The First Ten Minutes

Now that the debate is on, I think we can consider the following factors that could and, imo, will, largely shape the perception of the debate.

The first is positive for Barack Obama - John McCain looked like a crass political operative with his ridiculous stunts. McCain is in a hole right now because his obvious political stunt blew up in his face. There is no deal and yet McCain will be at the debate. His mere appearance constitutes an obvious flip flop.

The second is positive for McCain. By plan or by sheer luck, McCain has utterly lowered the expectations for his performance tonight. He has been such a bumbler all week that the ability to stand up and not do a Chevy Chase doing a Gerald Ford imitation will be a small win for McCain.

More . . .

The third is also positive for McCain - Obama is now falsely perceived as a good debater. He is decidedly NOT a good debater. He is, when he is on his game, a mediocre debater. He can not (or at least, has not) speak concisely, clearly or forcefully in debate settings. The expectations are entirely too high for an Obama performance. I have watched Obama debate over 20 times and in at least half he was a weak debater, and as for the others he was mostly just passable. Very rarely has Obama been a good debater.

The fourth is positive for Obama. This debate, more than others, will be dominated by the first ten minutes of discussion. This is due to the fact that the economy and the bailout issues surrounding the credit/mortgage crisis in Wall Street will dominate the top of the debate.

To that end, Obama should have a set piece presentation ready to go on this. Of course McCain will have one too but we all know what he will say for the most part - he will hang on to the obvious fiction that he brought the parties together getting them to talk.

This presents Obama with an interesting choice - should he challenge McCain's lies on this subject or plow through to the issues and his presentation of his Main Street concerns regarding this Wall Street problem.

My own view is that Obama should ignore McCain's self absorption and concentrate on the American People. He should restate and reemphasize his priorities - the American People and their problems. He should talk about what he wants to do and see done now to help ordinary Americans. In short, he should feel the pain of the American People. Let John McCain brag on himself. Barack Obama should say, as Hillary Clinton asks continually, "the question is not who you are for, but who is for you."

Barack Obama should spend the first ten minutes of the debate proving to the American People that he, Barack Obama, is for them. Let John McCain spend his ten minutes telling the American People why they should be for him, John McCain.

Barack Obama should spend the first ten minutes proving to the American People that he, Obama, is for them.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    There's a possibility (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:17:02 PM EST
    that McCain will do a U-turn and start with "dangerous world."

    But as I think Steve M said last night, this stunt made Obama look like the safe, reasonable choice. Quite a feat for McCain.

    I totally agree. (none / 0) (#30)
    by coigue on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:48:29 PM EST
    McCain has managed to project all his OWN professed strengths onto Obama, and lost them for himself.

    -calm leadership


    Except NYT today says that despite (none / 0) (#32)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:50:23 PM EST
    Obama's claims to bi-partisanship in the Senate, McCain has the actual track record.  

    Sure. But that is erased in one fell swoop. (none / 0) (#38)
    by coigue on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:54:47 PM EST
    In my experience (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Steve M on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:19:50 PM EST
    the people who love Obama's, shall we say, deliberate and thoughtful approach to debating are utterly unable to appreciate how it comes across to those who do not love it.

    Obama is perfectly capable of expressing himself forcefully and decisively when need be.  Hopefully he has practiced long and hard at doing that in a debate setting.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by CST on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:24:50 PM EST
    I don't personally have a problem with the "uh"s, I can relate to it.

    But I can certainly appreciate that it bugs the hell out of everyone else.  Mainly because everyone talks about how it bugs the hell out of them.

    So I like it when he's a "bad debater" personally, but politically I hate it.  I am well aware that he doesn't need to win my vote...


    It is not just the "uh" (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Steve M on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:28:35 PM EST
    but the fact that he spends way too long carefully choosing his words.  Also, he makes his sentences needlessly complex with surplus words like "somehow" and "not necessarily."  Seriously, take a drink for every time Obama fits one of those two things into a sentence.

    He loses me with the meandering.... (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Maria Garcia on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:47:24 PM EST
    ...I know its more the fault of my attention span than of his speaking style, but his speeches are well crafted and edited so I can follow them. But when he is off script, my mind wanders...even though it isn't that he doesn't know what he's talking about. It's more that I have stopped listening.

    I had that problem with the first 20 (none / 0) (#48)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:14:00 PM EST
    minutes of his speech at the convention.

    My problem too, Maria (none / 0) (#51)
    by christinep on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:16:58 PM EST
    It is quite difficult for me to concentrate when Obama speaks in clumps of 3 or 4 words (often interspersed by "uhs" and a "y'know" for every paragraph.) Thanks for letting me say that. Obviously, I agree with our party and his positions. So, it is a style thing--as so many have said. Perhaps, with the experience of the coming years in the WH, his speaking style will loosen up a bit, saving the forced, measured formal tone for the big speeches such as the State of the Union.

    No, Maria is not your attention span, (none / 0) (#92)
    by Finis Terrae on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 04:23:54 PM EST
    it is his speaking style. He loses me too. McCain is not great but at least he tends to be more succint.

    It's his use of ... (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 03:33:04 PM EST
    subordinate clauses.  They're a killer in Presidential politics.  More declarative sentences is what he needs.

    But I don't expect to see that.

    He's just a subordinate clause kinda guy, and we have to live with that.


    Heh (none / 0) (#17)
    by CST on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:33:10 PM EST
    Now THAT would make debate watching a lot more fun.  In fact, it may just make me like those words more :)

    Obama's guy Gibbs described that (none / 0) (#22)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:37:18 PM EST
    in a funny piece on the political theater of the expectations game-playing, as reported by the Christian Science Monitor :

    Reporters were ready to break out their violins and shed a tear when Robert Gibbs launched into his assessment of Barack Obama's debating skills.  "I think you come away from watching Senator Obama understanding that this isn't his strong suit," Mr. Gibbs, Obama's communications director, told a Monitor breakfast Thursday. "Sometimes it takes 60 seconds for him to clear his throat. . . ."

