Saturday, September 27, 2008

Politics: Thoughts on the First Presidential Debate

My immediate reaction was that it was a draw. Both candidates essentially presented their campaign platforms on the various issues, and the polls that show Obama winning the debate largely reflect that most of the people watching were sympathetic to the views he expressed. I include myself among them; I just don't have any faith in Obama's willingness to see them through. And to be perfectly honest, he seems more interested in slagging what's come before than with offering his vision for the future.

I understand a lot of people were put off by McCain's condescending attitude during the second half of the debate, but it's not something I care about: I'm more interested in what they say rather than their manner. Obama was plenty rude himself, anyway, with the constant interruptions and efforts to talk over McCain's answers. Unfortunately, McCain starting doing it to Obama towards the end, and we just ended up with a lot of cross-talk noise.

Neither candidate distinguished themselves when it came to Lehrer's question about what they were willing to sacrifice in terms of their agendas due to the money that will inevitably by sucked up by the Wall Street disaster. They both came across as evasive.

I was really put off by Obama's response to McCain's boiler-plate GOP nonsense about taxes. He still won't counter McCain by pointing to the Bill Clinton example with regard to the nation's tax code. It's very simple: if one raises taxes on those in the top bracket and lowers them for those in the lower brackets, more money gets pumped into the economy because those in the lower brackets are going to spend it, and every dollar spent in the economy has a snowball effect. Businesses have more income from increased sales, and the greater savings on the lower end ultimately leads to increased entrepeneurship and product innovation. (The rich ultimately make more money, so it's to their benefit, too.) But give the breaks to the affluent instead, as Dubya has done, and everything stagnates. The proof is in the pudding: the Clinton approach demonstrably works, and the Dubya version demonstrably doesn't. Obama should be saying that if we do things his way, which resembles Bill Clinton's, we'll be that much closer to getting the Clinton economy back. Which do you want, the Clinton/Obama/Democratic economy or the Bush/McCain/GOP economy? Doing that would immediately frame the discussion starkly in Obama's favor. But he won't do it, because he can't bring himself to identify with the Democratic Party or its past leaders. It seems that everything has to be about him, or he won't acknowledge it apart from tearing it down.

The debate changed nothing for me: I won't vote for McCain in any case, and Obama is still too repulsive for me to consider supporting. I support Democrats, not callow egomaniacs who see the party as a means to an end in their quest for self-aggrandizement.

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