Saturday September 27, 2008
I’m biased, but after watching last night’s debate, I felt Obama clearly came out ahead. My big reservation about him throughout the campaign for the Democratic nomination was all the poetry and hopemongering; last night impressed me because it was all prose and policy specifics. Obama drew some criticism for sounding like a technocrat, but I (as, admittedly, a voter who is going to vote for Obama no matter what) wanted to hear him exhibit that Clinton-esque mastery of the details; to me, it was the one qualification for presidential readiness I wasn’t sure about, and now I’m beyond sure.
And while it may be true that Obama played too much defense, there were a few counterpunches that stood out for me. One was Obama’s direct, unequivocal statement to McCain that “you were wrong” on Iraq. There were smaller ones too, like his response to McCain’s comments on the business tax. And, while some commenters have suggested that Obama sounded petulant and childish when he responded to McCain’s continued cynical exploitation of that Iraq veteran’s bracelet by saying, “John, I have a bracelet too,” my response was, “About time he pointed that out.” And I also thought he scored points by looking directly into the camera, and, even more importantly, by addressing McCain directly when McCain was focused entirely on the people in the room and seemed loathe to acknowledge that his opponent was even on stage with him.
“John McCain keeps telling you I’m going to raise your taxes. Let me be absolutely clear: If you make less than a quarter of a million dollars a year, you will get a tax cut under my administration; if you make more than that, I will ask you shoulder a little more of the burden, because you can afford to. What John McCain really means is that I’m going to raise taxes for people like John McCain—people who can’t keep track of how many houses they own. If you’re doing so well that you’re not even sure how many houses you have, isn’t it fair to ask for a greater contribution when we’re facing the worst financial crisis since Great Depression?”
And, on McCain’s distortions and misrepresentations:
“When John opposed George Bush eight years ago, I saw a principled fighter done in by smear tactics. I didn’t agree with his positions, but I admired his integrity. I don’t see that John McCain on stage with me tonight. What happened to the straight talk, John? Did you decide that you’d rather lose your principles than lose an election? After eight years of the most unprincipled administration we’ve ever seen, we need a president who will never abandon his principles, not four more years of lies.”