    Aides to both candidates were busy setting expectations for debate performance -- a time-honored tradition in the game of politics. . . .
    A top aide to Senator McCain praised Obama's debating prowess at a Monitor luncheon. "We know Senator Obama is a phenomenal debater," he said, as reporters chuckled. He is "one of the most gifted orators that we've seen."

    On Thursday, one could not be blamed for thinking Gibbs was describing a completely different person when he talked about Obama's debate habits: "He tends to get a question, describe the problem, tell a story, give some solutions, and you pray to God that that isn't 45 seconds longer than you've been allotted to speak. . . ."

    Indeed (none / 0) (#5)
    by andgarden on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:21:55 PM EST
    I think the  best way to get people who don't seem to understand to understand is to point out the "ums" and "uhs."

    I hope we don't see any of that tonight.


    And (none / 0) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:23:11 PM EST
    paper shuffling. Maybe that only bothers me but it seems to be really distracting.

    Rehearsing out loud (none / 0) (#31)
    by MKS on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:49:44 PM EST
    could help Obama alot....But he lost time in debate prep.   Having certain phrases memorized--and saying them out loud--can make them sound smoother and more convincing....

    There is hope here....Obama iirc rehearsed for a long time an intro into a Monday Night Football  game a couple of years ago...to get the "dun, dun, dun, Dun" cadence right...


    He had good practice yesterday (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:53:31 PM EST
    in a way, with no prep for how to talk about the White House meeting -- but he came across well as the calm one.  So he's ready.

    He's been much more crisp (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by prose on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:02:34 PM EST
    in his delivery lately.  I think that's been a major improvement in his campaign since the primary.  I hope he can show some fire tonight.  I'm afraid that he'll stay in the "reserved cool-handed leader" for too much of the time.  Most of us are pissed.  Obama needs to go there sometimes.

    Well put. (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:48:36 PM EST
    Most of us are containing our anger, too, but angry we are about the economy.  It's having impact on family and friends of mine already, very serious impact -- especially sad for many  young people I know.  I am angry about deferred retirements yet again for ourselves and others.  But I'm more angry for young couples I know . . .  and not, by any menas, the ones who have bought McMansions with no money down.  

    In just the last couple of days, I am hearing from and about young couples I know who have studied hard and worked hard and have been careful to save to be able to start their lives and families but are facing layoffs and lost dreams.  Not dreams about ballet lessons but just the basics, like being able to pay medical costs for unforeseen postpartum problems.  

    I want to see that these candidates understand the suffering that is already here -- and the impact on the economy for years to come if the best of our young people suffer such setbacks and feel so defeated and scared already.  


    Chin down (none / 0) (#33)
    by MKS on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:51:45 PM EST
    He stopped looking up at the ceiling a few debates ago--I know it was contemplative thought--but just keep your eyes down on your lecturn (writing notes) or on McCain when he is speaking.

    This is also worth considering (none / 0) (#93)
    by Alien Abductee on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 04:25:45 PM EST
    if you're going to go around discussing those ums and uhs.

    Is it your opinion Sen. Obama (none / 0) (#95)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 04:32:54 PM EST
    speaks as he does due to how African Americans felt constrained to speak while in the presence of Caucasians in the South in the past?  

    I think he's always (none / 0) (#99)
    by Alien Abductee on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 04:39:44 PM EST
    cautiously weighing his words, not just out of professorial eggheadedness but for the reason that op ed outlines -

    Mr. Obama seems to understand that he is always an utterance away from a statement -- or a phrase -- that could transform him in a campaign ad from the affable, rational and racially ambiguous candidate into the archetypical angry black man who scares off the white vote. His caution is evident from the way he sifts and searches the language as he speaks, stepping around words that might push him into the danger zone.

    These maneuvers are often painful to watch. The troubling part is that they are necessary.

    It adds an extra level to the thought process he has to go through for everything he says.


    What exactly (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by lilburro on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:03:34 PM EST
    are the words in the "danger zone" that he cannot say?  

    I don't recall him having a problem attacking Hillary in the SC debate.  He is currently having no problem attacking McCain.  

    Fox News and McCain will find their Angry Black Man wherever they want to.  "Terrorist fist jab"?  I think people see how stupid it is.

    Plus the ums and ahs to me don't sound like Obama trying to control his temper or recover from his insecurity.  He does a great job of controlling his temper.  He's very level-headed.  

    Honestly, I haven't seen him debate in a long time.  Maybe it was just having Hillary as an opponent - Hillary is like an ATM of facts.  Barack went conceptual when debating her.  


    I really don't like the implicit accusation here (none / 0) (#100)
    by andgarden on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 04:47:02 PM EST
    I think you need to say exactly what your point is.

    Seriously (none / 0) (#103)
    by Alien Abductee on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 04:58:35 PM EST
    there's no accusation implicit or otherwise meant. I do believe it's an important part of understanding what those annoying ums and ahs are about. No accusation meant at all, just that this aspect should be part of any discussion of the topic.

    Sorry (none / 0) (#101)
    by Steve M on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 04:55:32 PM EST
    I think that argument is just plain silly.

    I have never seen any indication that Barack Obama has any trouble whatsoever steering clear of the stereotype of the Angry Black Man, because frankly, that's just not who he is.  If I were Obama, I'd be embarrassed to have someone offer this race-based excuse on my behalf.


    Well, (none / 0) (#104)
    by Alien Abductee on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 05:02:05 PM EST
    I've thought this for a long time, considerably before reading this op ed. It's obviously a consideration for a "post-racial" black candidate in today's America. It's absurd to think it wouldn't need to be.

    It simply doesn't make sense (none / 0) (#124)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:10:36 PM EST
    when applied to Obama.  That is not to say that it makes sense for some African Americans -- and many others in this society (I see it far more often in my Hispanic and Asian students, actually, although I teach more African American students.  I have seen what may be such speech patterns and behaviors you suggest, though, in much older generations -- their grandparents).

    But Obama could not have gotten to where he is today, or even where he was five years ago or ten years ago or more, if this had conditioned him -- as it would have held him back.  And that's apart from the fact that he does not have the typical African American heritage at all -- no Southerners for so many generations.

