September 27, 2008

The Tattlesnake – The Rate the Debate Edition

And, Don’t Worry, I’ll Keep It Brief…

The best and the worst of the first presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain in Oxford, Mississippi, Sept. 26, 2008, plus a little free advice to Barack:

– Obama’s Best Moments: Nailing McCain on how often he’s been wrong about Iraq; hanging Junior around McCain’s neck like a millstone.

– McCain’s Best Moments: Remembering part of his record accurately, if not all of it, and the names of some obscure foreign leaders, which he probably practiced all afternoon to pronounce correctly.

– Obama’s Worst Moments: Letting McCain interrupt him and get away with it, and the unanswered charges by McCain, such as the $900-some million in earmarks supposedly racked up by Obama. Also, agreeing with McCain too often.

– McCain’s Worst Moments: Aside from accidentally admitting, as Keith Olbermann pointed out last night, that the US had tortured people in their custody in defiance of international and national law, after all these years of BushCo denials, McCain brought up Sarah Palin briefly and expressed his pride in her. Hasn’t this doofus been paying attention? She’s a disaster on wheels, and she just dropped 14 points in the polls.

– Worst Attempt at a Joke: McCain, slamming federal research money for studying bear DNA: “I don’t know if it’s a criminal issue or a paternal issue.” Head smack! He meant ‘paternity.’

– Best Physical Appearance: Obama — he looked calm and presidential throughout the debate.

– Worst Physical Appearance: McCain’s hunched and hunkered-down stature, and grimacing during some of Obama’s answers – he looked like he was either trying to pinch a loaf in his Depends or do a bad impersonation of Don Rickles.

– Best Debate ‘Strategery’ (a tie): Obama for pounding McCain with the hideous specter of the loathed Dubya and staying cool, fool, in the face of McCain’s attacks; McCain for pummeling Obama on his lack of ‘understanding’ and ‘naiveté,’ even though it opened the way for Obama to prove him wrong, which he did.

– Free Advice to Obama: You can’t let McCain assail your credibility and not respond. When he brings up a specific thing, like the earmarks, you must quickly address it or risk leaving the impression that it’s true. In the case of the earmarks, if it was too complicated within the debate restrictions to defend them, point out McCain’s earmarks as well.

– Also, here are some lines Obama should have used Friday (or maybe not):

When McCain was talking about visiting the mountains in Afghanistan:
“John, why didn’t you save yourself the trouble and just go to the highest building in Kabul and look at those mountains from that vantage point? By your campaign’s standards, that would make you an expert.”

On McCain’s repeated ‘didn’t win a Miss Congeniality award in Congress’ tripe:
“No, John, and you’re not going to win Miss Congeniality this year, either.”

On McCain constantly stressing his experience and long record:
“John, it’s clear you’ve been in Washington too long. How are you going to change things when you’ve been such an insider?”

On McCain and his support for veterans and the military:
“Then, John, why didn’t you support the new G.I. Bill to expand benefits for our veterans?”

On McCain lying about the Kissinger quote regarding no pre-conditions for talks with Iran:
“I encourage everyone with access to a computer to check on Kissinger’s comment and we’ll see who’s right here.”

– Conclusion: A draw. Each side walked away with something: In Obama’s case, he demonstrated he had the smarts, toughness, maturity and poise to be president and was no bumbling neophyte on foreign policy or the economy; McCain came off as less erratic and more organized and pointed than usual, and he didn’t lose that famous temper, Sonny, although he still disconcertingly blinks too much.

The Big Media Punditrocracy, though, will probably eventually peg this as a slight victory for McCain, although even some of them were calling it a draw Friday night.

To the voters the choice is clear: You can have an unruffled, intelligent Democrat at the helm, a man who thinks before he speaks and understands the issues; or you can have a cranky old pisspot Republican who, while he may have more experience, also has an intemperate history of making rash and wrong decisions, and has had frequent problems with the truth.


  1. RS, I watched the whole thing last night and cringed every time Obama said, “You’re absolutely right”, knowing the repugs would twist it and use it against him, and they were, even before the debate was over. Studies show that one must make their point in the first sentence because after that the average person is thinking of a response and not listening to any explanation that follows. Obama needs to do that instead of explaining what and why he is about to say something before saying it. I got the impression that the average voter came away with two things more than anything else, McCain’s “Obama is naive, inexperienced and doesn’t understand” and Obama’s “You’re absolutely right.” I’ll bet those phrases have been spliced together and the clips all over the net today portraying Obama agreeing with old Mac. Although the two were repeatedly encouraged to interact, old Johnny just could not bring himself to look at Obama while responding, but smugly looked straight ahead and speaking condescendingly of and to Obama.
    I wish someone would tell Obama to make his points short and to the point using the smallest words possible.

    AND, speaking of lack of experience, naiveté and not understanding, need I mention Sara ‘RELIGIOUS NUTZI’ Palin?

    The New York Times: “Governor Palin’s lack of experience, especially in national security and foreign affairs, raises immediate questions about how prepared she is to potentially succeed to the presidency. That really is the only criterion for judging a candidate for vice president.”

    Comment by kerry — September 27, 2008 @ 5:32 pm

  2. McCain didn’t look like he personally like Obama very much. When Obama was speaking McCain looked like he wanted to slap the piss out of him. Then he’d suck it up and flash one of those creepy grins.

    Comment by Danger Bear — September 27, 2008 @ 10:38 pm

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