The Debate: Who Won?

The televised debated

The televised debated

In my continuing quest to pay close attention to the most historic election in this country (at least in my lifetime) I listened to most of the debate this evening on my way home from work. I missed maybe the last 15 minutes because I was meeting my girlfriends for our monthly wine and cheese and chocolate gathering. I really need to blog about that more often, maybe when the election is over I can get back to a more balanced approach to my blog. Anyway, I listened as hard as I could, while driving the great slalom course known as Hwy 17. And here is my scoring.

Question One: Where do you stand on the financial recovery tonight?

Results: Although Jim Lehrer was trying his very best to get McCain and Obama to engage each other, they both did an outstanding job to sticking to their respective campaign’s talking points and didn’t really reveal any new information.

My opinion: A tie, no real statements made in this round.

Question two: Are there fundamental differences between you on your approach to lead the country out of this financial crisis?

Results: McCain’s focus is on shutting down earmarks and Obama’s focus is on tax cuts for working families, closing tax loopholes for corporations and rewarding US companies for creating jobs in the US.

My opinion: I decided that Barack Obama’s argument that empowering 95% of working families (defined as incomes below $250K annually) with tax cuts to further stimulate the economy a far more compelling argument that John McCain’s continued rewarding of the financial elites of our country. Also Obama touched on McCain health care plan which taxes employer provided insurance, which I see as one the greatest flaws in McCains proposed policies. My vote goes with Obama on this one.

Question three: As a result of whatever financial bailout plan we finally agree on, what priorities do you think you may need to give up on?

Results: Obama was not specific on which of his programs might need to wait, but when pressed he mentioned that we might need to delay spending on energy to try to and free our dependence on foreign oil. Obama also mentioned the $10 Billion a month spending on Iraq. McCain also was unspecific on programs, but when pushed mentioned a possible spending freeze on all but defense, veteran benefits and entitlement programs.

My opinion: My head literally spun when McCain said spending freeze. First off, I think some entitlement programs need less funding. Secondly I think that was a gross overstatement and we would have been much better served by having some idea of what he is for not just against. Obama all the way on this one.

Question four: Lessons on Iraq?

Results: McCain: ‘we need a better plan before we go to war.’ Obama: ‘why are we even in Iraq when Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are in Afghanistan?’

My opinion: I have thought since day one, the Iraq war was a joke and respect Obama for questioning it to this day. Go Obama.

Question four: More troops to Afghanistan?

Results: Obama said yes and as soon possible. McCain yes but we also need a new strategy.

My opinion: I felt McCain had a very intelligent and nuanced understanding of the issues in Afghanistan. I give this one to McCain.

Question five: Iran’s threat to America right now?

Results: McCain’s position is that Iran with nuclear weapons is a threat to Isreal and Iran is supplying the IED’s to Iraq that kill so many. Let’s impose ‘significant, meaningful sanctions’. Obama said the war in Iraq has strenghtened Iran and a nuclear Iran would set of a middle east arms race. We need to engage in tough direct diplomacy.

My opinion: The debate largely centered on the importance of preconditions and how we define them. McCain believes preconditions are key before any engagement and Obama views them as working out all agreements before meeting, so what is the point of meeting. I believe the greatest detrement to our country under the last 8 years of the Bush administration is the declining respect and opinion of America on the world stage. And one cause of this lack of respect is our complete mishandling of almost every foreign policy relationship we have, even with some of our closest allies. This reason alone is probably the most compelling reason I have for supporting Obama so ardently. And again on this topic I think he came out clearly on top.

At this point I missed the remainder of the debate, so my indepth analysis stops here.

My general impression (at least audibly) was that both candidates were well prepared, both stuck way too much to their talking points. McCain failed to answer the actual question or rebute far more often than Obama. And although the BBC analysis felt McCain was more forceful and perhaps more presidential sounding, and Obama too quick to compliment McCain and more nuanced. I want a more diplomatic and thoughtful person in the White House. So go on Obama, keep up the good work, and the Americans, if they are listening, they will hear you and take you there.

If want to read for yourselves the entire transcript of the debate, you can find it here:

3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Mike Harmon said,

    Well said… Great information, keep up the great work!

  2. 2

    Free Speech said,

    Most of the faces I see on the covers of American music magazines are just dreadful – people with nothing to offer the world at all.StevenPatrickMorrisseySteven Patrick Morrissey, British singer/songwriter, 2004

  3. 3

    A great value of antiquity lies in the fact that its writings are the only ones that modern men still read with exactness.FriedrichWilhelmNietzscheFriedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

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