    Now, I could see that his years of moving from parent to step-parent to grandparents, etc., could affect his communication skills and self-confidence.  But then again, that is belied by his success in environment after environment in which his self-confidence has been key -- Columbia, Harvard, community outreach, top law firm, U of Chicago classroom, state senate, U.S. Senate, etc.

    Case in point:  He got fairly fiery in a speech in Wisconsin last week, and the almost entirely white (well, certainly Native Americans there) audience responded well.  He was talking about the economy, and they want to hear anger about it.  


    cx to 2d sentence (none / 0) (#126)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:11:30 PM EST
    That is not to say that it doesn't make sense for many, etc.  I.e., I do not discount the study, just its application to this individual.

    Getting fiery in a prepared speech (none / 0) (#130)
    by Alien Abductee on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:27:07 PM EST
    is one thing, speaking extemporaneously in response to questions is something else, and that's where the ums and ahs start popping up.

    I'm not sure his position is all that comparable to anyone else's at this point. He's trying to run a presidential campaign that doesn't bring in race as a personal factor. No one else has had a comparable level of scrutiny while trying to do that.

    The point about Southern mores or heritage isn't germane to what I'm saying. It's not that it's something culturally inbred into his speech patterns. It's something he's having to consider every move of, like a chess game. With every word he's taking into consideration the racial attitudes of Americans and the way race permeates everything even when it isn't spoken about or even consciously referenced.


    Let me put it this way: Every pol (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:58:32 PM EST
    has to consider every move, and he's hardly knew to it.  So do professors and lawyers in their venues.  And let's not go into comparates re such factors -- as that simply is not persuasive, either.  Again, it is a study with some application, but I can't agree that it applies here.

    He's an umm and uhh guy, sometimes, period.  It probably reflects -- as does much else we have seen in him -- a reflective mind.


    OK (none / 0) (#145)
    by Alien Abductee on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 07:12:38 PM EST
    You go with that. He's just an um and uh kind of guy, think no more about it, end of story...

    Perhaps (none / 0) (#148)
    by Steve M on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 07:18:40 PM EST
    we have thought about it, and rejected your theory.  But feel free to prefer that we must just be unthinking zombies if it makes you feel better about your awesome argument.

    And you have a perfect right (none / 0) (#149)
    by Alien Abductee on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 07:26:03 PM EST
    to do that if it makes you feel better about all the things it no doubt makes you feel better about.

    The author of the link appears to (none / 0) (#113)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 05:41:42 PM EST
    be African American and has a Ph.D. in Psychology.  Makes me hark back to a case in which two AA teenage boys severely beat a video game store owner after they robbed him of all the quarters.  An AA male Ph.D. in Psychology testified AA middle class teenagers suffer from lots of guilt because their peers don't have the advantages they do.  Bottom line:  send them on the wagon train in AZ instead of to the Youth Authority.  Amazing.

    Oculus (none / 0) (#125)
    by Alien Abductee on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:11:11 PM EST
    Have you read this?

    Amazing autobiography of a career criminal, though you may find it less sympathetic than I did. ;)


    No, but I may now. Sounds (none / 0) (#144)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:58:36 PM EST
    quite interesting.  I just finished a novel in which one of the sons of the protagonist leaves the family farm by riding the box cars to CA.  Mom says she didn't go to the train tracks to see him off!

    William Burroughs' favorite book (none / 0) (#146)
    by Alien Abductee on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 07:13:46 PM EST
    Though whether that's a plus or minus is another question...

    Agree on the expectations game. . . (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:30:42 PM EST
    although I'm never sure how important expectations are in the real (non-blog-hothouse) world.

    However, I think the best outcome for Obama would be to rile McCain sufficiently to cause an outburst from him.  He's got to be under a lot of stress and he's obviously making mistakes.  If Obama were to get under his skin with some subtle taunting and have McCain blow up, then just look at the camera and say "There he goes again" I think half the Reagan Democrats watching would have orgasms.

    I don't think expectations matter (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Steve M on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:33:58 PM EST
    The reason expectations mattered for Bush was that he was perceived to be SUCH an idiot, particularly in relation to Gore and Kerry.  With McCain, few people expect him to be utterly clueless about foreign policy matters.  Even if Obama is like a 60-40 favorite, I just don't think that factors into the result, the way it might if he was an overwhelming favorite.

    If a team is favored to win by a touchdown but they actually win by a field goal, no one says anything, it's still a win.  But if they're expected to win by 3 touchdowns and they win by a field goal...


    this game should work for Palin (none / 0) (#27)
    by coigue on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:45:24 PM EST
    unless she lives down to them.

    But when you're expected to win handily, (none / 0) (#28)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:47:01 PM EST
    and you lose, that's a problem. Just ask SC...
    This leads us down the rabbit-hole and into the real heat of the season now, a place filled with all sorts of troubling questions to ponder. Does USC have real fundamental problems along the defensive interior? Do they have a true offensive gamebreaker? Is Ohio State even worse than you imagined? Given the roadslaughter Oregon State endured versus Penn State, are the Nittany Lions even better than previously thought?

    Will Michigan benefit from UCS's (none / 0) (#49)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:16:06 PM EST
    stumble?  Probably not.  

    What the heck is "UCS"? (none / 0) (#56)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:22:07 PM EST
    UC Sacramento? (5.00 / 0) (#66)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:32:32 PM EST
    Hey, why not, it's not like CA has any problem funding stuff these days...

    CSU-Sacramento. Not (none / 0) (#69)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:36:59 PM EST
    a UC Board of Regents school, but part of CSU, not a constitutional entity--statutory.  I don't have any info on the football stats. though.

    What they might as well (none / 0) (#63)
    by MKS on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:29:59 PM EST
    have had printed on their jerseys and programs yesterday....

    Seems to me if McCain was blow-upable (none / 0) (#19)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:34:15 PM EST
    in this campaign, it would have already happened.  

    It did happen but in a different way (5.00 / 0) (#23)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:40:08 PM EST
    with McCain's over-reaction this week to Paulson's call for help.  It wasn't the much-awaited temper tantrum we're told is the norm, but it was another form of over-reaction.

