Oct 16 2008

Recap Of 3rd Presidential Debate For 2008

McCain wants to change DC, Obama wants to change America!

Some interesting things happened last night which showed something has changed the dynamic of this race as it goes into the home stretch.

The largest surprise I saw post debate was how McCain was getting huge positives for telling Obama he was not Bush and if had wanted to run against Bush he should have done it 4 years ago. Both Reps and Dems went way positive on the Luntz-Fox and CNN meters. This means this is not a rejection election of the Bush years. It is not about the past, it is about the future.

That negates a lot of Obama’s reason to be in the race. That means McCain is not going to be the whipping boy for the 90% wrong track numbers. Maybe it is because Bush has been out every other day trying to stabilize the markets he is getting some kudos for effort. Maybe the nostalgia is finally setting in as it does with all Presidents. Whatever the cause Obama has lost a major component of his case to be president.

The other thing I noticed is people were giving Obama the ‘win’ on the debate but going with McCain because he had better proposals or better arguments. I don’t score any points for style – none. I grew up around the DC smooth talkers who can use a lot of words and say absolutely nothing, so I score purely on intent, which is why I don’t squirm when people stumble a word here or there like George Bush is want to do. So it is interesting to see people disconnect ‘winning the debate’ from ‘winning their vote’. 

Finally, Obama looked bad last night many times. His rambling and confused response on free trade (as I noted below at 9:56 PM) had me thinking the guy had had a stroke or something he was so lost. It was funny last night, but the more I think about it was one instance of a lot of problems. And, yes I am being consistent here – mangling a word is not the same as babbling for 45 seconds incoherently.

Obama also has that aloof problem, where he is reciting and not connecting with voters. I think this is why he ‘won’ the debate but did not win the votes. Remember, there is an anti-DC mood all across the country – 90% off track means only 1 in 10 are glad to hear from the Political Industrial Complex. Obama has lost his connection to the masses to some degree. I think it started in Europe with him trying to run for President o the EU – that left people wondering what about us over here in America?

Is ridiculous rock-band acceptance speech at his convention was a monument to his ego, his self image. He had seriously bought into the Chosen One myth at that time – and you know us mortal humans cannot connect with a God. And his arrogance came out last night when he had huge smiles on his face as McCain asked tough questions on issues near and dear to the country. That did not play well. Obama has not connected and smiling like some sort of arrogant fool because you have a lead in some polls just doesn’t work.

Obama did not make the sale last night. We are in tough times with wars on and a financial mess left over from liberal policies demanding banks and others make a sea of bad loans. Obama is looking less and less capable of dealing with these challenges. We know McCain is solid, and we know he has the dynamo Sarah Palin at his side (one of us). McCain tapped an American from the heartland to help him lead, Obama lectures Americans on how they will need to spread their ‘wealth’.

And I think that it really was Joe The Plumber’s night. Joe Six Pack (which has always been a bit of an insulting term) is gone, replaced by small business owner (wannabe) Joe The Plumber. Obama is on the record saying last night as well, he will take your hard earned money and give it to those who did nothing to earn it. People who failed to study in school, or failed to follow the path of responsibility, or simply like to indulge themselves more than do something for themselves. 

I think something very subtle changed in the American psyche, and last night just exposed it. A lot of things have changed from the idea this is an anti-Bush, anti-Rep election to the idea Obama is one of us come to help us – instead apparently prepared to take our money and play Robin Hood. As we all know it was the Sheriff of Nottingham who was the one who took from the people. To be Robin Hood you can’t work for the government.

Update: Perusing RCP and other sites it is clear the topic on everyone’s mind is Joe The Plumber. I like what I saw in a UK paper for summarizing the imagery around this person who is now the talk of the election:

A few days ago, in what has now become a legendary confrontation, he accused Obama of planning to raise his taxes, thus making it very much more difficult for him to do his bit to expand the economy. In the course of that exchange, Obama made the revelatory comment that he believed that  “spreading the wealth around” would help everyone. And there it was: the crucial distinction between those (Democrats) who believe that the wealth created by individuals should be compulsorily redistributed, even if that means limiting the possibilities of creating more of it, and those (Republicans) who feel that it would be better left to the small businesses which will use it to grow and proffer more employment.

There were two game changers last night: (1) this election is not about Bush and (2) this election is now about Joe The Plumber. McCain does have Obama right where he needs him.

