Tuesday, October 07, 2008

My debate analysis in three words

"Congratulations, President Obama."

Look, John McCain always had a Sisyphean uphill battle to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. First of all, it's rare for one political party to hold the White House for three terms in a row, even during periods of peace and prosperity (ask Al Gore). Then there's my favorite piece of Presidential trivia that no candidate has been elected to the White House who has been in public office more than 14 years. And there's the "tallest" edge to Obama as well as the "agent of change" and "most optimistic."

Of course, this was before the headwind of the war in Iraq and the meltdown of the financial and stock markets. And while McCain may have been on the right side of the surge in Iraq and reform of the GSEs, few can make the distinction between the Bush administration and all Republicans. Make no mistake: John McCain can make an argument for his candidacy, but he's been hobbled by economic conditions that favor the Democrats. Meanwhile, Obama has benefited from a fawning mainstream media, frozen by cries of racism from investigating his relationship with a domestic terrorist or election fraud on the Left.

In my mind, Virginia was the canary in the coalmine, a solidly red state that has now moved strongly into Obama's column. In fact, of the eight state on Real Clear Politics listed as "tossups," seven of them are currently leaning for Obama. (That Indiana is even in the tossup column, leaning slightly for McCain, is another signal of McCain's weakness.) The various electoral counts have all moved in Obama's favor and there's no real indication that McCain can grab any of the blue states that either Gore or Kerry carried.

Earlier in the campaign, John McCain invited Barack Obama to join him in a series of town hall meetings, which was the format for tonight's debate. The Illinois Senator should have accepted because tonight he was articulate and knowledgeable on a range of topics with a good memory for statistics and a flair for rhetoric. To use a cliche, John McCain needed a "game changer" and he didn't come close. He wasn't bad, but Obama was better, and it's hard to argue that anything that happened tonight will change the current trajectory of the race.

Believe me, it pains me to write this, especially since I have boundless respect for John McCain who has given his body and soul in service to this country. It's further disappointing that McCain will lose to somebody with no military, executive, and barely any legislative experience. But, indisputably, Barack Obama has landed squarely at the crossroads of history at the right time.

What this means for America, I guess we'll have to wait and see.

More - Right Wing News: "Huge winner by default: Obama."

Ace: "Barack Obama...effectively he wins."

So we got that going for us: "The takeaway from this debate may be that it will prevent Obama from running away with the election."

Stephen Green: "McCain won, but not by nearly enough to matter."

Powerline: "Obama edges closer to the Presidency." That's what I said.


Anonymous said...

McCain's performance suggests that the guns are about to boom. He did not mention Ayers et al: therefore his ads are about to do that. McCain would not shake hands at the end: therefore a campaign of implacable hostility is about to commence. There is one more debate, so McCain needed to keep the facade of civility.

The performance suggests imminence. I think by the time you read this, the new wave of negative anti-Obama ads will be sweeping the USA, ads which finally ask the question: Who is Obama?

However, a pity the last debate can't be between Obama and Palin. She would tear Obama to bits. We can only marvel.

Anonymous said...

Willy Nilly is oh so silly. But at least he's winning the imaginary televised debates in his head (go Palin!).

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm sure they did shake hands in the end because their embrace got in front of Tom Brokaw's teleprompter.

Also, by the third debate, too many opinions will have hardened. It's just like Dubya's drunk driving "October surprise" - by that late in the game, nobody cares.

Anonymous said...

The McCain campaign had begun firing the salvos before the debate. The Ayers and Reverend Wright ads are running. It doesn't matter. The past eight years have been a train wreck. Our country is bankrupt and we are in a war without end that is exacting an unacceptable toll in life and limb, much needed money and international reputation.

McCain keeps saying Obama was 'wrong on the surge in Iraq' because if he says Obama was 'wrong on going into Iraq' he would be flying in the face of public opinion.

McCain's Viet Nam experience once made him a firm believer in the Powell Doctrine. He tossed the wisdom of that doctrine aside to take a ride on the neo-conservative magic bus. Now we are stuck trying to polish the turd that is the Iraq war and to figure out how we get our soldiers out of there without making that mess even worse.

The GOP has had control of the whole government for eight years. The horror of 9/11 had brought all Americans together in a way we had not seen since WWII. Bush and the GOP had a golden opportunity to unite the country behind traditional conservative values. Instead we sharpened the political divide, made our government bigger, drove our national debt to stratospheric levels, started an elective war to plant the flower of democracy in the Middle East, and drove our economy into the ground. We've done nothing meaningful about the two biggest issues facing us and our children: entitlements and energy.

The country wants change. Both political parties have let the American people down. There is no faith in government. Obama represents change and McCain represents the status quo. So Obama wins. Obama would have had to fall on his face completely last night to change that dynamic.

Anonymous said...

