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Senators Barack Obama and John McCain hooked up for another presidential debate last night in Tennessee. This one was moderated by liberal Democrat Tom Brokaw from the pro-Obama network NBC, in contrast to the first debate, which was moderated by liberal Democrat Gwen Ifill from the pro-Obama network PBS. At least Brokaw isn't writing a book subtitled "The Age Of Obama." I'm not sure who will be moderating the third and final debate next week, but in the interests of fairness and balance, I'd suggest someone like Keith Olbermann from the left wing network MS-NBC, or maybe Obama's spokesman, Bill Burton. I'm sure any Democrat will suffice. Except for a Blue Dog.
Tom Brokaw made sure that this so-called townhall meeting was just one more boilerplate debate filled with the same old stock questions. It was designed to introduce nothing much new, and therefore was less likely to lead to any major gaffes or shakeups. The advantage in such a status quo scenario goes to the person who is already leading in the polls. And wouldn't you know, that person just so happens to be Barack Obama.
If you saw the first presidential debate, you didn't really need to watch this one (but here's the transcript anyway). The questions were all the same, and the answers were mostly the same, with ONE BIG EXCEPTION. Obama in particular gave the exact same responses as he did last time, so there's really nothing new to report from his side. Obama has memorized his talking points better than any candidate in recent memory. He is so disciplined and programmed that I have actually reached the point where I know exactly what Obama is going to say before he says it. If Obama becomes ill in the next 30 days, I think I could fill in for him on the campaign trail. I've seen and heard the Obama show so many times that I have it down cold (I need to get a life). McCain was a little more extemporaneous, but he covered a lot of the same territory as well.
As far as who won the debate, I gave the first 15 minutes to Obama, the next hour to McCain, and the last 15 minutes to Obama. I thought McCain won the economic part of the debate (with ONE BIG EXCEPTION), and Obama won the foreign policy portion. I realize that's just my perception, and that the winner is subjective. Democrats think Obama won. Republicans think McCain won. I always like to flip through the various television networks after a debate to hear what they think, and it was just as I said. NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, and MS-NBC (the pro-Obama networks) were all saying how great Obama did. Over on the token right-leaning network, FoxNews, 86% of the viewers were saying McCain won. The dumbest thing I heard post-debate was Keith Olbermann and the lunatic fringe on MS-NBC saying that McCain had somehow played the race card when he pointed at Obama and referred to him as "that one" when describing an Obama Senate vote. Some people just shouldn't be handed a microphone, and the Olbermaniac is one of them.
I'd give McCain the nod as overall winner of the debate, but I have to deal with the ONE BIG EXCEPTION I mentioned earlier. During a discussion of the financial crisis, McCain said the following:
I think that this problem has become so severe, as you know, that we're going to have to do something about home values. You know that home values of retirees continues to decline and people are no longer able to afford their mortgage payments. As president of the United States, Alan, I would order the secretary of the treasury to immediately buy up the bad home loan mortgages in America and renegotiate at the new value of those homes -- at the diminished value of those homes and let people be able to make those -- be able to make those payments and stay in their homes.
Is it expensive? Yes. But we all know, my friends, until we stabilize home values in America, we're never going to start turning around and creating jobs and fixing our economy. And we've got to give some trust and confidence back to America.
If this is what it appears to be, it is a $300 billion plan for the government to nationalize bad mortgages at taxpayer expense. This would be on top of the $700 billion bailout plan for Wall Street that has already been passed, and on top of the bailouts of AIG, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. If this is what it appears to be, John McCain just lost my vote. In my world, conservatives don't bail out people who bought houses they couldn't afford. In my world, people are responsible for their own actions. The taxpayers are NOT responsible. If this is what it appears to be, all McCain's talk of reducing spending and lowering taxes flies right out the window. I've had it with politicians who call themselves fiscally conservative, but govern like they are liberals, throwing around taxpayer dollars like candy. We just had 8 years of that, and I'm not voting for it any more. I'm done. You can't say you want to freeze government spending, as McCain has, and then turn around and say you are going to spend another $300 billion. This insanity has got to stop, and the only ones who can stop it is We The People. Our politicians have lost their minds.
And did anyone notice that both candidates dodged the most important question asked during the entire debate, the one about how we deal with the looming Social Security/Medicare funding crisis ? That issue deals with $53 trillion in unfunded liabilities, which will make the current financial crisis look like chicken feed, and neither candidate gave anything close to an answer. There was no Straight Talk, and no Change We Can Believe In on that question, just two pandering politicians trying to fool the public in order to get elected. The leadership deficit continues.
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