Saturday, September 27, 2008

How It Went Last Night: Part Two (The Debate)

As for the debate, it is funny because the economy is said to be Obama's strong area, but I thought he really picked up speed after a while in the foreign policy discussions. By the end, I felt he was smokin'! I almost was sorry to see it end.

Of course I don't agree with everything on either side, but Obama did exactly the thing that makes me want him to be president: he gave a highly intelligent and cogent presentation that didn't rely on knocking down his opponent with criticism but instead on peeling back the layers of complex issues and looking at each thoughtfully and carefully.

Listening to a little of the post-debate talk this morning on NPR on my way to work, it seemed folks felt neither candidate came out significantly more strongly than the others, though I know there was a lot of commentary in newsmedia this morning, much of which said Obama led just by a hair. I was surprised more folks didn't see the same thing I did about how he really gained some momentum in the last half of the debate.

I admit I got a little annoyed with one of the commentators this morning who said that Obama didn't show "the fire"...the willingness to attack his opponent that "his supporters want to see." What?!? I am among his supporters, and it is hard to believe that I am the only one who wants a president who will attack ideas (not people) in a calm, and reasoned manner.

Last night a commentator on CNN characterized it as "intellectual generosity." The commentator was using the term as a negative, saying that such intellectual generosity doesn't win elections. However, as a voter, I see such intellectual generosity as a tremendous asset in a president. It seems to me that "intellectual generosity" is a good sign of being able to consider and weigh information from all sides of an argument, and to make determinations based on reason rather than theoretical ideology.

I don't dislike "dirty politics" simply because it is awful to see opponents attack one another. I dislike dirty politics because I think it highlights a character flaw that is significant when selecting national leaders. That is, the inability to be reasoned participants in the political process and to reach out for common ground. If there is one thing a president needs to be, it is reasoned and able to mobilize a wide range of people.

Oh, and by the way, I am absolutely *horrified* about McCain's "spending freeze" option he said he thinks worthy of consideration. That is, the spending freeze on everything except the military and veteran's benefits (and then he sort of murmured something about other entitlement programs...thank heavens there was some measure of logic there). Did I hear that correctly?! Do we really want a guy for president for whom such a thought has even crossed his mind? Um, military state?

...Especially with the economy in the state it is in when more and more folks are going to need help to be well enough to keep the economy going...

That really came out of nowhere because I have to believe that Obama would have been able to list out dozens of important programs and the people impacted who would be in deep trouble if this happened. Not to mention that entitlement programs (that is, as I understand it, programs which are legal obligations of our country for eligible entities...the government's bills, you could say) are among some of our larger expenditures. But you can't just say, "oh forget them! Let's seriously cut them out." Not only because it wouldn't be legal, but because it wouldn't be moral or ethical when you actually consider, oh, just for example: foster children, who otherwise have nothing.

One of my only regrets about the debate is that Obama didn't have much to say about that.

But you know, it really seemed the way McCain said it, like he just pulled it out of the air. And that is one more thing that freaks me out about the guy as a candidate for the U.S. presidency. His impulsive nature seems to outrun his ability to reason when under pressure. Unfortunately, his impulsivity leads him only to those things he knows well: the military, for example. That doesn't leave much room for hope for those of us who are working poor or struggling middle class.

Perhaps McCain's own statement was enough said.

On a final note, as well as I thought Obama did, why oh why is Obama continuing to let "off shore drilling" be characterized as a "bridge" or interim option by McCain? Why oh why is "off shore drilling" even still on the table for either candidate? That is crap! I am telling you: just look at the science.

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