Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The debate

It looked like another draw. Obama wasn't perfect but again it was the manic McCain on display. This is the man who had to suspend his presidential campaign so that he could focus on the financial bailout legislation. But now he says he can do everything at once: every energy policy, health insurance reform, social security, Medicare, Afghanistan and Iraq. Everything will be an equal priority.

His discussion of Pakistan is very strange. In his first attempt at it, he seemed to be assuming that the General Petraeus counterinsurgency could be used in Pakistan. But the US is not occupying Pakistan, right? Later on he was a bit clearer that the Petraeus strategy would be applied in Afghanistan, but in doing so never addressed the extreme pessimism of the regional experts on the prospects for "winning" there that were quoted by Tom Brokaw as part of the question.

On the other hand, Obama never directly responded to an astute final clause to one of the audience questions -- that attacking targets in Pakistan as part of the Afghan war could be compared to the attacks on Cambodia during the Vietnam war. Then again, McCain didn't respond to that either.

Obama also missed a few openings that his campaign will surely try to exploit over the next few days. McCain saying that social security reform is "easy". Comparing it to the social security reform commission of the 1980s. Who headed that commission: Alan Greenspan. So let's close with a Greenspan quote --

Why do we wish to inhibit the pollinating bees of Wall Street?

They turned out to be mutant bees.

UPDATE: Where did McCain get his hair transplant joke -- that Americans are fussing about losing trivial benefits on their health insurance plan?

THE PRESIDENT: And so the whole purpose, by the way, of this discussion is to help the individual, but to also help the entrepreneur do their duty. That's why I've come. I've really come to say thanks to your Governor for being innovative. See, he's helping lay out a basic health care plan. One of the problems we have at state level is that over time a lot of mandates have been added to insurance. You know, the hair follicle benefit -- well, you don't need hair follicles, particularly if you have hair. (Laughter.) If you're going bald, you might think you do, but it's probably not a necessary part of a health care plan.

ONE MORE THING: McCain seemed to claim that Russia would veto any UN Security Council action against Iran if Iran attacked Israel. He doesn't seem to know much about the complex relationship between Russia and Israel. Pootie-Poot, pictured above with Israeli PM Olmert, could explain it to him.

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