure and ended up debating anyways.

    Add that to the idiotic selection of Palin…and that’s all i needed to know about McCain.

    Obama didn’t do as good as i thought, but did what he needed to do.

    Next up, the Palin/Biden debate.
    *and its whack that the debate has different guidelines so we can’t see Palin respond directly to Biden and vice versa*

  3. Great analysis DC!

    I agree with you. Especially on this:

    “For all of McCain’s alleged foreign policy experience he should a least be able to pronounce names correctly, that kind of stupidity garners no worldwide respect at all.”

    Mending relationships abroad is THE MAIN reason why I’m supporting Obama.

    But I was extremely shocked to hear you are “undecided”. So if McCain blew Barack away in the debate he could have possibly gained your vote???

  4. Nope Tanya I think this election is too important so I can’t see myself making a decision after the first debate. I hope to have made a choice by the third debate which should solidify my position.

  5. Marc,

    Reading your “Post debate Thoughts” triggered contemplation on points I haven’t considered before. I guess that’s what a good professor does!

    “In his post-debate speeches, Obama keeps pointing out that McCain’s failure to say “middle-class” during the debate is an index of his indifference to their struggles. Based on this logic, how should I interpret his failure to say “poor people” or “black people” in the same debates?”

    Why did you have to go there??? (but good question)

    “Is it really necessary for candidates to give Israel a shout-out at every debate?”

    I thought I was the only one annoyed by that. I love Jewish people, I really do. I grew up with a WHOLE LOT of them. They are good and honest people, by and large.

    But I’m all for Palestine. Israel is dead wrong on so much. I wish America would stop backing them. (but it makes the US gov’t feel better about itself to do so)

  6. DC,

    Does that mean you are, at least, considering McCain? If McCain blows Barack away in the next few debates, could he win your vote?

    (I just thought everyone here hated all Republicans and would NEVER vote for one.)

  7. Yes Tanya I’m considering both candidates and unlike many other voters I am using the debates to help me decide. Based on what I’ve just seen with the first debate I am leaning toward the Demo ticket but I refuse to make a snap decision until I’ve heard and read all there is to be said and written. Right now I’m torn between an old-ass liar with a deer caught in headlights running mate who seems out of her league and and a charismatic new jack who I hope continues to be as specific as possible regarding his platform and administrative agenda. I still don’t know what to make of Biden.

  8. well, i just want it to be known that i don’t hate anyone….maybe his policies and ideas, but i dont hate anyone….sean hannity and Bill O is as close as it gets to hate…

  9. Cosign Clif I don’t hate anybody, I may disagree with a POV but hate? Nope, entirely too destructive to my overall energy. I’d rather build with sense than destroy with hate.

  10. Clif,

    Billy O is a racist! I’ll give you that. But it seems like he’s growing out of it, and he’s always on point with his positions and analysis – in my opinion.

    Hannity, on the other hand, IS NOT a racist. Hannity is a good dude. He’s just blunt and direct, and in a PC atmosphere where everyone hides their true feelings and minces words, Hannity may come across harsh and racist, but he’s NOT!

  11. Fu** that, I’ll never vote Republican. The whole Republican platform wreaks of intolerance and selfishness. I don’t see how any “real” Christian could vote Republican.

  12. well Tanya, that is cool that you believe that…i dont agree, but that’s cool.

    and i don’t know, i really shy away from using terms like racist or hate…they are very…strong. I don’t know if Bill or Hannity or racists. I do know that they both have said some very disrespectful things regarding people of color.

    but i don’t know, how is it possible to prove the difference between someone saying something racist, and them actually being a full time racist? (not being sarcastic)

    But what about this no deal on the bailout plan? Is McCain in Washington…being that he is so passionate about fixing the economy…

  13. LMAO!

    Logic I know your depressed about the economy and not thinking clearly, so I’ll give you a pass on that ignorance!

  14. Clif,

    “how is it possible to prove the difference between someone saying something racist, and them actually being a full time racist?”

    Great question!

