Smile Politely

Thoughts on the Presidential Debate

2:46 a.m. Saturday, a solid five hours after the first presidential debate and I have yet to find a single news/blog posting regarding the two major points not made in tonight’s debate.

Point 1: No idiots spoke. Of the three people involved, all of them are intelligent, and essentially rational. This is good news. There were no southern accents for the first time in twenty years. No one evoked “god.”

Point 2: Obama missed a HUGE rebuttal point on Ireland.

John McCain said Ireland’s business tax is 11% while ours is 35%. He said smart companies that have the option to choose will choose Ireland.

Obama did the right thing by not saying something as useless, patriarchal and xenophobic as “jobs ort stay in ‘mercuh cuz we alls ‘mericuhns.”

He did the wrong thing by not saying: “John, the reason companies choose Ireland is that they have a national health care program. This means companies relieve themselves from the burden of health benefits — thus saving millions and millions of dollars a year. If America wants to be a site of manufacturing for the global economy, we’ll have to look at a national health care program. Detroit, for one, cannot wait.”

There was no intricate policy discussion. Neither candidate seemed wonkish — which term I use as a compliment. If you want to watch someone whose head is stuck in policy, you’ll have to watch the rerun of Bill Clinton’s visit with Jon Stewart. That guy knows policy.

It would be hard to say that either “won” as there was little development. No one scored a zinger against the other. No one said anything really interesting. I think Obama was correct in their disagreement on Henry Kissinger’s worldview, but that’s about it.

Because McCain had to win the “foreign policy” debate, because Obama’s lead in the polls is expanding, and because the smarter elements of the Republican establishment are (seeing the writing on the wall, or common sense, and consequently) hurriedly distancing themselves from Sarah Palin; this Round One must be seen as going to Obama.

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