Friday, September 26, 2008

Presidential Debate: McCain's Clarity and Command

I'm watching ABC News, and George Will made an interesting observation that in baseball the ties goes to the runner, and so for the debate, comparing Barack Obama to Ronald Reagan in 1980 (with both Obama and Reagan the newcomers), the debate should be called in favor of the Illinois Democrat.


Will also noted that neither candidate said anything really meaningful about the Wall Street financial crisis and the proposed $700 billion bailout. McCain's call for cutting spending was a "non-starter," with so much of federal spending already on autopilot (in Will's opinion, and I concur), and Obama, frankly, sounded like a pointy-headed bureaucrat explaining the details of current congressional negotiations (that's my opinion).

Here's the two moments that stood out for each candidate:

First was McCain's response during the Afghanistan exchange, where he essentially said I've been right on all the major foreign policy decisions facing the nation since 1983, when President Reagan sent U.S. forces to Lebanon, with
disastrous results. Obama simply cannot compete with McCain's authenticity in foreign policy. Even McCain's ideological opponents must concede the Arizona Senator's advantage there (and Obama's pained and impatient facial expressions during that segment genuinely revealed that he's not comfortable listening to McCain expound on international affairs).

The second moment was Obama's answer the question of "what priorities" he would bring to the country, and his response revealed that the Illinois Senator plans a huge expansion of the federal government, way beyond the immediate needs for financial recovery (from the

There are some things that, I think, have to be done.

We have to have energy independence. So I've put forward a plan to make sure that in 10 years time, we have freed ourselves from dependence on Middle Eastern oil, by increasing production at home but most importantly by starting to invest in alternative energies -- solar, wind, biodiesel -- making sure that we're developing the fuel- efficient cars of the future right here in the United States, in Ohio and Michigan instead of Japan and South Korea.

We have to fix our health care system, which is putting an enormous burden on families. Just -- a report just came out that the average deductible went up 30 percent on American families. They are getting crushed, and many of them are going bankrupt as a consequence of health care. I'm meeting folks all over the country. We have to do that now, because it'll actually make our businesses and our families better off.

The third thing we have to do is we've got to make sure that we're competing in education. We've got to invest in science and technology. China had a space launch and a space walk. We've got to make sure that our children are keeping pace in math and in science. And one of the things I think we have to do is make sure that college is affordable for every young person in America.

And I also think that we're going to have to rebuild our infrastructure, which is falling behind -- our roads, our bridges, but also broadband lines that reach into rural communities; also making sure that we have a new electricity grid to get the alternative energy to population centers that are using them.

So there's some -- some things that we've got to do structurally to make sure that we can compete in this global economy.
Obama's laudry list is indeed a throwback to the Great Society, just as Senator McCain suggested. Indeed, Obama's big government agenda, combined with his foreign policy of no-preconditions, is exactly why he's the candidate of the contemporary left's postmodern elite and nihilist revolutionary contigents. Obama represents big change, and he'll in fact be prone to the most substantial capture by the "progressive" interest-group sector in American history.

The McCain campaign is
already out with a YouTube from the debate, "McCain is Right":

Both candidates did well, but I'd argue than McCain did better in reinforcing his strengths in foreign policy and as a reformer, and if the quick turnaround on this YouTube is an indication, we'll see a big spin from the McCain camp over the weekend highlighting Obama's big government agenda and neophyte foreign policy.

Photo Credit: New York Times