Addendum: The more I read the more I realize something really big happened around this debate that became exposed in this debate (not that the debate caused it to happen). Joe The Plumber is the American voter in the final act of this play. Sarah Palin was the American neighbor down the street who succeeded and is riding to take on Washington, but Joe The Plumber is us – still struggling to get a good slice of the American dream. As long as McCain and Palin stand by Joe in every commercial and stump speech and interview, promising to not raid his earnings to “share the wealth”, Obama will lose this election. Nothing else needs to be said because no other issue (birth certificates, past alliances with radicals) means a damn thing to Americans personally! Obama gave the GOP this gift, don’t waste it by wasting time on topics that don’t connect directly with the lives of the American voter. They will let anyone screw up and make mistakes as long as it doesn’t hurt them financially (which is why tying the Dems to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is probably still a good second or third topic).

Update: The WSJ also said it well today:

Neither candidate is offering policies that meet the serious economic moment. But Mr. McCain would let Americans keep more of their own income to ride out the downturn, while Mr. Obama is revealing that his default agenda is to spend money and expand the government.

That would be spending OUR money of course.

McCain wants to change DC, Obama wants to change America!

14 responses so far

14 Responses to “Recap Of 3rd Presidential Debate For 2008”

  1. CatoRenasci says:

    Good analysis.

    I note also in this debate Obama said he wanted to change America again.

    That clip should be juxtaposed with the Joe the Plumber comment with the point made – “So that’s what Obama means by changing America, taking more of your money and having the government decide how it’s spent!” Followed by something like: “Change – is it America that needs to change or is it Washington?” “John McCain wants to change Washington, Barack Obama wants Washington to run your life.”

  2. kathie says:

    Students like Obama because he talks about giving to students, making college easier to afford. Do they know that parents that pay for their children’s education already have a $2300 a year tax credit, Obama wants to raise it to $4000, but requires students to work.

    Obama complains that when a worker is without work he looses his medical insurance. McCain says that each person should own their own medical insurance, $5000 tax credit to make that possible, so if a person looses their job it doesn’t change medical insurance. Why isn’t that good?

    CEO”s of large corporations have taken piles of money, demonize the man, not what they do. If job creation is good, lowering their taxes so they are competitive in a global market, jobs will stay at home, corporations will grow, jobs will be created.

    Taxing small businesses causes them to contract not expand. Most jobs are created through small businesses, grow them don’t tax them. I guess if you believe that tax money should benefit those who don’t work then taxing the employer is a good thing. Now that is a real “John Galt” moment. My daughter works in a 5 employee business, if the owner is required to pay her medical insurance, she will be out of there. I pay her medical insurance, major medical is $99 a month. I’m sure I could have found a more expensive plan, but for a young healthy person this is good enough. If the owner is taxed at a higher rate, she will also be out of there. Is that good?

    Until this last down turn in the market, I think that our economy has been good. Unemployment was low, corporations should have been taxed less to compete. My taxes were lowered, as were all tax payers. People were encouraged to invest as capital gain taxes were also lowered. Do people really believe they can live for free?

    The big problem is that the Democrats demonized everything about the last eight years, which left John McCain empty handed, starting from scratch, rather then building on those policies that fell short.

  3. luc says:

    Gateway Pundit has a clip of an interview with Joe The Plumber after last night’s debate. Should McCain use that clip as an add it would be GOOD BYE Obama!

  4. kathie says:

    Your analysis is good AJ, but as I see it there is one big problem, it was rational, and the love affair with Obama is NOT RATIONAL.

  5. archtop says:

    “Students like Obama because he talks about giving to students, making college easier to afford. Do they know that parents that pay for their children’s education already have a $2300 a year tax credit, Obama wants to raise it to $4000, but requires students to work.”

    Giving students money for college sounds like a great idea until you realize that the colleges and universities are increasing their tuition and fees far beyond the rate of inflation. Moreover, where does a lot of this money go? More often than not, it ends up funding a high-tech lab that only a few grad students have access to. Or it gets used to build a new parking garage or a new gym for the faculty and staff. Meanwhile, the undergrads pay more for books, rooms, meals, and lab fees while having to attend classes in gymnasium because there are no classrooms left (the classrooms have been converted to research labs for faculty and grad students).

    So the question is – how can we fund college education without providing an incentive for the colleges and universities to engage in price gouging?

    BTW, I have 529 plans for my kids, but I’m afraid that by the time they get to use them, it may cover perhaps a year of college…

  6. kathie says:

    New ad, I think is very good.

