If you have kept abreast of the issues and the candidates and where they stand, then you did not need to watch the first presidential debate held at the University of Mississippi. There was little surprise.
There was occasionally some sparring between Obama and McCain. Words and phrases repeated for effect from McCain such as “you don’t understand.” And Obama’s “You were wrong, John.” Overall it was a good solid debate, no missteps, no stumbles, no fumbles, much passion and a little heat.
An effective debater needs to have confidence, solid research, deep knowledge and interesting anecdotes. One did not need to watch this debate to learn anything of substance or difference between the two nominees, but one did need to watch the body language, cues and codes that were obvious to this political observer. McCain has revealed his political future. He revealed it through his military anecdotes that brought him to a proclamation of unconditional love for American veterans.
The dispassion of the moderator Jim Lehrer stood in sharp relief to the passion of the candidates. Mr. Lehrer tried to get the two men to engage each other directly with little result.
How about that body language?
Aside from the apparent body language and tense looks; at some point in the debate I saw two words: “loser” was stamped on John McCain’s forehead and at another point in the debate saw a floating banner over Barack Obama that said “president.” Then there was the passion of McCain when he said that “he loved the veterans and that he would take care of them.” He also said twice, that he would never be elected “miss congeniality in the senate.” Can you say “high negatives?” The veterans aren’t buying that he loves them; they recently graded him a D, while Obama was given a B.
The revelation was clear: McCain opened a window on his future in politics: from his senate seat he would devote the rest of his life to the love of his life—the war veteran. He will reconnect with his senate seat. He will take the same advice Heloise gave to Hillary “reconnect with your senate seat, and learn to love it, because that is where you will be for the balance of your political career.” From his senate seat will he reach across the aisle to a “President Obama?” During this rumble he joked that Obama was too far to the left to reach across the aisle. Obama smiled. He couldn’t say your arms and temperament were too short to reach across the aisle.
Obama stood tall and angled his body towards McCain. Obama called him “John” for the first few responses. But McCain was to give no response in like or kind, instead he stood wooden and stonewalled. So Obama switched from calling him John to Senator McCain. He never engaged Obama not once, never looked his way. He never gave him credit nor agreed with any of his statements. In fact, during the handshake McCain’s eyes again were angled away from Obama. If McCain's eyes can’t meet an opponent who is an American, a fellow senator then how will he face foreign heads of state?
What about his stunts pre-debate? I dubbed him “the stuntman” in a note to myself after all the stunts he pulled in the last two weeks. These were not brought up by either candidate. McCain did make a brief reference to his running mate, the biggest political stunt (read gamble) of his long, long senate career.
It was uber-obvious that McCain does not like Obama.
So obvious that McCain risked being tagged a “hater.” Being a hater will not get you anywhere Senator McCain. It will only bring high negatives and that means not liked by we the people, and in the final analysis: unelectable. The people do not elect “haters.” This is why the Right radio talking heads were quick to point out the “high negatives” of Hillary Clinton. Translation, people don’t like her as a woman, a first lady, a senator and a candidate for president. Therefore, she was unelectable—bring her on. Astutely the pundits realized that the people “love” Obama and therefore he was harder to defeat. Thinking they could pick off an easy win against the Democrats and retain the White House. They were wrong.
Has Obama ever been wrong?
Yes, when he declared in a debate or speech: “They (the right) will not use my patriotism against me.” He was wrong. I thought it was imperative that his mistake be rectified. So, in an article I specifically addressed that and told Obama he needed to make a 180-degree turn because they WILL use patriotism against you. They will paint you and your wife as “haters” of America and by association Americans, thus not elected.
I listen to right radio almost every day and every day in one way or another they drive this point loud and clear: Obama is an “angry man.” Within 48 hours of Obama’s statement, he donned a flag lapel pin and has worn it since–lucky charm?
Finally, the debate was to be all about foreign policy. But with a bailout debacle looming and the monetary meltdown; time was set aside in the beginning of the debate to try to address those issues.
Both debaters played this one close to the vest and did not utter a direct “yeah” or “nay” as to their exact position or vote. Then the debate turned to the issue of foreign policy. Here McCain was to stand as a giant in his element. But Obama didn't keel over, held steady—but could have played more offense than defense. He could have pointed out that his opponent has changed political caps over the past two years on most issues. McCain played the anecdote card effusively and effectively. He couldn't stop himself even if he was contradicting his many positions from earlier incarnations. He made my head spin with his newfound love for the people.
Four issues divided by four McCains, equals one leader: Barack Obama
This first presidential debate featured foreign policy. But because of the banking crisis and overall economy the first part of the debate was all about the economy. By my count the 2008 presidential election will boil down to at least four major issues: foreign policy, domestic policy/economy, Iraq war and universal healthcare. McCain has taken multiple positions throughout his run on these issues. He has often been depicted by bloggers and the MSM as McCain vs. McCain. Are his multiple positions reflective of his many homes and cars? The middle class (which he did not mention during the debate) won't hold McCain's wealth against but they might hold his selective amnesia against him.Powered by Sidelines