    I think that is different than a melt down (none / 0) (#52)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:17:39 PM EST
    temper tantrum.

    P.S.  CC, that's the nicest thing you've sd. about Obama in recent memory.  Way to go on being a creme de le creme commenter!


    I've said lots of nice things about Obama (none / 0) (#59)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:26:05 PM EST
    that go unnoticed, with the way I've been painted here now.  So it goes with those who need scapegoats.  Plus, I didn't see this as the sort of blog that just wanted us to say nice things . . . and so many others here do that so well.

    Btw, I never have voted for the nice guy because he was a nice guy.  I well remember one of those whom we had as president, and he was ineffective.  As I don't think that either of these guys this time is an especially nice guy, the good news is that contrary to the old saying, the nice guy will not finish last.

    But I'll be stuck with one of these guys, and I would prefer that he be able to project calm when necessary.  Better yet if he can project calm with confidence and even hope, a la FDR.  I didn't see that yet, but I'm watching for it.


    To be fair to me (none / 0) (#61)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:28:04 PM EST
    I have painted Cream City is not negative way.

    She is one of my favorites.


    To be fair to you, that's true. (none / 0) (#65)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:31:51 PM EST
    Others "challenged" by her erudite comments, which I usually enjoy.  Who knew, for example, there was so much happening in Wisconsin?  

    I would disagree (none / 0) (#70)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:38:05 PM EST
    but I'm not here to be liked.  I'm here to learn.

    See? (none / 0) (#71)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:44:02 PM EST
    Like most people, you think a criticism is the sign of someone not liking you. If I did not like you, I would not bother. I would just curse you put and send you packing.

    When I do that to you (and Ga6thDem for that matter) then you'll know I have contempt for you.


    Criticism (none / 0) (#75)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:48:22 PM EST
    goes with the territory. Gotta have some thick skin if you blog.

    The only thing that makes me mad is the swarming.


    I don't blog. (none / 0) (#87)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 03:55:23 PM EST
    I comment.:-)  

    And criticism is fine if fair (i.e., the same constraints applied to all) and well-founded, which can help sharpen thinking, i.e., learning -- and teaching.  I have to teach this election year a few months from now, with no history books about it yet.  (There have been reports by historians and other observers with a sense of history whose work will help, of course -- I've read some works that I think are works in progress toward books, and I went to a presentation by one scholar who already has a book on the way about this election.  It will be good . . . although it won't be widely read).  

    And the media reports that used to be more reliable as evidence for reconstructing the past tend to be so useless now that I have to rely on other sources -- and more insightful and analytical ones than those that I fear the students will have seen.  It is amazing how fast is the spread now of mythology, not history.


    Having (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 04:00:45 PM EST
    to teach about this election must be hard. Or it would be for me. At this point, I think I'll be glad when it's over. The sad thing is that no matter who wins the people of this country are going to have to deal with the disasters that Bush has wrought for 7 years according to Gailbraith. No one is going to be able to effectively govern with this mess.

    It was very hard to do so last spring (none / 0) (#127)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:21:11 PM EST
    amid the heat of the primaries, so I look forward to being able to look back on it, actually.:-)

    Campus conservatives are always out to get liberals, though, so I've been watched since day one in teaching the course topics that I do -- race and gender.  On the upside, it boosts my enrollments to have them sign up to keep an eye on me.  Seriously, there have been many organized efforts over the years to get them into our classes and make our lives he**.  

    So what, so it goes . . . so more important to me is that other students are not discouraged from being politically aware and -- I hope -- active and energized from what they learn, no matter their political persuasion.  They all pay the same tuition.  

    But we're supposed to teach them to argue dispassionately from the evidence.  Mediating the passions, including my own, is one thing -- although not the hardest thing.  Lacking the historical analysis of the evidence yet is a real headache, when what we will have are distorted media accounts on all sides.  It would be so much better to be teaching, say, 17th century France.:-)


    ya (none / 0) (#117)
    by connecticut yankee on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 05:44:50 PM EST
    Yeah, I'm sure many of McCain's opponents thought they could trigger him but it's not a strategy to build on.

    This is McCain turf so Obama just needs a draw tonight. Sharp answers, no retreat, hold the line.


    McCain's more likely cataclysm... (none / 0) (#34)
    by magster on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:52:01 PM EST
    ...would be a senior moment--confusing major ethnic groups, for example, or a reference to the Soviet Union or Czechoslovakia, or tailing off an answer halfway through and then asking Lehrer to restate the question.  These things have already happened to McCain in this campaign, so it may happen again.

    Any of the above will instantly (none / 0) (#67)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:32:59 PM EST
    gain him support amongst the "senior moment"-prone voters.

    Interesting (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Steve M on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:31:44 PM EST
    Rich Lowry (via Andrew Sullivan):

    One side effect of McCain's debate gambit is, I'm told, that everyone at Ole Miss now hates him. It will make for a very hostile audience tonight among those students and faculty attending. He might have to apologize for creating the uncertainty or make some explanation up front, which is never ideal.

    Guess the liberal media. . . (none / 0) (#21)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:35:38 PM EST
    really has it in for McCain.

    Lowry's claim is dubious (none / 0) (#45)
    by Molly Bloom on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:08:03 PM EST
    I'll  be happy if true...

    but I highly doubt it is.


    College students in Mississippi (none / 0) (#54)
    by MKS on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:21:06 PM EST
    may not be like college kids in Iowa.....May not be much Obama love...

    The college kids in Iowa... (none / 0) (#73)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:45:38 PM EST
    ...are very much different from those in Mississippi.  Iowans are much, much smarter, better looking and don't talk funny!  :)

    I thought those college students packing (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 04:12:32 PM EST
    the Iowa caucuses were really from Illinois.  Oh, wiat.  Urban rumor.  

    P.S.  Do you think it is a good idea for Obama to pull out the chair for McCain?  


    A lot of them are (none / 0) (#129)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:24:19 PM EST
    and most of them actually were enrolled at Iowa campuses.  Look at places of origin on fact sheets for Iowa campuses.

    That hardly relegates the accounts of caucusgoers to urban rumors.  Look also at Iowa's registration laws.