    McCain ad: “Fight” find at “Hotair”

  7. CatoRenasci says:

    archtop: you’re right that whatever you think will be enough for your kids college, it won’t be. we have 2 kids, the younger of whom is now a senior in college. in the early 90s we budgeted, and were able to have when they started college, over a quarter of a million for their educations, which we expected to cover 4 years each at a private college, plus a year and a bit of grad school each, figuring that if they got that far w/o debt, they borrow for the last semester or so, and then they would have real skin in the game. (PS, they always had to earn their own spending and clothes money!) newsflash: we’re just going to come in under the wire to pay for their undergraduate educations without debt, with nothing left over for graduate school.

    One way to cut college costs is to go back to the levels of services, faculty size, and administration size that prevailed in, say, 1960. Basic dorms, athletic facilities, and food service, more structured general education requirements (which reduces the number of lower division classes), fewer majors (again, reduces the number of upper division courses) and even fewer departments (no more gender studies, ethnic studies, communications, marketing, journalism, etc. – leave that to trade schools). That wouldn’t do it all, but it would be a start.

  8. Birdalone says:

    My favorite line from same WSJ piece: “Mr. Obama is proposing to take federal spending to heights not seen since the early 1980s. If this is his agenda to spur recovery, no wonder the stock market is tanking.”

    Actually, one of the original reasons for the US stock market selloff correlated with Obama taking the lead in the polls. Contrary to what Obama believes (no one has any capital gains right now), individual investors who have held equities since at least 2001 DO have a capital gain, and may be selling now to take advantage of the current 15% tax rate rather than take the risk that equities will flounder in 2009 AND the capital gains tax will go back up.

    Yeah, pandering for the student vote with that $4,000 tax credit…

    sorry – field mouse in the house!

  9. OLDPUPPYMAX says:

    WELL ISN’T IT REMARKABLE…Ronald Reagan had this same idea almost 30 years ago. That is, let people keep more of what they earn and reduce the confiscation by government. But hey, according to Bill Kristol and other spineless country club republicans, the era of Reagan is over. We must seek Bipartisanship…win the “undecideds” (that is, the morons) and run away from the conservatism which the vast majority of the American public still believes in!! So now we have Bill’s conception of the ideal republican candidate…a RINO… and he is polling behind the most liberal and least qualified individual to ever run for the presidency. Hey Bill, why don’t you and your Washington/New England elitist buds go home and write your memoirs. Just stay off the air long enough for the rest of us to hopefully drag your dumbass candidate across the finish line.

  10. Frogg says:

    I think AJ has hit the nail on the head. Joe, the plumber, is a game changer.

  11. Frogg says:

    Obi Wan resurfaces:

    Word From Obi Wan, Another Insider, and a Third Sign for Optimism


    Obi Wan was very positive about last night’s debate.

    “McCain won every question, looked like a leader and not the law professor that Obama looked like. McCain hit the themes of Joe the Plumber and big government as the basic difference and then hurt Obama’s credibility on issue after issue.

    The media types will try and take the win away. — they tried in 1980 to say Carter won or that the debate was a draw. But the voters thought otherwise. It may take more than a couple of days, but as people start making judgments and ending their mood swings, the numbers should really help McCain.”

  12. Birdalone says:

    update: field mouse deceased. very troubling – never had one upstairs before, but direct shot of WD-40 enabled successful stab with umbrella tip. Cat useless. long live the creativity of American women! Didn’t even have to think “What would Sarah Palin do?” I just did it!

    someone asked me in an earlier thread why i didn’t just email URLs. I confess to not knowing how to email URLs to this blog.

    I watched the debate last night with a neighbor, then again on C-Span to watch the side by sides, trying to figure out why the commentary chided McCain’s demeanour. To me, McCain looked so energetic that he felt constrained by the chair.

    Still wish McCain would say that employer-paid health insurance has been a major reason for why more than one million US manufacturing jobs have moved to Canada since 2000, and an even more major reason why older workers lose their jobs.

    Too bad we don’t have two more debates just like this one to go.

  13. […] news today after the debate, especially from the master political guru he refers to Obi-Wan Kenobi (H/T Reader Frogg).  You can go there to read the sage advice, but there are other indicators that O-Bomba may be […]

  14. clintsf says:

    While I was watching the debate, I wished McCain would hit Obama harder on the economy.

    I totally missed it.

    McCain won the economy in a rout simply by mentioning Joe the Plumber ten times — and making Obama mention him five times.

    That makes Joe the Plumber the issue for the next three or four days.

    It highlights the “raise taxes –> kill jobs” theme and uses Obama’s own words to point out that he’s an old-school redistributionist.

    More than any candidate I can remember, McCain understands that words are good, but symbolic acts and complete stories are better. And more than any candidate I can remember, he never ever loses sight of the big picture — the big themes and stories he’s painting for the voters.

    I can’t wait to see what the polls do in the next two weeks…