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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

16 October 2008

The Thrilla In Hofstra

Does anybody really “win” in a debate? Why is there so much focus on who “won” the third and final presidential debate last night? We Americans are so addicted to short-term results. We want it now. It’s sad. If we have to wait in line for more than a couple of minutes we get testy and annoyed. We don’t just want fast-food, we want instantaneous food.

Pundits were making comparisons to the famous 1975 boxing match between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali - dubbed, "The Thrilla In Manila". I don't go in for such hyperbole though, however valid the comparison may be.

It’s not about winning a lousy debate – it’s about convincing the American public to vote for you. And that result won’t be known for a couple of weeks. One or the other candidate may have come off better, “landed more punches,” or whatever. But at this point people aren’t going to be swayed. There’s a lot of talk about these so-called undecided voters. But I think people have probably pretty much made their mind up by now.

McCain came out of the gate swinging. He was agitated and aggressive, fidgeting like he had to take a bad poop. People were saying stuff like, “Where was this John McCain in the last two debates?” as if this John McCain was the one that more Americans wanted to see and vote for. I disagree.

This John McCain looked tense and uncomfortable in that role. I got the impression that he would really rather not be that guy. He just doesn’t seem as mean-spirited as…oh, Nixon, say. Or Cheney. Still, there were times when I thought McCain was on the verge of losing his temper. At times he seemed flustered to the point of being tongue-tied. I kept nervously watching him and thinking, “This guy is close to the edge. Will he actually lose his temper?”

It was odd, really. At the very beginning and end of the debate, McCain seemed almost downright friendly with Obama. Afterward I heard him say, “Great job,” and it sounded pretty sincere. We voters don’t need to hear that, not after all those potshots he was taking just a few minutes prior. Partisan issues aside, McCain clearly, clearly respects Obama – twice mentioned Obama’s “eloquence.” But this isn’t the high school debate club. Instead of being all lovey-dovey with Obama, I would have preferred a more diffident stance. Maybe not “See you in hell,” but “Well, it’s up to the voters now, Osama...I mean O’Senator. Heh-heh, I hope my mic isn’t still on.” I don’t expect them to be friends.

Personally, I liked McCain much better in the second debate, the “town hall” one. There, I believe he connected with the audience better – certainly connected with me better. He was much more in his element than sitting across the table from his opponent. I could vote for that John McCain. And so it worries me a little to wonder what he’d be like sitting across the table from, oh, Hugo Chavez. Which McCain would show up?

Obama was…Obama. People were using terms like “unflappable,” and “eerily serene,” and even “presidential.” That, he is. Regardless of what you think of Obama’s politics, he is a very good statesman. He was well-prepared and well-rehearsed.

Most likely, last night’s debate changed nothing. If you’re a McCain fan you undoubtedly think he “won.” Same if you’re for Obama.

I really do try to be objective, and look at things from an other-than-political point of view. But as I watched the debate, I kept looking at those guys, trying to “see” either of them as president. And you know, the one I could more clearly see in that role was…

Barack Obama.

It’s gonna be an interesting four years.

Oh, and P.S., Bob Schieffer wasn’t as great as I thought he’d be. If I had been moderator, I would have been cutting off their bullshit answers and saying things like, “JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION, DAMMIT!”


Redlefty said...

I'm with you on the post and the P.S. -- Schieffer had some excellent questions (I loved the one about the deficit) but he didn't get great answers.

Bob said...

Hah! When Schieffer asked if we could be energy-independant in four years, *BOTH* of them dodged the question and mentioned a 10-year figure. Nobody really expects energy-independance inside of four years. Impossible!

Balance the budget? Err...well...maybe. McCain swore he can do it with his hatchet approach while at the same time (out of the other side of his mouth?) saying that programs for "special needs" children need to be expanded. Wanna have it both ways, John?

All politicians make grandiose promises, hoping we'll never hold them to *all* of them. Obama's promises are vast; he seems to have the best intentions (and we all know which road is paved with those). McCain really, really wants us to believe that he's different from Bush. That is his greatest challenge, and I'm not at all sure the American people are buying it although it very well might be true.

Funny, but I'd sort of like to give McCain a chance. I'm voting for Obama though. Out with the old!

Anonymous said...

When I watch the various news stations, I get a kick out of hearing commentators use the expression,"he/she looked very Presidential..."

George Bush IS a President and when I see him on TV lately, he ain't looking too Presidential, ya know what I mean?

Over the 20 years I've been in sales with different companies, many customers were surprised to find out that I wasn't the owner.

I guess during those times I , "looked very ownerlike." ;-)

I agree with you Bob, it's going to be an interesting 4 years, no matter who wins. (hopefully McCain)


Bob said...

Funny how we come away with different perspectives. Like you, Bob, I try to watch objectively. Obama is likeable, there is no doubt about it. But I thought McCain was brilliant to make "Joe the Plumber" a focal point. Of course the Dems and the media have tried to discredit him ever since, but Joe himself is absolutely not the point. It's all about what Obama said back to him -- that he believes in sharing the wealth all around (paraphrase, but that's the gist). That is not free market capitalism. He wants to punish you for making money and succeeding; it's just that simple.

You are right, Barack Obama is statesman-like and presidential. And I have no fear of him as president as any kind of mad-man or bad person. I think he's a good guy. I do fear a Dem president and a Dem Congress. And I fear what Pelosi, Frank and Reid will try to do with one of their own in the White House.

I thought Schieffer was hands-down the best moderator of all the moderators of the debates.

Anonymous said...

Think of it this way. The balance of the Supreme Court is dangerously shifting to the right with 6 Republican appointed vs 2 Democrat appointed. The next round of appointees need to be made by a Democrat.