Debate #3 (OR Liveblogging the agony)

October 15, 2008

Once again, this feels like a draw to me. I don’t think either candidate did anything of note. I really don’t know how those “undecideds” would react. I think the status quo continues.

Of course, this probably means Obama won.


And it’s over. Phew.

8:27 – Interestingly, candidates will be allocated time for closing arguments…  I guess that’s because it’s the last debate.

8:21 – McCain also says that you can’t throw money at the problem…  and then says you need to reward good teachers. If not money, what exactly are they getting?

8:19 – Free market McCain talks about charter schools and the competition they provide. I’m still not sure how I feel about that, but it seems like we’re giving up on other schools, and “failed schools” don’t ever seem to close, which means someone will always be attending the “failed schools” and that doesn’t seem good.

8:16 – Obama talks about investing in education, and its value for our future. I can only imagine that McCain will complain about Obama wanting to spend money.

8:14 – Once again, Obama discusses bringing opposing sides together.

8:12 – Obama has been doing a good job of saying that McCain is lying without actually saying he’s lying.

8:08 – I’m glad we’re spending a little time talking about the Supreme Court…  McCain says a bunch of reasonable stuff…  followed by saying that he’d look for a strict constitutionalist.

8:07 – Does it feel like McCain’s talking like he’s running a campaign better suited to 1988?

8:05 – McCain really doesn’t spend any time to understand his opponent’s plan in order to refute it.

8:00 – McCain brings up the mythical fine on small business owners, which Obama debunked at the last debate.

7:58 – Obama clearly lays down his health care plan. It’s comprehensive, understandable, and complete. McCain tosses a bunch of junk out, as though it’s a plan.

7:55 – McCain has no doubt that Obama opposes free trade and will raise taxes. I guess that confirms that McCain hasn’t really been listening to Obama during these debates.

7:54 – I swear I can see steam coming out of McCain’s ears…

7:52 – Condescension alert! McCain thinks Obama should travel to Columbia, so he can understand the workers there…   calls the free trade agreement a no-brainer. I don’t suppose he means that supports have no brains…

7:50 – McCain supports retraining our workers through our community colleges…   I wonder how he plans to fund that.

7:49 – Additionally, I’m working really hard to overlook the constant references to “clean coal” and “offshore drilling” …

7:47 – Does anyone else feel like McCain’s answers about energy are just a list of terms that he doesn’t seem to understand.

7:45 – McCain continues to define everything as right and wrong…  Obama’s conversation has been, all evening, about synthesizing multiple points of view.

7:43 – I think McCain needs a new irony detector…  he says Palin’s “breath of fresh air” will sweep out the old boy network…  am I the only one who hears that and thinks it odd coming from, literally, an old boy?

7:42 – McCain claims that Palin is a role model to women…  women like her pregnant daughter?

7:41 – While Obama takes a question about VPs, I want to take a minute to express my irritation at how rudely McCain has been interrupting Obama all night.

7:39 – McCain pivots all the way back to not raising taxes for anyone. I really wonder about this strategy…  Obama says he won’t raise taxes for 95% of people. Is McCain pandering to that remaining 5%? Doesn’t it seem like Obama’s willing to cede their votes? Who is McCain winning here?

7:37 – Obama takes the opportunity to, once again, describe his history with Ayers. While sounding more rational that McCain’s explanations, it’s probably only believable if you trust Obama.

7:36 – McCain brings up ACORN…  says something about “greatest fraud” …  you’re kidding, right?

7:32 – Feels like McCain is trying the attack of a thousands mosquitoes…  lots of little crap from every direction. And, when defending his positions, McCain makes some equally preposterous claims which may or may not be true. I guess if you support and trust McCain, you’ll believe him. If you don’t, you probably won’t.

7:29 – Obama tries to pivot back to the issues. I think he was moderately successful, but when you have to cede the microphone to McCain, who obviously doesn’t want to talk about those same issues, it’s really difficult to change the topic.

7:28 – In just about every answer, McCain seems to just toss a whole bunch of unsubstantiated claims out there in the hope that something will stick.

7:24 – McCain tries to pin the tenor of the campaign on Obama’s unwillingness to do joint town halls.

7:22 – McCain tried to forcefully proclaim that he is not President Bush. Obama takes a moment to say that may be true, but his policies look very similar.

7:20 – McCain complains about the size of the deficit…  but he doesn’t seem to be aware that the war he’s supported so strongly have contributed to.