    We all say “racist” things at times, and we all have our prejudices.

    For me, it’s very easy to tell the difference. I can’t explain it. You just have to pick up on their non-verbal cues, mentality, and their subconscious interaction with others. Racism is something you see, not something you hear.

    But if you take a course on Race and Racism they’ll tell you it is afforded by power and can only be executed by that power (institutional or otherwise). But I think that’s more along the lines of discrimination and bigotry.

    I know a perfectly powerless person can be racist as all hell.

  15. BTW – The “no deal” on the bail-out was the right decision! I told you guys that was a bad idea, and I’m glad Congress realized it!

  16. McCain seemed lost throughout the whole debate…
    referring to old war stories instead of specifics on
    where he stood….then the whole not looking at Barack.
    That straight out of Bush…(remember….he said your
    not even on my short list)….I am not on any fence.
    I hate when Repubs…act above basic issues.Like they are
    better then regular folks who pay they’re salaries.
    Barack is doing fine….I just wish we’d elect him already.
    Before the Repubs try to get another check for something
    they wont do…..

  17. Marc,

    We really do live in a society that MUST give a shoutout to Israel. If you aren’t for Israel, then you’re against it. It’s a bad situation because I’m with Tanya on this one. Israel is effed up in a lotta ways.

    Aside from that, a) there are enough Jewish people to shift momentum away from Obama and b) the Evangelical right is pro-Israel, and some of the Independents (read: other white voters) and him not doing that would be a death knell if McCain capitalized on it. He also has to do that to continue to counter the Obama Waffles-type attacks that he’s still a Muslim because he went to Kenya and put on traditional garb–so I guess when these fools go back to German and Scotland they all of a sudden become Lutheran and Irish Roman Catholic when they bust out their leiderhosen and kilts.

  18. DC,

    I give you props for not going the partisan route. I would caution you against making your decision based on, so called, debates. These were performances and the candidates must put on a good show.

    On Hannity:

    Hannity is definitely a racist, at least on his show. But the kind of racist is important. I have no doubts that he’s not a Klucker and is probably repulsed by such overt hate. He’s just sincerely ignorant and conscientiously stupid. That’s the best I can do with his hostility to the predominant black worldview. Is he like that in real life? Who knows. I don’t know the guy. I can give him the benefit of the doubt.

    On who won the debate:

    I think O won the debate. Props to CNN HD for the cool ticker on the bottom. Turns out their focus groups were pretty representative. Obama did better with Independents than McCain. In my book, that means you won. Partisans seem to always love who their horse does in a race unless they really flub it like Bush did.

    On the bailout:

    There are no atheists in fox holes, and there are no market fundamentalists in market crises. Ideology is soft think.

  19. Logic,

    Tanya is right. The GOP (Christian Right) is quintessentially Christian, Constantinian to be exact. The kind that is concerned with power, unity from conformity, righteousness by strength (might makes right), and empire. Once Constantine made the Roman Empire a Christian Empire, my religion suffered. That ish is dangerous because it can easily metastasize into something sinister.

    I always remember bad scenes like the Inquisition or slave theology to remind myself when Christians with power do tons of evil. They said they were doing as God intended, complete with Bible quotes, and authorization (in their minds at least) of the Holy Spirit. I don’t think anyone in that group got up every morning and said to themselves, “Today I’m doing Satan’s work!” Remember: sincere and conscientious!

    The kind of religion that Jesus taught was not like that, obviously.

  20. “perjorative and condescending . . .”

    Why? Because, McCain is speaking the truth about the messiah’s experience and (lack of) ability to lead?

    Hell, the messiah couldn’t even bring together the fucking democrats in the house to pass the bail out bill!!! He’s a joke. I guess they voted against it because ACORN’s goodies got stripped from the bill.

  21. R.oB.,

    Those Christians were just like you Rob – incapable of interpreting scripture properly.

    Have you figured out what Luke 14:26 means and how it relates to your misguided, “give money to any lazy bum who asks for it and that will heal poverty” theory yet?