    When my brother was at Iowa State (none / 0) (#133)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:28:46 PM EST
    many years ago, a law passed permitting ISU students to vote in Ames or in their the county/state from which they came.  Student's choice.  Big change.  

    More to the point is (5.00 / 1) (#141)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:53:20 PM EST
    the three-day residency.  Three days.  Or, as a young relative of mine there told me, it was sufficient to declare intent to be an Iowan!

    Btw, the young relative had to have it explained to her that it really wasn't okay to participate in caucuses in Iowa AND vote in a primary back home.  She didn't think that caucusing was like, y'know, voting, like.

    How much of that happened, who knows.


    Have you ever lived in Iowa? Lots (5.00 / 1) (#142)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:56:41 PM EST
    of people leaving and not many arriving.  Got to snag them fast.

    My family is from there (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 07:14:39 PM EST
    I still have family there -- not just transients, i.e., students:-) -- and I live next door to it.  

    And I'm there often, including again this summer.  Lovely, once off I-ugh-80.  This time, I got to explore the effigy mounds area, the federal site with more effigy mounds than any other.  And also traversed historic towns that were wonderful -- looking up to see a door on a cave entrance was unforgettable, and then finding out that it was the town jail . . . and now it's rented out as a tourist room.  Ah, Iowa.


    Can't keep 'em on the farm... (none / 0) (#152)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 08:46:01 PM EST
    ...if the farm ain't there anymore.  

    In my HS class, about half of us headed for the big cities from coast to coast and abroad to spread our wings--and about half still live within 5 miles of where they grew-up.  And more than a few people I know have moved back to Iowa after having kids or when they retire.  The COL is hard to beat, the people are great, the crime rate is low, the schools are decent and Des Moines has come quite a ways since I was young.

    Me--I'll most assuredly be West of the Missouri for the rest of my life.  


    In my high school graduating class, (none / 0) (#155)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 09:45:41 PM EST
    the highest percentage stayed in Iowa, next most in Illinois, next most:  California.

    One of my brother's close friends from high school moved back to our home town from Chicago after a highly successful career there as a corporate lawyer.  But, he still has a very nice condo in Chicago with a terrific location and view.  


    How about you Oculus,,, (none / 0) (#159)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sat Sep 27, 2008 at 11:23:18 AM EST
    ...ever thought of going back East?  Or does the CA lifestyle have you hooked?  

    I would love to live close to the ocean as you do!  That's why the only place I could see myself moving to is OR or WA.


    If by "back East" you mean (none / 0) (#161)
    by oculus on Sat Sep 27, 2008 at 04:53:04 PM EST
    the upper West Side, w/i walking distance of Lincoln Center, the answer is "yes."  Not SE Iowa.  I'd be bored to tears, as the cultural opportunities are slim to none.  The weather here is unbeatable, my friends are here, my house is just the way I want it now.  Too entrenched to move, I think.  My brother, on the other hand, has said he would consider moving back to SE Iowa, although I notice he hasn't done so.  It is gorgeous in the Spring and Fall and I love the river and old homes; hate the hot, sticky, unremitting Summer weather (we didn't have AC) and the cold, icy, gloomy Winter. I could probably live in Ann Arbor or Chicago if I had to.

    Having attended both... (none / 0) (#150)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 08:35:45 PM EST
    ...Drake and the University of Iowa and having a whole family full of Iowa Staters, I really don't need to look at any fact sheets.  Drake does has a disproportionate amount of students from Illinois, mostly from that town you love to hate, Chicago.  There are also certainly a good many Illini at the public institutions, but they don't outnumber the natives.  Like most any institutions of higher learning, people come from all over the country and the World, not just Illinois--to places like Ames and Iowa City.

    The Obama campaign wasn't shipping kids in by the bus load for the caucus as some would have you believe.  


    Having not been addressing you (none / 0) (#153)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 08:57:52 PM EST
    about the data, I don't know why you take that personally.  It really isn't all about you.:-)

    And for another misread, I don't love to hate Chicago.  I love to visit Chicago.  What I have written is that many have a love-hate relationship with Chicago, and that does not at all mean what you think it means.

    Maybe I have to remember how to talk Iowan.  How's this: Have a real nice day there, you.


    That is absolutely terrible... (none / 0) (#154)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 09:11:59 PM EST
    ...since I know of not one Iowan who speaks like  that.  Oh silly me--I sometimes forget that you know everything about everything.  My bad...

    It's also pretty funny you talking about other people making things all about them.  Pot meet kettle!  

    Now, don't go misreading this, 'cause I do so enjoy a good laugh.


    Hey MileHi (none / 0) (#156)
    by coigue on Sat Sep 27, 2008 at 11:05:08 AM EST
    thanks for uprating Dr. Molly's 1s. I really appreciate it.

    My pleasure. (5.00 / 1) (#158)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sat Sep 27, 2008 at 11:18:39 AM EST
    I don't quite understand why she's allowed to hang around and do that.  

    At any rate, there was absolutely nothing that you said that deserved to be troll rated.

    And, I loved the "mudboy" line!


    heh heh (5.00 / 1) (#160)
    by coigue on Sat Sep 27, 2008 at 11:29:13 AM EST
    thank you.

    ha ha ha ha (none / 0) (#157)
    by coigue on Sat Sep 27, 2008 at 11:06:23 AM EST
    Ahem, I must have been an exception. (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by Molly Bloom on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 05:19:50 PM EST
    Without a doubt! n/t (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 08:37:12 PM EST
    They spent (none / 0) (#80)
    by eric on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:56:41 PM EST
    $5.5 million on the debate.  That is part of why they were getting really nervous... and mad.

    And starting two years ago (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:27:57 PM EST
    which I found a fascinating revelation from one of the campus spokespersons.  A significant site in the history of the civil rights movement began planning for a 2008 debate as far back as 2006.  

    I'm not sure we were supposed to know that.:-)


    How do you suggest Obama (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:32:25 PM EST
    prove to the American People that he, Obama, is for them?  If the news coverage I've read is accurate, Obama stated it is not necessary for any bail out bill to include relief for those facing foreclosure. Controversial issue, but how will the viewers react?  

