Tuesday, October 07, 2008


The Only Thing We Have To Fear...

...is another one of these interminable debates.

The transcript of the second Obama-McCain debate is here.

I'll have a few updates as the night goes on. But the one thing that jumped out from the early part was John McCain's latest "Hail Mary" -- "Buying up bad loans to stabilize home mortgages" -- an idea that MSNBC describes (rightly, INMHO) as a "bailout for homeowners." Aside from that being a pretty outrageous pander (but relatively minor in a universe where $850 billion was just approved for Wall Street), a Republican should know that when presented with a real Democrat who wants to spend for "the little people" and a fake Democrat, the public usually votes for the real Democrat.

My overall reaction: Both candidates were OK, with hardly any standout moments. (Though I cringed hearing McCain refer to his opponent as "That one." Geez. Imagine if Biden had said that about Sarah Palin.)
The problem for McCain is that he can't afford draws at this point, given that he's running behind. Using the current annoying catch-phrase, there was no "game-changer" in this debate for the Arizonan.

UPDATE: The more I think of it, the more I believe McCain's "That one" remark may haunt him the way Obama's "You're likeable enough, Hillary" line did in the New Hampshire debate (the one time Obama nearly slipped into a "Rick Lazio" moment). It had an air of condescension and dismissiveness that is disturbing just between two individuals of similar stature and background, but when the age and ethnic reality of the two men who actually are on stage are acknowledged, it really becomes troubling. On the upside, McCain did avoid telling Obama to, um, "sit down."

UPDATE II: Andrew Sullivan does an overview of debate reaction. Consensus: No "game-changer" for McCain -- and a "tie" round isn't helpful to a boxer who is behind in points. A few people noticed "That one" too.

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