car·riage re·turn

n. the lever or mechanism on a typewriter that would cause the cylinder on which the paper was held (the carriage) to return to the left margin of the page

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Round 1:Fight! (Kinda)

I’m not going to go through the debate with a fine-toothed comb,playing “spot the lies”(I do have other things to do this weekend),but I will address a few things:

  • I found myself wondering –McCain says he saw the current economic crisis coming;as the two-time chair of the Senate Commerce Committee,did he ever hold any hearings based on his alleged concerns?
  • I’ve been around animals long enough to know that submissive ones avoid eye contact while others assert dominance by engaging it. McCain was shrinking away from Obama’s gaze all night.
  • The exchange on earmarks left me wanting more. McCain kept on yammering on about Obama’s requests for Illinois (something like $900 million?). Why Obama did not bringing up Palin’s addiction to earmarks is beyond me. He could have easily said “John,if you’re so concerned about earmarks,why did you pick a running mate who governs a state which had the highest per capita ratio of earmarked dollars this year –some $550 million dollars for a state of only 680,000 people? And to continue,John,why did you pick a running mate who submitted $127 million worth in earmarked requests from 2002-2003 as the mayor of a town of 8,000?”Those two sentences would have buried the issue and inflicted some serious damage on McCain/Palin,but Obama didn’t even throw the punch.
  • When McCain was talking about strategic military strikes against Al-Qaeda in Pakistan,he critiqued Obama’s support of said strikes by saying something to the effect of “If you’re going to point a gun at someone,you’d better be prepared to pull the trigger.”All Obama had to say in response was “Really,John? Let me quote you directly:‘Bomb,bomb,bomb,bomb,bomb Iran.’Are you going to pull that trigger?”Thank God,Obama did bring it up,but he didn’t emphasize it or leverage it. If you can show your opponent to be a hothead while appearing calm and collected while under attack,you’re doing well. Obama didn’t capitalize the way he should have here;this would have been another potential knock-out blow.
  • When McCain was talking about Georgia,Obama should have brought up the fact that McCain’s top foreign policy advisor was a lobbyist for Georgia,which doesn’t exactly provide McCain with an unmolested view of the situation.
  • As a student of Russian and Eastern European history,I’ve got to say that McCain’s belligerent posture toward Russia (and his “I see three letters in Putin’s eyes:K-G-B”line) are extremely troubling. Make no mistake,I’m not advocating the current brand of Russian foreign policy,but the United States need a President who is less bellicose and more nuanced. That President is not John McCain.

Overall,it was a mixed night,though I think Obama “won”the debate in the eyes of most potential viewers. My disappointment with Obama tonight isn’t because McCain got the better of him in the debate,but because Obama didn’t send McCain home reeling and bloody from an encounter with Facts and Truth.

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