Saturday, September 27, 2008

Debate #1, or "Campaign Ads (Live)"?

Last night's debate between John McCain and Barack Obama simply felt like each respective nominee's campaign ads greatest hits, albeit performed live. They didn't really answer Jim Lehrer's questions straightforwardly, nor did they really listen to each other or understand the other's nuanced views. In summation:

1. It was a bash Bush fest. It's a big "duh" for Democrat Obama to do it, and a slightly tougher act for Republican McCain to throw the Republican President under the "Straight Talk" Express.

2. McCain didn't listen to Obama's sentiments congratulating General Petraeus' surge strategy and the troops' bravery in execution. McCain continually insisted that Obama still didn't like the outcome of the surge, even after Obama's statements.

3. Obama didn't listen to McCain's statements to distance himself from the Bush Administration, in which McCain highlighted his votes against Bush's agenda and even comparing Obama's "stubbornness" to Bush's. Obama continually insisted that McCain is the same as Bush, voting with him 90% during the past seven-plus years.

4. To his credit, McCain didn't lose his cool, as anticipated by his detractors.

5. To his credit, Obama frequently employed a classy debate/persuasive tactic: The concession and refutation: "McCain was right about X, but ultimately, it is Y. On the other hand, I can do Z better." Yes, it's straight out of English 101 essay writing for us college-educated folk - and you fancy prep school folk probably learned it in high school.

6. The partisan hacks most likely saw one of two debates (depending on what side they're on), and adamantly believe their candidate schooled the other, to the "despair" of the opposing viewpoints. The English language - likely spoken language as a whole - is definitely flawed when it comes to transmitting direct, singular meaning. There are too many multiple meanings in words, which leads to all sorts of political spin. For all its flaws (0.999... = 1 for some reason), maybe everyone should talk in maths, or at least in mathematical proofs.

Anyway, while this first debate was quite flat - the hype of McCain's campaign suspension actually had more substance (ironically) - I can't wait for the Palin vs. Biden debate this Thursday, as well as the last two Presidential ones.

Until then, be sure to fact check all the candidates' statements, misstatements, and outright propaganda at FactCheck.org.

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