To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

TtP Debate Drunkblogging - What the Fuck? '08, Part III: Temples of Boom

Okay, we are at the third and final presidential debate. Since these debates began Barack Obama has taken a double digit lead over McCain in most polls. In other words all Obama needs to do tonight is resist the urge to whip it out on stage and he's on the glide path to the presidency.

Okay, let's review the title fight.

The Heavy Favorite: Barack "Yes, I Can Bitches" Obama. Despite losing the first round, he is way up on points over all, having rope-a-doped his opponent very effectively. Granted, no one knows who he is and he has no record to speak of, but that's what is going to make his presidency so exciting.

The Longshot: John "I'd Rather Be Back in the Hanoi Hilton" McCain. He's far behind and this is his last shot. The big question: will he make this a suicide mission and attack with all he's got or will he just strategically withdrawal and accept defeat?

9:04 PM EST: Bob Schieffer starts off with a low, easy softball to both candidates: Why is your health care plan best? McCain starts off by smacking Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Nice to hear that but he follows that by plugging his expensive mortgage recovery plan. One step forward, one step back.

9:11 PM EST: Obama says we need an economic plan for the middle class then follows with a blizzard of wonkery regarding his plan. McCain then launches into a clearly rehearsed bit involving a plumber named Joe "trying to realize the American dream" that Obama supposedly met. McCain says he will stand up for Joe. No word on whether Joe's last name was "Six-pack".

9:14 PM EST: Obama tries to outflank McCain on tax cutting. McCain hits back, saying Obama told Joe the Plumber he wanted "to spread the wealth around". McCain wants to let Joe the Plumber spread the wealth around. Presumably through his own business.

9:16 PM EST: Obama: "Nobody likes to pay taxes. I'd like it if I could make it that nobody has to pay taxes again." If only there were some office Obama could get elected to where he could actually put that idea in motion ...

9:18 PM EST: So far, this is really boring. Advantage: Obama.

9:19 PM EST: Schieffer: What part of your own spending plans would cut in light of the financial crisis? Jim Lehrer asked that same question and both candidates dodged it then, as they do now. McCain does promise an across-the-board spending freeze and promises to cut ethanol subsidies. So he offers a few specifics. Good for him.

9:24 PM EST: McCain: "Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago." Well, McCain is angry at least. We could have a bloodbath yet. Here's hoping.

9:28 PM EST: McCain says they could have avoided the recent nastiness of the campaigns if only Obama had agreed to the town hall meetings. The camera catches Obama smirking. And why not? He's winning. He's probably thinking of the champagne back in his hotel suite.

9:31 PM EST: McCain calls on Obama to repudiate the recent attacks by Congressman John Lewis basically accusing McCain of having a white sheet in his closet. Obama blows him off and says they should talk about the issues the American people want to talk about. McCain keeps pressing Obama on Lewis. Obama concedes it might have been "inappropriate." He then goes back to how the American people want to get away from the tit-for-tat. God damn, the man is smooth. He's gotta rein in the smirking though.

9:39 PM EST: Bill Ayers and ACORN come up. Obama roundly condemns Ayer's "despicable" acts, but for some reason does not call them "terrorist" acts. Hmmm ... On ACORN, he says, "They had nothing to do with us." Well, except for the the $800,000 Obama paid them.

9:47 PM EST: McCain says Canadian oil is fine, Venezuelan oil, not so much. Must be something in the chile peppers they grow down there.

9:52 PM EST: Obama: "I believe in free trade but ..." then launches into a about three pages worth of Big Labor talking points about how free trade is ruining America and NAFTA and other deals must be reversed. It's all bullshit, but he does sell it well.

9:54 PM EST: McCain says free trade is a "no-brainer". I agree, but I would have phrased it rather differently.

9:58 PM EST: Obama is happy. The dude cannot stop grinning. He thinks he's winning and he's probably right, but he's losing his cool, detached demeanor about it. Maybe he'll drop his guard and say something genuinely interesting. Here's hoping.

10:00 PM EST: Maybe he just did. I just heard Obama talk about "negotiating directly with the drug companies". That's liberalspeak for imposing price controls on the pharmaceutical industry. It probably flies past most people though.

10:03 PM EST: Both candidates talk directly to Joe the Plumber about their healthcare plan. Who will win Joe's vote? Never has so much ridden on the back of man best known for showing people the crack of his ass.

10:06 PM EST: McCain speaks briefly about "gold-plated cadillacs". Alas it is just a metaphor. My hopes for the first presidential debate on pimping your ride are dashed.

10:09 PM EST: McCain touts his votes for Supreme Court Justices Ginsberg and Breyer, two of the most liberal judges. Right-wingers across the country gnash their teeth in frustration.

10:14 PM EST: I'm finishing Dewars on the rocks number 5. The debate isn't looking any better. In 2012, I think I'll have to start using Absinthe.

10:17 PM EST: Obama: "Sexuality is sacred." Man, what did they do at those Reverend Wright services?

10:19 PM EST: Obama says education is a "national security" issue. He says, "There has been a debate between more money and reform. I think we should do both." Expect more of the former and a lot less of the latter.

10:21 PM EST: McCain responds on education by touting charter schools. Good, solid answer. Very dull too. I gotta give him some points though for saying that some of the best-funded schools have the worst performance. Obama returns to saying we have got to spend, spend, spend on schools. That sound you hear is the teachers unions shouting "cha-ching!"

10:28 PM EST: And that is it on the debate. Both men get final remarks. McCain goes first.

10:29 PM EST: McCain touts his history of fighting his own party and being a "careful steward" of the people's tax dollars. Is it just me or are those reasons to keep him in the Senate?

10:31 PM EST: Obama says "we need fundamental change in this country." Well, I never saw that one coming ... To be specific, he's for good things for the American people and their children. That's good to know.

10:32 PM EST: And that's it, the debate is over. Oh, thank God. I was getting ready to break into the vodka ...

The Wrap-Up: Pretty much a draw from my perspective. I liked McCain better on substance especially when Obama made it clear he's just another big government hack. But McCain didn't make the case that strongly -- certainly not as strongly as he needed to. He took several shots at Obama but never landed a real haymaker. Obama remains as smooth as an ice-cold brew on a hot summer afternoon. Even when he was saying some socialist bullshit I had a hard time getting upset. If I was an undecided voter (i.e., ignorant moron) I would have been confused but thought that Obama's ideas sounded okay. If Obama had a problem it was that he has become too confident, even cocky. The dude grinned more than Kate Moss at a cocaine taste-testing. But then people like their heroes to be cocky and confident. So the winner is Obama, by split decision.

So, prepare for four supremely chill years in the White House.

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