Watching tonight’s debate I felt frustrated with how Senator Barack Obama performed. I thought he was on the defensive and that surprised me considering that you would think McCain would be. As George Will said, it’s incredible considering McCain is associated with “an unpopular president, an unpopular war, and a failing economy.”
First Senator McCain starts off by talking about earmarks, how they are $18 billion, that Senator Obama had requested $900 million in earmarks or something like that, etc. Senator Obama tried to defend himself but I would have preferred hearing was something like what George Will said, “$18 billion is a rounding error in the budget.” Senator Obama should have repeatedly pointed out that Senator McCain was the one who said the economy was sound and if his best solution for the economy is to stop earmarks, then that’s pretty pathetic.
Senator McCain then talked about taxes, how he’d lower them for businesses while Obama would raise them. He talked as though it’s just nonsensical to not be doing it, as though Obama was a fool. Obama just talked about cutting taxes for those making less than $250,000. Why didn’t he point out that President Bill Clinton raised taxes, was criticized for it, and the country enjoyed the largest economic expansion in its history? George Bush lowered taxes and now we’re in the worst economic mess ever. Obviously a lot more to it than that but what I wanted to see was Obama criticizing Senator McCain’s lack of economic expertise and criticizing him for holding onto the failed idea of lowering taxes for the rich.
Senator McCain then hammered Senator Obama on not admitting the surge was a success and the right thing to do. Senator McCain kept bringing up a list of foreign policy decisions that he was right about. Why didn’t Senator Obama hammer him more on the fact he agreed to a war whose grounds for entering it were completely false? Why not hammer him on the fact that there was no clear mission? Was it to get Hussein? If so why are we still there? Was it to install a democratic government? If so we’re not doing a good job. This one is probably harder to do because Senator Obama probably doesn’t want to send a possibly unpatriotic message that we’re losing.
Finally it was interesting to see that Senator McCain chose not to look at Senator Obama. I am not sure if this looked arrogant but I thought it worked well, made Senator Obama appear like he was trying to gain Senator McCain’s favor by looking at him and saying “You’re right.” Apparently the McCain campaign picked up on this.
Overall I was disappointed that Senator Obama was so defensive. All the pundits I heard thought Senator Obama did well or even won and the general public seems divided so in the end it may be inconsequential.
I think Senator Obama needs to keep hammering Senator McCain on his weakness on economic policy. And I wish he’d become pro-life.