Zogby has Obama up 47% to 45%.

In other words, Obama has a 15-point lead.

Anonymous said...

Dick Morris says Obama is "peaking too soon."

That means Obama will double his lead.

commoncents said...

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Would you like a Link Exchange with our new blog COMMON CENTS were we blog about the issues of the day??


Brian said...

Zogby has Obama up 47% to 45%.

In other words, Obama has a 15-point lead.

Isn't that the same Zogby that had Kerry winning 330 electroal votes in his last poll before the 2004 election?

Hey Eric, stop reading the MSM and falling for the "it's over, Obama is President" environment they are creating. You should know better. And you should know better than these debates don't change minds. Watch McCain win this. Like I noted above, as I recall, it was "over" in October 2004. America was tired of Bush, against the Iraq War, etc.

If I am wrong, and Obama wins, oh well. I'll just have to get involved in better tax shelters and know that his Presidency will give rise to the next Reagan.

Anonymous said...

If true, Eric, let's enjoy the break.

Being rapacious, jackbooted, hyper-imperialist rulers struggling to halt the flowering of a truly "progressive" society gets tiring after a while.

A President Obama will allow us finally to have a chance to take the boots off, put the feet up, sit back and enjoy the likes of the Hugo Chávez and Robert Mugabe red carpet state visits.

Unknown said...

Here's the deal, though. I live in VA and I can tell you that Obama's ads have outnumbered Mc's almost 3:1 during the last couple of weeks. Given that polls tend to measure what's in the voters' mind's eye at the moment, perhaps more thought ought to be given to the disparity in advertising.

Further: I'm disappointed to see what few ads Mc has running tending so far towards the negative. He needs (IMNSHO) to be the stand-up guy here and instead of responding to BO's attacks on his character, remember the first rule of blogging: DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS.

Just a thought...

Anonymous said...

...oh, and what do you think of my Che beret?

Anonymous said...

I'm a liberal from Illinois. Go Obama... but dropped by from a link in the NYT. Your blog is lively and fun, and your commentators do not appear to drip nearly as much venom as many conservatives. A class act, all in all. McCain isn't my choice, but if he wins, he will be my President. I don't get the attraction of Palin as a leader, but then, I'm not drinking the same Kool-Aid, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Brian, Brian, Brian... The vicious "it's over" story could have been written 4 weeks ago. But the (eek, gasp, faint) "MSM" has been tiptoeing around the obvious numbers. Your idea that they're "creating" a bad playing field for McCain is pure comedy.

Don't let the media's reticence interfere with your whining, though. It's like breathing now. Keep blaming that liberal press, and the way their bias hurts the Republican ticket. And the GOP hemorrhaging Congressional seats, losing the money race, and getting murdered in voter registration? Just some weird coincidences that happen sometimes. Help! Diebold... er, Premier Election Solutions... save us!

But keep believing. Whatever you do, keep believing. McCain can win this. By God, McCAIN CAN WIN THIS. Stay strong of spirit! (We've made it through eight years of your hero systematically pooing the bed. The very least you guys owe us is a humorous, smacked-with-a-wet-fish look on your face November 4.)

The silver lining is that Obama will trigger the next Reagan? You already HAD your next Reagan, remember? Poor Fred Thompson. The man gave his all for you. Some thanks he gets.

Besides, you don't have to wait for the REAL next Reagan. He's already here, and he's named Barack Hussein Jong-Il Anthrax Babyrape Obama. A silver-tongued, likeable guy of nonexistent political accomplishment whose personality-driven Presidency will carry enormous clout and squash the opposition. Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Hey magpie,

You know why there are so many more ads? Because millions of Americans donated to Obama's campaign, thus he can afford it.

As for McCain 'not feeding the trolls'? I'll remind you that Palin in her RNC speech came out swinging a fairly big bat, doing so proactively. It blows my mind how quickly Republicans move from being the bully - which you all define as "tough talk" - to the victim. If you're going to hit first? Expect to get hit back, dear.

Anonymous said...

McCain is losing because he sold his sold to the devil, the religious right wing republicans.
He is not the same McCain of years ago. His choice of Palin is absurd, who wants her running the country, we were fooled by Bush's country charm, hopefully never again.

The foundation that Obama served on with Ayers?
Big time republican conservative, Walter Annenberg. The foundation just endorsed McCain. They didn't have a problem with Ayers.
So does McCain now have terrorist ties because the foundation endorses him??

What bothers me more is the fact that Palin is under investigation by her own state. This is not a Democrat smear, she welcomed the investigation because she had "nothing to hide", before she became the VP candidate.
I have to assume that she also encouraged the 7 state employees to dodge the subpoenas, as that were instructed by the AG of the state.
That bothers me greatly, disregarding the law and assuming it does not apply to you because you don't agree with it.
You or I would be in contempt, it seems normal for Republicans these days.