    I do love his style (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Maggie on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:35:21 PM EST
    I actually thought he was great at Saddleback.

    But I totally understand that he doesn't come across well to most people.  His campaign has been really very smart about things -- so they have to know this.  I'd be surprised if they hadn't been working on it for quite some time.  

    I thought he did come across well in his press conference in responce to McCain's gambit.  He is capable of reducing the "uhs".  

    So I'm hopeful.  But also nervous.  

    The calm reaction was very good (none / 0) (#26)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:45:10 PM EST
    especially in contrast to McCain, but it could be pretty boring for tv by the second half-hour (or less).  Obama is capable of some contained fire, as in his Green Bay appearance last week on the economy -- his major speech on the economy, as it was billed, but as usual it didn't get enough play because it was in Wisconsin.  Anyway, I didn't notice any "uhs" then, so he seems well prepared on the economic issues to the point that he has mastered a good style as well as content.

    So he can do it -- and contained fire would be a good response to the economic issues facing us now, because it would resonate with similar feelings by the public about it, I think.


    Remember Saddleback (none / 0) (#44)
    by MKS on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:05:23 PM EST
    I certainly do...Gawd that changed so much of my thinking....

    I hope you are right....


    And the comment about the surge (none / 0) (#53)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:19:59 PM EST
    succeeding beyond our wildest expectations.  

    I may not watch (none / 0) (#60)
    by MKS on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:26:46 PM EST
    Jerry West, when he was the General Manager of the Lakers, sometimes got so wound up he couldn't watch the game from his seat at the arena, but would watch from the tunnel at a distance, and often looked away....

    I can't even imagine the pressure the (none / 0) (#62)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:29:00 PM EST
    candidates are under re the debates, even though I don't think the debates really matter to the voters--see George W. Bush elected twice.

    Debates don't matter that much (none / 0) (#68)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:36:42 PM EST
    according to this analyst -- a guy recently quoted by Rove, so the guy may know something.

    However, this is an estimate of impact of debates in general.  All this to-do plus many other factors in terms of today's media impact could mean that tonight's debate will matter more.  I.e., the factor of so many undecideds even now -- as the decideds just find what affirms their decision.


    Interesting. (none / 0) (#72)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:44:18 PM EST
    The very bright 5th grader I "tutor" was plotting bar graphs last week.  His didn't have very many data points, so I think I'll print this out and see if he has anything to add about the debate.  He did inquire if Hillary Clinton was out of the race for President this year.  One thing I learned from him:  "Jesus" is a very popular boy's name at present!  

    Excellent. 5th graders who can plot graphs (none / 0) (#79)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:53:21 PM EST
    give me hope.  And if he is only a bit behind on current events but was attentive at all, that's great, too.  It takes a village, tutors as well as teachers and parents and more, to raise a child.:-)

    Obama can afford to do that (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by coigue on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:43:04 PM EST
    because for the first time that I can remember, the Democrats are a united force against McCain, and Barney Frank and Harry Reid are speaking out against him with righteousness.

    It's heartening for me, to say the least...more than that, it really makes MY party look good and effective.

    United force with one exception (none / 0) (#43)
    by Decal on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:04:40 PM EST

    whatever dude (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by coigue on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:09:49 PM EST
    don't yuck my yum.

    BTD, if the Obama campaign (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by votermom on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:53:09 PM EST
    had made a point of listening to your advice, the Dems would be looking at a landslide right about now.
    I think this is exactly what Obama needs to do:
    Barack Obama should spend the first ten minutes proving to the American People that he, Obama, is for them.

    Did anyone watch the Republican debates? (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by ruffian on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:48:42 PM EST
    I was wondering if McCain is likely to start out aggressively. I think McCain is likely to get snide at some point, and I hope Obama does not take the bait. I think Obama's best moments against Clinton were when she took some shots at him and he handled them calmly.

    I agree with BTD that Obama should focus on what he wants to accomplish for the country, and ignore McCain as much as possible. Especially in this first debate. However, every lie from McCain should be remarked upon in real time, not in a memo after the debate.

    That's what I want to see, anyway.

    I watched (none / 0) (#78)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:52:28 PM EST
    a couple of them. The thing is McCain looked good in those for the most part but you have to also realize that who he was debating with--Giuliani, Romney etc. So it's kind of hard to tell how he would do against Obama. I don't know that I've ever seen him debate a Dem.

    I didn't watch all the way through (none / 0) (#81)
    by votermom on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:59:48 PM EST
    but I got the impression Huckabee was their best debater.

    And that... (none / 0) (#82)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 03:06:45 PM EST
    ...is what makes him so very dangerous.  Well, aside from his wacked out views on some things.  

    I expect to see more gambling by McCain (none / 0) (#3)
    by vj on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:20:00 PM EST
    and playing it safe by Obama.  Which is what I think he should do.  He just needs to act presidential and not make any major gaffes.  On the other hand, he may be forced to respond to McCain's shenanigans.

    Pretty worried. (none / 0) (#4)
    by zvs888 on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:21:01 PM EST
    I'm really worried about the debate.

    After Saddleback, everyone was expecting McCain to win the debates by a lot, but because of the last 2-3 weeks, everything is changing.

    CNN had some kind of poll where 58% or so thought Obama would win the debate and only 40% thought McCain.

    That is very worrying since if it is presumably along party lines, then most independents think Obama will win.

    The expectations are too high I think, sure if he matches them, he can walk away with a 10 point poll lead, but I'm less than certain of that.

    Anything not to par could be a disappointment for a lot of the middle voters who are looking to see if he's ready.

    do that consistently. It's like a football team beating the spread -- no team, however good they are, can do that predictably.

    If it's really true that 58% of people expect Obama to win a debate with McCain, I'd argue that's not a bad thing for Obama. On the contrary, it would mean that:

    • Most people are not as put off by Obama's "thoughtful" debate style as a lot of people here seem to be. (By "thoughtful," I mean the slower approach of seeming to be constructing his responses as he goes along, as opposed to rattling off a series of well-rehearsed talking points.)
    • Either most independent voters will begin the debate expecting Obama to win, or there are many discouraged Republicans out there. (Possibly both.) The point is that who you are rooting for determines in large part who you expect to win, and both of those factors color who you in fact perceive to have won.

