07 October 2008

2008 Presidential Debate Live Blog #2

7:34: For the first 25 mintues, John McCain was ill at ease and Barack Obama was smooth and fluid. He sharpened in the middle (where Obama seemed flustered) and stayed strong to the end. That said, I'm not sure we'll derive any game-changing soundbites from this debate. Though, after their respective campaigns get done combing through the video, I could be wrong.

Mark Steyn on Obama's Darfur position:
If it's "the right thing to do" to save Darfur, why is it suddenly the wrong thing to do if the Russian guy declines to stick his hand up at the Security Council?

This is poseur moralism, the kind of limp-wristed passivity that finds Obama referring earlier to "the tragedy of 9/11". A tsunami is a tragedy, a terrorist attack that kills thousands of people is an act of war - and a president ought to understand the difference.

7:25: McCain: "Everything I learned about leadership, I learned from a Chief Petty Officer." That's a good moment for John McCain.

Is Russia an Evil Empire under Putin? Clever answer by John McCain: Yes means it's another Cold War. No means I'm ignoring Putin's bad behavior.

If Barack Obama won't even acknowledge the success of The Surge, how can we expect him to execute it and support it in Afghanistan? Or, if he doesn't believe The Surge worked in Iraq, why does he believe it will work in Afghanistan, as he has suggested?

There are serious inconsistencies in Obama's respective policies towards Iraq and Afghanistan.

Barack Obama's position on Iraq changes before my very eyes: 'withdraw over a period of time.' If my ears don't deceive me, it sounds like a re-characterization of his short timeline withdrawal.

: I don't doubt that Obama is correctly pronouncing "Pakistan." But I have always found accent-affecting, like Barack Obama, to be off-putting.

Obama: 'If Osama is in our sights and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to get him, then we'll kill him.'

I like it, but think: Put those words in George Bush's mouth and the leftists would be all up in arms. Hell, not just the leftists, but most of the MSM and other liberal pundits.

What will they say when they hear those words fall from Barack Obama's lips?

Katie asks what is, in my opinion, the first good audience question of the night: What about Pakistani sovreignty? How does it compare to Cambodia during Vietnam? Should we attack?

Underlying all of this is, what is the principle?

Again, Barack Obama sounds a lot like George Bush on how he would decide to attack. This is a strange, hawkish position from a Democrat. Obviously, I agree with it, but I don't believe that Barack Obama actually means it.

Obama's criterion for intervention sounds vaguely familiar. It sounds like the moralistic Bush, neocon doctrine. Only he wouldn't have intervened in Iraq. Even though pulling out of Iraq would have made it look like Darfur and Rwanda.

There is no coherence or cogency to Obama's foreign policy because there is no core principle.

What do the polls say? That's how Obama would govern our foreign policy.

What is the Obama doctrine? About time someone asks Obama what his position is rather than what he is against. Outline your position, Senator.

[Obama's canned response on "I don't understand" prepped by Axelrod & co. after the last debate when McCain pointed out that Obama didn't understand a lot of things.]

McCain: "America is the greatest force for good in the history of the world."

Obama: 'Banks and credit cards go to Delaware (Joe Biden, anyone) because of their loose regulations.'

It's important, on health care, that McCain clearly state that he is not defending the status quo. He needs to acknowledge, upfront, that there are problems, but that government provided health care--DMV health care--is not the answer.

Obama: 'McCain is going to strip away the regulation that makes sure you get your mammograms and maternity [whatever].'

Thank goodness for that.

Snark aside, this raises an interesting point. This is what government health plans do. They fixate on particular procedures regardless of whether they are the most effective or efficient. Recent studies, incidentally, have shown that there is a more effective way of detecting breast cancer than mammograms.

Government mandated health care is not flexible the way a free market solution would be and is.

Obama: "It's easy for us to talk about this during a campaign [...]"

Yeah, Senator Obama, it is. Why, then, should be believe anything you tell us during the campaign?

: McCain has finally hit his stride. Why does it take him so long to get to this point? Who knows? Slow starter, perhaps. Either way, he's finally there and Obama is flustered.