Anonymous said...

What bothers me more is the fact that Palin is under investigation by her own state.

Why is she under investigation? Oh Yeah, She fired a supervisor who refused to fire a man who used a taser on a 11 year old.

DJ Drummond said...

Way to quit 27 days out.

Nothing at stake ... just the country.

Anonymous said...

Palin choice "is political bullsh*t"
-- Peggy Noonan, longtime Reagan speechwriter & WSJ conservative columnist

Palin "is absolutely not ready to be president or vice president... scorns not only liberal ideas but all ideas... is a fatal cancer to the Republican Party"
-- David Brooks, conservative commentator on PBS, NYT, WSJ and ex-editor of the National Review

"you really got to have some people in charge that have some sense of the bigger scope of the world, I think that's just a requirement... I think it's a stretch to, in any way, to say that she's [Palin's] got the experience to be President of the United States,"
-- Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE)
Ranking Rep. member Senate For Relations Comm.

"If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself... Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons"
-- Kathleen Parker,
Conservative columnist for Townhall.org & National Review

Obviously, for all the talk about Sen McCain's experience: the first, (and some would say for a man with cancer who will be 76 before his term is over) possibly most important decision of his potential Presidency has shown, to be polite, extremely poor judgment.

God help us all if that "cocky whacko" (former Senator Lincoln Chafee R-RI) ever gets within 3000 miles of the White House.

Anonymous said...

Very well written, good analysis of the current situation.

I for one would have preferred to see Ron Paul in this race and I'm sure he'd done better. But as you wrote; the circumstances surly favoured the dems.

I do still have hopes that Barry is keeping some of the promises he made; some of them are not too bad. Naive, I know. But that's me.

Anonymous said...

Of all the polls and polls and polls, isn't it astonishing that the Drudge Report found space on top of its page to feature Zogby's unique numbers? Wow. Go figure!

John Zogby is the king of "notice me, dispute me, react to me, my findings are so darn surprising!" He's making the rounds now, talking up his latest whisker-thin poll, and saying the election will be all about the "big middle" that has yet to decide.

See, that way, if the race somehow gets close, Zogby looks like he alone called it right all along. And if it's a blowout, that's okay too, because it'll mean that the big middle all went for Obama at the very last minute, don'tcha know.

Barack Who? John McWhat? Because it's all about the Zogby.

Anonymous said...

The worst eight years of American political life are coming to an end. We had what may have been the worst President in American history, the attempt of Karl Rogue to establish an effective and permanent one-Party system, a war predicated upon big lies for big profit, government responsible only to campaign contributors, government using fear instead of legitimate achievements to win points, an economy that pays people in debt instead of wages, and even for a time news media cowed into aping the FoX Propaganda Channel.

All that we Americans could do in 2006 was to exchange lockstep for gridlock in Congress -- and bad as it was, it was an improvement.

Anonymous said...

good site guys... honorable discussions. I tend to agree that it's Obama's to lose. As a guy who can no longer afford the excesses of Bush's spending largess, irresponsibility and kill the constitution conservatism... I have become a Republican for Obama. I'll take the Obama change risks over 4 more years.

Anonymous said...

If Obama becomes President, will this increase or decrease the fortunes of the uber-right wing media (Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, etc.)? In principle it should greatly increase their fortunes. After all, they will have a continuous stream of fodder to chew on. I should think they are secretly hoping for an Obama Presidency "windfall".

Anonymous said...

I am a proud liberal from the SF Bay Area and not a conservative like most of the people posting on this website. However, it is refreshing to read most of the comments posted on this website. While it shows we can disagree politically, at least we are capable of discussing our differences calmly and not shouting and insult one another.
I will vote for Obama next month and do believe he will win. I only ask that those who support McCain will give the new president a chance to make the changes this country desperately needs. If he does not succeeding in turning this country around, then we are all free to elect someone else in four years. Thanks Viking Pundit for this website. Even though politically I think we are probably very far apart, kudos for this discussion site.

Anonymous said...

Hello from Australia

We voted out a Coalition (Republican equivalent) government in favour of a Labor (Democrat equivalent) government in November 07. We were not nearly in a state of distress as the US finds itself now when we did this. We are very different countries in many respects, but very similar in others so this observation maybe something you would like to consider. I for one am happy this happened in Australia and I think potentially billions hope for, pray and anticipate "change we can believe in" in the form of Mr Obama - the world needs a new and compassionate way of doing things. Kind regards, Andrew.

Anonymous said...

Rick p:

I highly doubt that you and your ilk would kindly sit back for several days, let alone months, and let a President McCain a "chance to make the changes this country desperately needs." So don't be trying to fool the rubes with that old line.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to definitively identify a total douchewad without interacting with them.

But anyone who uses the word "ilk" non-ironically is an excellent guess.