The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

McCain v. Obama, Round One

So, first debate’s over. Liberals say Obama won, conservatives say McCain won. Let’s look at what was actually said, and make the call from there:

Economics: Liked McCain’s “I’ve not been feeling too great about things” line, as it shows a measure of compassion; that he’s feeling the same things everyone else is. Obama’s still hung up on the “protect Main Street, not Wall Street” line. McCain made a mention of the bipartisian nature of the foolishness going on in DC to get a bailout bill passed, and tied it to some of his bipartisan work. Good move.

Fundamental difference between the economic plans: McCain-cut government spending, Obama-cut taxes to most Americans and close corporate tax loopholes. I have to say, for all the talk about raising taxes on those making more than $250K, there’s not that many (in terms of the national population) of them. So for McCain to say that Obama wants to raise taxes is true…but not for everyone. On the corporate loopholes…don’t know. Obviously, there’s some things that need to be fixed, but if closing those loopholes is going to have the effect of raising taxes on corporations, then said will continue to bail to other countries and take jobs with them. Not good.

On the question of what would the candidates give up as an effect of the bailout…Obama didn’t really answer, just saying parts of his plan would have to be “deferred.” Okay….but what?

McCain said that he would freeze all government spending except for spending on defense, veterans’ care, and and entitlements…to which Obama responded that would be “using a hammer when you need a scapel.” That’s true….but even in surgery, you have to break open the body before you know where you’re going.

Advantage (to this point): Probably Obama. I disagree with some of his answers and plans, but he at least rattled them off with confidence. McCain went more the “attack” route, which isn’t what people want to hear right now. That said, McCain did do better than I expected….

Foreign Policy/National Security: McCain starts with the standard “victory” speech, and Obama counters with his standard “never should’ve gone” speech. Memo to Obama: whether or not we should’ve gone at this point is irrelevant. What IS relevant is how we clean up while we’re there. Also, I’d love for you to tell some of my friends that we “wasted” 4,000 lives in Iraq.

Now that that’s outta the way….

Argument about the surge. Check.

McCain mentions that neither Obama or Biden have held a hearing on the state of Afghanistan.

Obama calls him out on his judgement about the war, saying:

The war started in 2003, and at the time when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy. You said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong. You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shiite and Sunni. And you were wrong.

That hurts. Telling McCain flat out that he was “wrong” to his face, and in front of a national audience? Obama gets a point for that.

McCain says that GEN Petraeus will use the same strategy in Afghanistan that he used in Iraq. Different war. I’m not sure if a heavy surge into Afghanistan (1) is militarily sustainable, and (2) will sit well with the fiercely independent Afghans.

McCain called out Obama on wanting to “attack Pakistan.” Obama counters by saying that he would attack al Qaeda in Pakistan if it was prudent to do so. Technically, that’s violation of a sovereign country…though I don’t really think anyone will bitch over that.

I was not a fan of either candidate mentioning dead soldiers to prove respective points. However, McCain knew from memory who was on his bracelet, and Obama had to look at his.

Advantage: McCain. Though Obama survived. You could argue that just because of that, it’s a draw at best…and I wouldn’t argue.

And the winner is: Hard to tell. Since most of the debate was foreign policy, you could say McCain won. However, neither candidate delievered any sort of knockout blow, though there were hits on both sides. The economic questions provided a clear advantage to Obama, and that helped to level the field a lot.

I’m calling it a draw.




Written by Coby Dillard

September 27, 2008 at 8:56 am

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