Record vs. rhetoric. This is a clever way to answer anything Obama says on taxes because it casts everything Obama says as empty rhetoric--especially when contrasted with his record. He says he wants to cut taxes. His record says he has never cut taxes--despite promises to do so when he ran for the Senate.

Same reader texts: "Obama sounding too nuanced and labored with his tax talk. This is where we want him." Yes.

John McCain: ' I'm not in favor of tax cuts for the rich. I am in favor of leaving tax rates alone and expanding tax credits for families.'

Finally, John McCain talks about taxes and hits his stride. This is the best I've seen McCain all night and clearly frustrated Barack Obama who wants, now, to for-go the rules and respond to McCain's answer on taxes.

A reader texts: "Re: taxes--Finally, McCain sounds on his game."

Barack Obama is talking about the 'spending side and the revenue side': The Econ guys will like this.

Thus far, Obama is more coherent and organized in his responses. I wonder how this plays to Joe Sixpack and Hockey Moms across America?

Just over 20 minutes into the debate and John McCain is doing himself no favors. Could we get Sarah Palin as a proxy debater for John McCain? The opening to hammer Barack Obama on Fannie Mae was clearly there, but John McCain let Barack Obama off the hook.

It's not looking good.

6:15pm PDT:
Barack Obam, Master History Re-Writer. "I never promoted Fannie Mae."

Why then, pray tell, did Fannie Mae make you, in 3 short years, the 2nd highest recipient of their campaign donations?

6:12pm PDT:
"Senator Obama and his cronies." There it is. The opening Fannie/Freddie salvo.

6:07pm PDT:
McCain: On stabilizing home values.

Didn't see that one coming.

6:03pm PDT:
Obama starts things with his tried and untrue blame of the 'economic policies of the last 8 years.' How will McCain respond? Me too populism or hard-hitting criticism of Obama's friendship-in-aid of Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac?

6:00pm PDT:
Andy McCarthy on how McCain should greet Obama:
The initial greeting between the candidates is something people watch closely. If McCain treats Obama like he's a pal and then goes for the jugular, he will look terrible and be seen as phony. The idea is to shake hands in a way that conveys, "I'm polite but I'd rather be having a root canal than shaking hands with you."
5:57pm PDT: One reader tells me: 'I hope John McCain asks Barack Obama about Bill Ayers.'

Hopefully he does more than ask about Bill Ayers.

5:50pm PDT:
Thanks to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit for the link.

5:47pm PDT:
What is Barack Obama's plan tonight? Drive home what everyone knows--this is a change environment. Everything is change. Look the questioner in the eye. If McCain wants to talk about the past, Obama wants to talk about your future (ed. note: unless it's George Bush & Iraq, of course).

5:37pm PDT:
The reason the SNL sketch was taken down, supposedly. According to this report, Herb & Marion Sandler are real people and the SNL sketch said they should be shot.

5:22pm PDT:
Beware Axelrod's astroturfing on the townhall attendees and the preselected questions. This is what he does. And he's good at it (creating an alternative reality, completely separate to the one people actually live in).

Welcome to the 3rd OL&L live blog
of this election season and 2nd Presidential Debate live blog. I'm switching back and forth between MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN.

Like everyone else, I agree that John McCain needs to hit Barack Obama on his obstruction of Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac regulation. Here's how I think he should do it:

- Wait for Obama to try and pin the blame for the current economic crisis on the 'Bush/McCain philosophy of the last 8 years.'
- Once he raises the regulation specter, John McCain should specifically cite Bush's attempt to regulate Fannie/Freddie in 2003 and his own attempt in 2005.
- And then he needs to pound Obama and Congressional Democrats for opposing and stonewalling every attempt to reform Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.

Waiting for Obama to take the first shot puts McCain in position to make the counterpunch. This way he doesn't appear to be the aggressor.

The facts are on John McCain's side. Thus far, Obama has successfully used the narrative of this nebulous 'philosophy' which he says is to blame for the crisis. It's simple, but wrong and unconvincing. McCain needs to make the case, backed by facts anyone can see on youtube, that Obama and his Democrat friends are responsible for the crisis.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.