Saturday, September 27, 2008
Presidential Debate #1: Yawn!
Former President Ronald "The Great Communicator" Reagan must be rolling in his grave after last night's debate.
Truth be told, I didn't think either candidate did particulalry well. I was waiting for Obama to shine. He didn't - except sortakinda when he was speaking about the economy. McCain had a few moments in the spotlight when it came to foreign policy and then he didn't so much shine as he threw a few well-placed sucker punches at Obama's "inexperience" and Obama didn't really defend himself.
NY Times Op-Ed Columnist, Gail Collins wrote this morning: "This was supposed to be the foreign affairs debate, and it’s hard to beat down McCain on foreign affairs — anybody who can start a sentence with “I’ve been to Waziristan ...” has a natural advantage. But Obama really more than held his own."
Okay. I'll take that. But, I also think Obama needs to come up with a counter-strategy to that sucker-punch, and it has to be smart, but it can't be subtle.
Collins also writes: "This campaign has been so chock full of excitement, however, that the debate lost some of its normal most-important-moment-in-history sheen. The real tension, after all, had been getting McCain there in the first place. A simple trip to Mississippi turned into a saga featuring many, many rapidly changing story lines:
* Cancel the debate!
* Maybe cancel the debate!
* No debate unless Congress passes a financial rescue bill!
* No debate unless Congress has a plan to pass a financial rescue bill.
* Oh, what the heck.
After all that, when the wandering debater finally showed up Friday night, he just looked like a smallish, grayish, slightly grumpy guy with a grizzly obsession."
Mostly, it was boring. I know it was "history in the making", but it was boring. Debates are not exactly a thrill a minute experience, but they don't have to be boring, either.
This nation is in the third week of the greatest financial disaster since Wall Street collapsed in the 1920's. I'm not asking for entertainment - every time Sarah Palin is interviewed on television we are provided with more than enough mawkish entertainment for my gullet (no wonder the Republicans keep her in the back room) - I'm asking to hear and see something that gives me some hope and confidence that somebody has a plan to lead us out of this.
My pension plan has lost thousands of dollars in the past few weeks which will take 7-8 years to recover.
Yesterday, there was a whisper of a rumor that WaMu bank was teetering on collapse. By noon, the branch at the local strip mall was closed.
The emergency squad just put out a call about a "potentially suicidal young man." Ms. Conroy said, "We're going to be getting a lot more of those calls."
The importance of these debates are more than historic. They can be used as a means to communicate a plan, a strategy, that makes sense - and give us hope instead of a frustrated yawn.