    Of course the spinners will be working hard after the debate to alter people's impressions of what they have just seen. To the extent that McCain's spinners are left arguing that McCain "exceeded expectations," that will be their way of saying McCain beat the spread -- in other words, admitting that Obama won the debate.

    Obama needs to position himself (none / 0) (#7)
    by Newt on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:23:20 PM EST
    as a bit of a maverick in the debate tonight.  Not to win our votes, he's already got us.  He needs to appeal to the part of the electorate who are swayed by the nonsense McSame is feeding them.  McCain's no maverick, he's recklessly endangering our country's future.  But he's been able to convince voters that he's a good ole boy, big daddy with lots of experience, that he'll take care of them and make everything better.  Obama can talk until he's blue in the face, but unless those Indies and moderate Repubs like and trust him, McCain wins their vote.   We've seen time and again that in spite of a crisis like the one we're currently in, people will vote Republican against their own economic interests.  

    I think Obama can benefit from the economic crisis by presenting an idea that puts the electorate first and protects the average American, a solution that bails out homeowners but that doesn't automatically bail out investors or the people who've already made money off the junk investments (CEOs, managers, etc.)  A solution that solves the crisis at the bottom will help the people at the top, but the reverse is not true.  We could put a Trillion bucks into the problem and still face economic failure.  That's a reality, and it's being played by the right wing to their advantage.  The Dems are pushing for a solution that conceptually matches the Repub plan, a top down fix, except they'll add costly, possibly ineffective oversight.  Right wing communications are already presenting the crisis as a Dem failure and convincing some voters that McCain's maverickness is what's needed to solve the problem.  He's not Bush, dontcha know?  Obama needs to be seen as against big-government, wasteful policies if he wants to capture that segment's votes.  

    As part of the debate tonight, Obama could present a more people-centered, country first solution (here's my "Flood Up, Not Trickle Down" proposal, but I'm sure people here and elsewhere have other good ideas.)  

    By going beyond what the Dems are willing to do, Obama would be challenging the standard Democratic solutions (tax and spend, big government) and will therefore appeal to fiscal conservatives.  Given that most people realize we have to do something about the crisis, tax, spend and get some eventual payback is a lot more palatable than shoving more money down a sinkhole.  By improving the Dem plan, Obama can position himself with a solution outside the usual framework of Repubs=no government controls on free markets vs. Dems=unwieldy, ineffective, wasteful, big government oversight).  He can safely buck the establishment (maverick) with a reasonable proposal that clearly defines him as supporting us, the middle and working class people, more than big business.  He'd get the respect and votes of the part of the electorate who are foolishly looking to McCain to buck the system in their favor.  

    Meanwhile, he'd promote left wing socialist ideas in a way not being promoted by either party - taxpayers first and foremost.  This bailout could be a leftie bonanza in that our country would be more socialist than ever before by socializing the investment sector, but only if the payback ultimately comes back to the people.  The Dems "oversight" part of their plan doesn't ensure that.  Actual government ownership of the investments does.

    Even if a plan like this didn't pass in Congress, Obama can benefit from supporting it because he's showing he's willing to stand up for us, the little guys, correcting failed BushCo policies while leading our country in a new direction away from the previous policies of ineffective oversight.

    If he does it during the debate, he might even plant the idea out there to the millions watching that we can get more from the taxpayer bailout than just oversight to prevent future abuse.  We could actually get our money back someday, like a real investment!  

    Let's take heart (none / 0) (#8)
    by Lil on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:24:12 PM EST
    Obama is smarter than McCain, IMO. Hopefully that comes through in a non condescending way.

    Expectations (none / 0) (#10)
    by s5 on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:26:12 PM EST
    Hmm I'm not sure expectations are really that low for McCain. I would agree with you if he was a relative newcomer, but he's a prominent senator with decades of experience and a prior run in 2000. People have expectations about what to expect from John McCain that have been built up over years. I don't think that gets erased in one week.

    McCain is worse than Obama (none / 0) (#12)
    by MoveThatBus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:30:33 PM EST
    on debating. That's why he wanted to use the townhall setting when the two of them stood on stage together.

    Even at his worst, Obama is a master debater over McCain. I'm confident people watching will be listening through any uh's and um's to hear the real thoughts on this bailout before the moderators venture into foreign affairs. The subject people want to know most about right now is their financial security.

    If the moderators don't decide to include some economy in this debate, how closely will people listen? People want to see McCain have to explain himself for the intrusion on the bailout meeting - and, it won't be easy for him to come up with anything reasonable.

    Make his ideas short and to the point..... (none / 0) (#14)
    by Kefa on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:31:19 PM EST
    keep it simple and he can beat this guy.

    McCain will also obviously lie (none / 0) (#24)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:41:38 PM EST
    I mean he will lie and it will be obvious and Obama can quietly call him on it. The truth doesn't hurt Obama but it will kill McCain.

    Expectations... (none / 0) (#35)
    by Ramo on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:52:17 PM EST
    What counts in terms of expectations isn't among the public, but among the media.  Since they, not the public, are the ones who get to declare victory, and of course, that's how the judge victory.  I'm guessing among the media, you've got something closer to parity...

    Three days of debate prep... (none / 0) (#39)
    by mike in dc on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:58:08 PM EST
    ...will be in evidence tonight.  I doubt he had nearly as much prep time for any of the primary debates.

    McCain already won the debate. (none / 0) (#40)
    by Newt on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 01:59:16 PM EST
    See! They say it, so it must be true.  


    McCain the Populist??? (none / 0) (#47)
    by robrecht on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:10:07 PM EST
    I'm wondering just how far McCain (and the House Republicans) will push their alternative plan in pposition to the Paulson-Dodd plan.  It's the only way McCain can claim genuine consistency* with his stunt.  Will he try to make a big populist play since there is a lot of anti-bail-out sentiment out there, especially among Republicans???

