PA Debate: The Morning After
Now that you've had some time to reflect on last night's Pennsylvania debate, what did you think?
Some journalists are outraged over the the questions. Of course, the questions in this debate were no different than those in previous debates that lacked substance and seemed designed to put a candidate on the hot seat -- the difference was that this time (for once) it was Obama, not Hilary getting the heat.
I've watched the debate twice. The second time I tried to view it through the lens of a Pennsylvania voter who wasn't familiar with the nitty gritty details of William Ayers and lapel pins. (I figured even they knew about Bitter-Gate and Rev. Wright and Bosnia.)
It was unfortunate that the substantive portion of the debate didn't focus more on issues of importance to PA voters. The PA polls have shown PA voters of both parties are very concerned about immigration, the economy, health care and terrorism. They are less concerned about the war. By economy, I don't think they mean capital gains taxes for the wealthy. I think they mean creating new jobs, maintaining the jobs they have, how to avoid foreclosure, feed their families and put something away for their retirement and their kids' education, and how to be able to deal with having to take care of elderly parents.
Immigration is an issue neither candidate has been stellar on. Hillary's crime plan came out this week, there's a lot more to it than 100,00 cops on the stret, a measure Obama also supports. I would have liked Hillary to describe her plan, Obama to critique it or agree with it, and say where he'd be different. I think they are as close as two peas in a pod.
I don't think a typical voter was looking for a "got-cha" moment. To my voter's eye, Hillary explained her detailed plans, with enthusiasm and in words we could understand, such as her plan for putting more cops on the street -- while Obama was kind of like a bump on a log.
On guns, they both skirted the issue.Their positions are identical. They both believe, as do I, that the Second Amendment conveys an individual right to bear arms. With the Supreme Court about to decide the issue, how credibie were their answers that they didn't have an answer because they didn't know the facts. That's just doublespeak. They have aides prepping them for the debates who could and should have expected this question and briefed the candidates. so they could have answered the gun question directly.
Bottom Line: Obama seemed more hesitant. In trying to choose his words so carefully, he appeared either indecisive, uninformed, and weak.
Hillary walked miles around him with her plans. She has one for everything and you can tell details and rationales for each.
A debate over the differences in their agenda would have been a debate worth watching. Instead of showcasing two bright candidates, they showcased how both might be weaker than John McCain.
Hillary was stronger, more confident, likable and, most importantly, more presidential. You could see her in that role. Obama came off defensive and a tad angry.
The nominee's job is just beginning at nomination. After that, she or he has to beat John McCain.
AS the voters are watching to see who they like the best, the super delegates watching are asking themselves, not just who can beat John McCain, but also after that, who has the knowledge and capital smarts and experience to get their agendas past Congress.
The problem with Obama is he's too inexperienced. He won't have enough clout with Congress if elected.
Hillary tonight showed she has what it takes. Obama was more, "Let me think on that, I'll get back to you in the morning.
Update: Comments now Closed
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