7:18 – McCain is all over the map…  house values, spending freeze, ending ethanol subsidies, off shore drilling, nuclear power, earmarks, line item veto…  I’m not sure how he got from point A to point B.

7:17 – I really don’t understand McCain’s obsession with propping up home values…  isn’t that kinda like reinflating the bubble?

7:15 – Obama turns the non-sensical “we can’t afford anything now” question into the value of investment by talking about *gasp* return on investment (even if he doesn’t use that term).

7:14 – McCain doesn’t want to spread the wealth around. Did you hear that Mr. Joe Sixpack? McCain doesn’t want you to have a little more wealth.

7:10 – I’m really intrigued that we’re talking about Joe the plummer…  I have no idea what circumstances Joe the Plummer is in, and what his company’s prospects are.  If we don’t understand the premise of the dialog, the argument makes no sense.

7:08 – McCain looks into the camera and promises Joe (Sixpack?) to provide health care to all his employees. Still not sure how he’ll manage to pull that off with his plan.

7:07 – McCain is actually looking at Obama, but looks like he’s holding his breath.

7:05 – Obama gives a little underhand dig at McCain’s “fundamentals are strong” statement.

7:04 – McCain seems to be a little too focused on anger. Are you angry about that?

7:02 – McCain actually spoke to Obama…  what does this mean?

Just under 5 minutes until this here thing starts…  We’ll see how painful an experience this is. Fortunately, through this blog-thing, I can share my agony.

Debate Liveblogging (OR Out in public)

October 7, 2008

Once again, nothing groundbreaking here…   I can’t imagine any sort of significant shift as a result of tonight. There was a decent amount of re-hash (which is to be expected). My biased perspective says that Obama did a much better job of tying various strands of an issue together, and relating them to things that voters can understand.

For his part, McCain did well, but not nearly well enough to put a dent in Obama’s increasing lead. So, the status quo should continue tomorrow.

8:30 – And it’s over….   phew.  That seemed really long, and rather boring.

8:29 – McCain: We’ll be talking about countries in the future that we don’t know where to find on a map now…  you mean, like Pakistan bordering Iraq?

8:28 – Obama’s final statement draws a smattering of applause from the crowd here.

8:25 – Last question! “What don’t you know, and how will you learn it?”  Interesting.

8:21 – McCain: “If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, all the other countries would acquire them” … really? Iran wouldn’t want to retain their superiority in the region?

8:20 – McCain jumps on the energy aspect…  but appears to not finish his thought.

8:19 – Obama ties the distant Russia issue to something we can understand: oil.

8:15 – McCain thinks advocating for Ukraine and Georgia to be in NATO will discourage Russia. I read somewhere that Russians feel threatened by NATO encroaching on their borders.

8:14 – Stop the presses!!! McCain just agreed with Obama…  didn’t specify on what, though.

8:11 – “Telegraphing punches” …  I really don’t quite see how what Obama is saying is “telegraphing punches” …

8:10 – Obama hits McCain with the “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” thing…  a couple women perform a “terrorist fist jab” in celebration.

8:07 – McCain endorses the politics of secrecy…  don’t tell anyone anything… keep everything to yourself… lie to people, etc…  don’t be open and honest. It might make sense in a foreign policy forum (although I doubt it), but I don’t think that’s what I’m looking for in a president.

8:06 – Is McCain going to say that Obama doesn’t understand?

8:04 – A question on Pakistan gives Obama a chance to tie Iraq policies to our struggles in Pakistan.

8:03 – The timbre of McCain’s voice is much different in this setting… he speaks quietly and urgently. Still, it feels somewhat condescending to me.

8:03 – McCain makes the case for Obama again… it “requires a cool hand at the tiller” …  Do we really think McCain is a “cool hand”?

8:02 – The “my friends” line is really rubbing this crowd the wrong way…  there’s at least one groan every time McCain says it.

8:00 – Brokaw wants to talk about the use of force in the absence of national security threats. This seems like an obscure line of questioning…  I’m not sure that this is anywhere near the forefront of most voters’ minds.

7:58 – Obama promptly throws Iraq in McCain’s face…  the crowd here loves it.

7:56 – McCain says that the use of our strength needs to rely on the judgment of when to intervene and when not to…  when listing those “right” things he’s supported, he didn’t list Iraq (part 2).

7:54 – Taking a breath to look around the room. Many more engaged faces…  given the noises, they seem ready to jump on the next goofy thing out of McCain’s mouth.

