Some Quick Notes on the Economy/Foreign Policy Debate
Well it was supposed a Foreign Policy/National Security debate but the financial ‘Bail-Out’ intruded and muddled everything up.
My candidate, Senator McCain, didn’t do all that well, but the other guy, Senator Obama, was atrocious. I was uncomfortable with my guy’s performance, yet I am sure that Obama’s supporters were cringing at theirs.
Remember, McCain didn’t want to be there; he was the reluctant debater who’d rather have been back in the Senate fixing the Bail-Out terms. It was Obama’s challenge: Obama insisted the debate go on. Obama was the one huddled up in a golf resort in Florida cramming for this debate. He was the one hanging out with speaking coaches and trial lawyers, finessing his ripostes, coming up with new material, and wasting three whole days of potential campaigning while prepping.
But whereas McCain was expected to stick to what he knew, Obama showed that he really hasn’t had any growth over the last few months. Obama didn’t come up with anything new; Obama was no better at his debating style. Actually, I’d say this was Obama’s worst debate performance.
So after hyping-up this event, Obama simply came off as clouded and befuddled. He didn’t have a single well-constructed verbal paragraph. He was all over the place, and he couldn’t even deliver the one-thing he had built his whole myth upon: his early judgment on the war in Iraq. In fact, Obama kept trying to ‘move-on’ and away from the topic of Iraq to talk-up Afghanistan, while McCain was the one who repeatedly, and without prompting, brought up Iraq and the victorious troop surge over there again and again.
What’s worse for Obama is that the debate was so mind-numbingly boring. McCain, being old, can get away with being boring, while Obama’s candidacy is predicated on glitz and spectacle. How many young viewers walked away feeling, “Oh, I should have done something else on a Friday night”? And how many of those are going to tell their friends that they must—really must—watch the next debate?
This was it, this was the debate! The next two debates will be watched by the die-hards of either camp, but not by those who are moderately amused by the election spectacle—they being the majority of the electorate.
They already knew that McCain was a snoozer, but the Obamists had been telling them, “Oh my God! You’ve got to see Obama in action!” Well, Obama without a teleprompter isn’t that compelling of a show; Obama unplugged—when he ain’t lip-syncing his lines, that is—simply falls flat.
What little takeaway there was from the debate were all McCain’s points. Every single point made by Obama had already been made by himself, and by his auxiliaries in the media, ad nauseum: “Bush, Bush, Bush, We Hate Bush!” McCain was the one who needed access to viewers, and he used that channel to tell them that “Obama just doesn’t get it” and that “Obama is naïve, and it’s not a benign naiveté, like that of a simpleton, but it’s the naiveté of a dangerous leftist ideologue.”
Too much has happened over the last week, and news consumers will need a little while to digest it: Pelosi and Reid and Barney Frank crowding the Democratic limelight for Obama, McCain siding with congressional Republican insurgents against Bush, and a boring debate that told us nothing.
However, some viewers will wise-up to the development that Iraq, once the main foreign policy issue leading up to the election, was conspicuously relegated to the past. Debating Iraq was debating ancient history; “We didn’t need to be there in the first place” versus “But we were, and now we’ve won.”
Mind you, the average American voter still doesn’t know that Iraq has been won, because pro-Obama newsrooms have been covering for their candidate (…just as they did in the post-debate commentary by declaring it a “tie”—a tie, my behind!) and misreporting the Iraq story.
Remember a time when Obama’s sole qualification against Hillary was supposed to be his ‘judgment’ on Iraq?
Remember a time when McCain’s major qualification against his Republican contenders was that he held firm on Iraq?
The media doesn’t want to talk about Iraq because Iraq has been transformed into a McCain strongpoint that highlights Obama’s misjudgment.
Quick note on Syria: There was a car-bomb, apparently targeting Shias, in Damascus today. Some of you may be wondering whether this is the beginning of what I’ve been warning about for the last year and a half: the jihad moving away from Iraq to Syria. I simply don’t know. All I can foretell at this point is that regular Sunni Syrians are probably happy about the bombing, and feel unthreatened by it. They are not the targets, the Shias and the Alawites are. This is potentially a winning long-term strategy for the jihadists in Syria.