    “If any one comes to me and does not HATE his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26

  22. Hello Marc,
    Greetings from Germany. I’ve been noticing you on O’Reilly’s show for the past year as my satellite connection gives us Fox News among others. I have to say that I bow to your courage of facing O’Reilly and at least trying to get your points across to him. Luckily for you, you can speak quickly between his attacks on your points. I admire you for that and decided to check out your web page. I’ve recently had to force myself to watch O’Reilly because of his attacks on people from the left.

    I’ve been an independent all of my life and never had much energy for politics until I moved to Germany two years ago. But unemployment and waiting for my (british) husband to finish his MBA gave me lots of time to research and follow politics. I didn’t vote at all in 2000 and in 2004, lead by the MSM, I voted (shameful now) for Bush.

    Since Obama announced his campaign, I’ve been rooting for him. I had already read his book and since then have become knowledgeable about his beliefs which match mine.

    I just wanted to say that I appreciate your attempts to deliver our (looney, O’Reilly’s word) left side of the political spectrum and think you’re doing a brilliant job in it. Keep it up Brave soul.

    Lisa, formally from (red) Indiana

  23. Tanya,

    If you want to discuss the Bible, show some respect. Ask me what my theories are instead of assuming what they are and I’ll state them. This marks at least three times that you’ve assumed all manner of theories, experiences, etc. about me, and I’m losing patience. You have no idea how I would attack poverty and I know this from your statement. Thus far my entire contention has been that the GOP hardly represents Jesus’ agenda. The only thing I have said about that agenda is that it is neither a Republican nor a Democrat one. Now if you want my take on how our socio-economic-political system can eliminate party, ask and I’ll tell you.

    And while we are on the topic of “proper” interpretation, let me say 3 Baptist-preacher “quick” things.

    1) Two Sundays ago, my pastor gave an important sermon on the Bible. Basically, the upshot was that its main purpose is for us to know God rather than win arguments or stoke you self-righteousness. I agree. So I’m going to try and use Scripture to build up rather than tear down. Debate is bloodsport and not appropriate with the Bible. I can play tit for tat with Bible verses till the cows come home, but that’s useless.

    2) While I respect your beliefs, I don’t subscribe to them and probably never will given your tactics so far. For all your bluster of knowledge over and against our relative ignorance, you have yet to demonstrate a sufficient command of the material in question for me to trust your judgment. Any interpretation of the Bible to be authoritative has to be made with full knowledge of its history: the who, what, where, and why. I dropped a few facts about the New Testament that earned me a shrill, angry response that was long on contradiction but short on substance. If you don’t know like I know, why do that? It hurts you, wastes my time and is basically an abuse of Scripture. I’m not playing that game anymore. I’m happy to share what I believe, but I’m not playing gotcha to score debate points anymore. (As for Luke, that verse and those that follow speak of discipleship in Christ and the commitment he demands to be his disciple. You are all in or not at all with JC. If you have something else, by all means share.)

    3) While I am positive you didn’t intend this, I read your whole “poor” doesn’t mean poor this way in my heart of hearts: “Don’t believe what the Bible says, but what I tell you it says. Don’t trust your prayer, your bible study, your textbooks, your research, your pastor, or your friends (conservative and liberal). Basically all the avenues God has corrected you, taught you, and nurtured you. Believe me when I say up is down, black is white, good is…” So while I try to keep my mind open it’s not so open “falls out” as they say.

  24. Personally, I thought that it was a tie. I thought that Obama did good on the economic issues, while McCain edged out Obama on foriegn policy issues.

  25. I hear you R.oB. I’ve been on debate teams so I understand part of it is just ‘show.’ The debates aren’t the sole factor in my choice, I just expect that by the end of the third debate I’ll be much closer to making my choice than I am right now.

  26. LOL knowledge_base. Boy did they vote it down! 133 voted no, compared to 95 Dems. It’s not hard to see why the GOP voted it down: it’s an election year and it don’t look good for the GOP. The guys at Freakonomics did an interesting analysis:

    h t t p : / /

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