7:53 – Obama immediately discredits McCain’s claims about Obama’s plan…  McCain’s constant attacks seem less and less grounded in reality.

7:52 – Brokaw wants to know if health care is a right, privilege, or responsibility. McCain: responsibility. Obama: Right. Hmm….

7:48 – McCain puts a nice shiny coat on his terrible health care plan by avoiding the question. He avoids it because he wants to treat health care as a commodity.

7:48 – The crowd here likes Obama’s answer.

7:47 – Obama takes the opportunity to lay out his health plan. Personally, I can’t wait for the opportunity to use Federal health benefits.

7:46 – Do you believe health care should be treated as a commodity? What a great question.

7:45 – The guy next to me says “He [McCain] has spent half the debate pointing the finger”

7:44 – Brokaw is a rule monger…  he actually wants the candidates to stay within their time limits.

7:43 – Obama finally ties “Drill, baby, drill” to climate change.

7:40 – McCain comes back to nuclear power as the “ultimate solution” to climate change…  He was on nuclear subs, I guess he wants nuclear cars. Beyond that he has trouble listing what the “alternative energies” are.

7:40 – At what point does working with Sen. Lieberman stop being “working across the aisle” for McCain.

7:39 – And we have our first minority asking about moving fast in resolving environmental issues.

7:37 – McCain thinks solving Medicare is going to be hard to fix. I don’t know, it seems directly related to the increasing costs of health care. Obama has a plan to correct that, McCain’s plan promises to make it worse.

7:37 – McCain thinks that Social Security isn’t that hard to fix… that’s true… it’s not that broken.

7:36 – By the way, the crowd here gets vociferous and angry just about every time McCain opens his mouth.

7:35 – Obama takes a moment to correct McCain’s falsehoods.

7:34 – Brokaw says entitlement reform is ticking time bomb that everyone can agree on…  I don’t agree!

7:32 – McCain says that Obama’s tax plan will increase taxes on 50% of small business… he also says it’s a secret. The reason it’s a secret is because it’s not true.

7:29 – The crowd goes wild as Obama discusses personal responsibility to using less energy… I know that’s what people can connect to, but the biggest improvement will be made in the private sector, we need to focus there. As a side note, I hope Obama consults with Al Gore after he’s inaugurated. It’s politically untenable (due to the bad flavor from 2000), but his We Can Solve It group has mapped the way.

7:27 – Obama seems to be moving closer and closer to the “All of the above” approach that McCain keeps advocating…  he won’t say those words, but I’m a little distraught that he’s talking about expanded drilling and clean coal.

7:26 – McCain says that people without health insurance won’t have to wait…  in reality, people with health insurance won’t have to wait to lose it.

7:24 – A great email question on sacrifices, and what we, the people, will need to sacrifice some programs. The crowd continues to notice that McCain isn’t really answering any questions.

7:22 – Obama actually answers the prioritization question by prioritizing. He tacitly denies Brokaw’s premise that entitlements need reform by saying that priority #3 is education.

7:21 – I think there needs to be a rule that candidates can no longer refer to their record in vague terms… they need to quote bills and votes to support their claims, not just “I’ve reached across the aisle.”

7:20 – Brokaw serves one up for McCain, implying that our entitlement programs need reform. McCain returns to “I know how”…

7:19 – The crowd is starting to heat up. McCain is repeating his “I know how…” trope…

7:17 – McCain calls himself a proven reformer…  the crowd here boos. McCain, again, prides himself on fighting against his party’s leadership while Obama never has.

7:15 – One questioner believes that both parties “got us into this mess”  …  Obama rightly points out that the Republicans, led by Pres. Bush, were in charge for most of the last eight years while the Clinton surpluses were wasted.

7:13 – McCain wants to eliminate cronyism in Washington…  what does it say that his campaign staff is made up of a bunch of his cronies?

7:11 – Obama works to discredit the Fannie/Freddie culprit idea…  one woman applauds briefly.

7:10 – Chuckles around the room that Obama has to “not surprisingly” correct McCain.

7:08 – McCain points the finger at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac…   like everyone wasn’t selling subprime mortgages. And then he implies that Fannie and Freddie bought Obama…  I begin to think that McCain still believes that everyone gets their information solely through the TV.

7:06 – A quick glance around the room shows me a bunch of blank, but engaged faces.

7:05 – McCain says treasury secretary needs to be someone we identify with…  is that hit on the “Obama is an outsider” meme?

