I listened to tonights debate while at work...and I have to say, I am mad as Hell. I'm beside myself. I had to reach for my Excedrin (thank Goodness for this wonder drug) before I even got home, to soothe my Migraine.
I couldn't believe what I heard tonight. After what happened in Mississippi finally sunk in, my anger turned towards Obama's staff... Who in the Hell is advising this man? It is clear to me that it may be time for David Axelrod and David Plouffe to step aside. Can't we get James Carville or someone else with a little backbone to take a leading role in the Obama campaign? Completely removing and replacing Axelrod and Plouffe may not be the best answer, but they could at least bring someone else in to take over strategy, while Axelrod remains as a figurehead. The team that is coaching Obama for these debates could definitely be shown the door...or could at least be shaken up somewhat. What I have seen thus far just doesn't cut it for me. The Nice Guy (i'm scared to grow a pair) routine must end.
Obama did o.k. tonight... but o.k. isn't enough when you are going against the traditionally ideal default President from the incumbent Party.... in a Nation so reluctant to change. Obama did o.k. when he had a golden opportunity to hit a Home Run (Hell.. a few Home Runs for that matter). It's like Barry Bonds taking pitches from an elder League pitcher in the game of his life... but passing up the opportunity to knock one out of the ballpark. Instead, he settles for a base hit.
What do I mean by default President? Well, American voters have been conditioned to be more open to White men for the Presidency. It is assumed that a White man will be better for the Country... and it is an intrinsic assumption, built into the American cultural fabric over the years. White candidates have an advantage with the American people just by default... especially when the opponent happens to be Black. And as in most competition, (let's use Boxing as an example), you have to knock off the champion in convincing fashion if you want to take the title. A draw just won't do. Obama and his staff should understand that he will always have the burden of proof. This is an ugly fact of American politics. All McCain has to do in these debates, as the default character, is show up...not pass out, and sound halfway competent. That's his only burden. Obama, on the other hand, must sell himself to the American people at all times....even if the polls appear to be in his favor, and even when it appears that he's on the right side on the issues, and on the right side of history. Obama has to explain to voters why they shouldn't pick the comfortable default candidate, and why they should choose him instead. That's always a tougher hill to climb.
What Obama needed to do tonight, ...and what his primary focus should have been, was to use his talent as a Harvard trained lawyer to clearly and methodically connect the dots for the American people between John McCain and the financial crisis on Wall Street (and Main Street). Obama should have done this straight out of the gate tonight...and nailed it down within the first 10 minutes. The whole World was Obama's courtroom, with McCain as the defendant. But Obama dropped the ball. He didn't even make the effort. This was Obama's big chance to corner McCain.... he had him right where he wanted him, but he let him go once again. The open debate format was yet another gift for Obama, but he didn't take advantage of the opportunity. Obama has done this several times before, but this takes the cake. There was nothing about McCain's history of pushing for deregulation of Wall Street, which helped lead to this disaster... nothing about one of McCain's top economic advisors, Rick Davis, being a big money lobbyist for Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac at the same time that he was advising McCain.... nothing about McCain's attempt to hijack events surrounding the crisis for political gain... a gamble that turned into a failure for McCain (since his presence in Washington D.C. and his attempts to politicize the crisis only made matters worse, not better...and because he had to backtrack at the last moment and attend the debate after all...after Obama called his bluff)... This was Obama's chance to crush McCain.
In the second half of the debate- on the topic of foreign policy - McCain actually held his own, and may have even beat Obama. All in all... this debate, from my independent perspective, appeared to be a draw. Neither candidate will likely be harmed too badly or benefit much at all from the events tonight. However, this was a debate that Obama could have, and should have won convincingly. McCain may actually see a slight bounce from this debate... I wouldn't be surprised to see the polls tighten again in McCain's favor in the next few days...but it probably won't last long. Everything, at the moment, seems to be overshadowed by the events taking place in the economy.
Some post-debate polling shows that Obama did well among independents. But it's hard to know if these particular independents were planning to vote for Obama anyway. I think Obama has good will points that he has earned over the last 2 years, and the current economic situation to thank for his good poll numbers after this debate. Those good poll numbers are not likely due to his performance in Oxford Mississippi.
How in the World could Obama's staff, and his debate prep. team in particular, not allow their candidate to paint the right picture of John McCain? It is beyond comprehension. Not only did they fail on that front, but they allowed McCain to bounce off of the ropes several times to take some great shots at Obama. McCain was allowed to reframe the debate, and turn attention away from himself...and back onto Obama... when it should have been all about McCain and his complicity in the current financial mess. Some Americans watching the debate and not really knowing the issues or the candidates all that well, could have easily walked away with the idea that McCain is some sort of anti-corruption, anti-lobbying watchdog who is looking out for the best interests of tax payers. Nothing could be further from the truth.
How in the world could Obama allow himself to be matched (tied) or beaten back by a senile, 72 year old man who out of touch with the realities faced by working Americans?
Luckily Obama has two more chances to go after McCain... and that walking disaster named Sarah Palin could also help Obama next week. I have my fingers crossed that Biden won't ----- up.
Again... all McCain and Palin have to do in order to look good at these events is to just show up. They get a B+ or A- just for that. Biden has to beat this woman without being perceived as overbearing. He has to do his thing with a smile on his face.
Is it November 4th yet?