7:02 – Energy independence, tax cuts everywhere, cutting spending, and stabilizing home prices by spending money are the solution to our financial ills, says McCain.

7:02 – McCain digs at Obama for not joining him at other town hall meetings.

7:00 – Every time I hear “failed economic policies of the last eight years” I think to myself “or 30”.

7:00 – Is someone keeping a tally of the number of minorities who get to ask questions?

6:59 – Well, McCain looked at Obama as they shook hands…  that’s something, I suppose.

6:57 – Just about 15 people here…  and we’re off…

I was called last night by the Obama campaign looking for volunteers…  not being nearly as gregarious as my illustrious co-blogger, and being distinctly more irritated/agitated/pissed at Republicans and the new lows to which the McCain campaign has sunk, I don’t really think I’d be a good image for the campaign. Add my increasing inability to reconcile how the other half lives/thinks, and I can’t imagine that I’d be a good surrogate for the campaign.

The upshot is that the kind person on the phone told me that they were organizing a group viewing the debate tonight at a coffee shop just down the street from my house.

So, I’m at that coffee shop to watch the debate, blog on what the TV says, and, perhaps, on the reaction of this decent sized group of Obama supporters.

I really am curious to know how other people out in the world react to this stuff…  the only downside is that I won’t be able to pause the TV and vent…

Let’s see how this goes… :)

Wrap-up (OR In case you missed it)

October 4, 2008

Via Ezra comes this nifty diagram:

Interest (OR Behind the numbers)

October 4, 2008

You may have heard that there was a Vice Presidential debate on Thursday.

What you may not have heard is that more people watched it than have ever watched a VP Debate.

I’m going to be optimistic for a moment and believe that so many people watched because there is unheard of interest in this election…  partly because President Bush is the most disliked president in recent memory, and partly because Sen. Obama is generating almost unheard of enthusiasm.

Now then, the bonus here is that a majority of viewers believed that Sen. Biden “won” the debate (whatever that means). In short, Sen. Biden had an opportunity to reach, at one time, more than any VP candidate ever, and he made a more favorable impression that Gov. Palin.

On the heels of the first Presidential debate, where Sen. Obama “won” by similar margins (albeit in front of a smaller audience), this kind of result is very encouraging.

In general it seems that the more see of Sens. Obama and Biden, the more they like. Add to that the voter registration and mobilization effort of the Obama-Biden campaign, and it’s really easy to feel confident.

So, once again, I’m envisioning an election map that looks very blue when all is said and done. Unfortunately, it means that Sir Charles is probably right: “It’s going to get ugly

Owwy (OR Lying Surrogates)

October 2, 2008

Looks like Dave is on a roll, so I’ll stay out of his way, I think…  still, a couple thoughts at this point…

VP debates are weird… the candidates spend most of their time talking about their running mates. Which makes me wonder what the value of these debates are. We can watch the Presidential debates to find out what that Presidential candidates think and believe.

The most immediate contrast I see right now is that Sen. Biden actually has stats and facts to support his argument. Gov. Palin has a “cuz I say so” thing going…  but I don’t what makes her think that she has credibility on these topics.

Liveblogging (OR Heckles in the ether)

September 26, 2008

8:36 – There it is: P.O.W …  it’s almost amazing that he managed to wait this long.

8:35 – McCain’s “ready to go at it right now” …  and if by “it” he means pugnacious conflict, I’d agree.

8:32 – Obama responds by re-framing the risk that the rest of the world presents if we can’t/won’t pay any attention to anything outside of Iraq.

8:30 – McCain comes back to Iraq, claiming that “everyone” thinks a timeline for withdrawal would be a very risky move.

8:28 – McCain was behind the “largest reorganization in the history of our government” …  wait, this is the same guy who an hour and half ago was talking about trimming the fat of government… like that fat that might be found in the largest section of the government, which apparently McCain was behind.

8:27 – McCain: “don’t ever torture a prisoner ever again”..   AGAIN?!?!! Is that a tacit acknowledgment that that we have tortured?

8:25 – McCain thinks we’re safer now than we were 7 years ago…  even though more of the world looks at us in a more unfavorable light, and Al Qaeda is stronger than ever.

8:22 – McCain seems to think in terms of states, not in ethnicities. He listed a bunch of states as actors in the region, but didn’t seem to acknowledge that each of the countries in that area are made up of very disparate ethnic groups.

8:21 – Apparently, McCain has traveled places.

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