    *Of course, there's no real reason to expect consistency from McCain.

    Well (none / 0) (#50)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:16:19 PM EST
    that seems to be the general game plan that I'm picking up on. Of course, the bailout is unpopular so it's kind of a gimme to be against it.

    What is their (none / 0) (#57)
    by votermom on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:22:39 PM EST
    alternative anyway?
    I heard one Dem claim it's "stick in a capital gains tax cut" and one GOP claim it's a "take out ACORN pork".
    Do they actually have a real alternative or is it just general balking at signing off on an unpopular plan?

    Go to (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:26:04 PM EST
    NRO or one of those places. They are talking about it. It seems they are proposing some sort of insurance along with zero capital gains taxes among other things. They agree with us on the CEO compensation which I find hard to believe after all these years of their worship of these guys.

    It's not a bailout. Google the names (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:30:19 PM EST
    of the authors Ryan -- from my state, so I've been watching it for a couple of days -- and Cantor.  (And a third rebel whose surname has a spelling I will mess up here, which would mess up your googling, but the other two ought to be enough).  

    It is the plan that Boehner picked up and pushed -- and at a point that makes me think that the Dems talked about an agreement too soon.  Or that AP misreported it as such too soon.


    Apparently, it sucks. (none / 0) (#97)
    by TheRealFrank on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 04:37:46 PM EST
    Some economists may not like the Paulson plan, but they like this one even less:

    "I can't manage to find any reason to doubt that the House Republicans' plan would destroy the U.S. financial system," economist Robert Waldmann wrote on the Angry Bear blog.


    "I frankly don't understand how this is supposed to work," said Douglas Elmendorf, an economist at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution and an outspoken critic of the Paulson rescue plan.

    Not surprising, with what I know (none / 0) (#134)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:29:15 PM EST
    of one of the authors.  As rightwing as it gets.

    I heard one R congresscritter (none / 0) (#140)
    by kredwyn on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:45:54 PM EST
    on the radio saying that that was their plan. But, he added, given the fact of negotiations, he knew that they were going to have to give some to get some...

    I think it was Boehner...and he pointed out that when folks were announcing they'd come to an agreement (earlier in the week)...he hadn't even gotten to the meeting (or something along that lines) yet.


    While I don't want to be too optimistic (none / 0) (#55)
    by tigercourse on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:21:09 PM EST
    I stand by the idea that Obama just needs to refrain from punching a nun from now until November. The economic situation and McCain's really poor showing over the past 2 weeks makes Obama a virtual lock.

    Senator Obama needs to weave in (none / 0) (#74)
    by KeysDan on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 02:47:02 PM EST
    some of the warmness and likability he demonstrated in his guest appearance on the David Letterman Show.  He does have an ability to do so with a winning smile and without seeming flippant.  Otherwise, he may be better off just being himself, guess the ums and uhs are just a  part of him.  After all, Obama's delivery shortcomings pale in he face of McCain's debating deficiencies, particularly his inclination to forget the question and stay focused.  

    Which candidate, if either, will (none / 0) (#91)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 04:14:20 PM EST
    show his empathy for Main St. by mentioning the dad who gave up all nine--count 'em, nine--kids due to financial stress and feeling overwhelmed?  

    That's (none / 0) (#94)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 04:30:01 PM EST
    the kind of thing Edwards was a master of. He would have used that to make every one in the audience eat out of his hands. Oh, well, not to be and so sad that he couldn't discipline himself enough to be a contender.

    I got rather tired of it, espec. (none / 0) (#96)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 04:34:46 PM EST
    the bit about his coal-miner father. To me, Bill Clinton was the master of the poignant tale of people he met on the campaign trail or as President.

    Mill-worker. Mill-worker. <eom> (none / 0) (#98)
    by votermom on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 04:39:30 PM EST
    Oops. See, I stopped listening. (none / 0) (#105)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 05:08:59 PM EST
    Actually, (none / 0) (#106)
    by votermom on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 05:13:21 PM EST
    I thought you were being ironic.

    Must remember: coal-miner's (none / 0) (#111)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 05:34:16 PM EST
    daughter; mill-worker's son.

    You're either born ... (none / 0) (#83)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 03:27:03 PM EST
    with the debating gene or you're not.  It's not something you can learn.  

    Obama doesn't have it.  

    Thankfully, neither does McCain.

    I expect a rather cringe-worthy night, something like watching a grade school play or Pop Warner football.

    Frankly, I don't think the debates matter that much.  They just give bloggers and pundits something to talk about for a few days.

    foreign policy (none / 0) (#85)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 03:36:18 PM EST
    the single most damaging issue to the US in FP was the complete squandering of world empathy post 9-11 by the current admin.  the first call W received in the aftermath was from Putin.  McCain and Palin want an extension of that hubris and are flirting with another cold war.  It is 7 years gone by but 7 years of arrogance and atrophy need  to be addressed.

    the surge will undoubtedly be McCains centerpiece and Obama will be a bit in a corner over the lessening violence, but the central or core goal as I remember it was to stabilize and get a functional gov't.  the last report card had us at 3 of the 18 objectives accomplished.  It will take a very skilled politician to dissect that without seeming to come accross as anti-troops.

    I don't think McCain has taken the debates all that seriously and I think (despite thinking that O did not win any of the dem debates) McCain will struggle after the surge discussion.  He consistently hangs his hat on the one or two issues he was right on and he believes being right on the surge will take him to the wh.

    I also think McCain's speech at the convention is a clear tell-tale of where he will go tonite and it is in the wrong direction.  Americans may care about nat'l sec right now but are not looking for a fear based platform.  His conv speech focused a lot on foreign threats and 9-11 is far removed from the narrative and will not carry much weight.

    I look for a draw and Obama with a slight edge.  All he needs is a draw in FP and a slight edge might choke the McCain campaign into removing Palin.  

    the base may like her but the indys who decide races are lost on her and McCain has already shown that hail marys in the first quarter are valid options.

    I think the american public is expecting more from McCain in this debate not less.  I also think that McCains terrorist pony is sick and frail and the middle is bored with it.  McCain is great with zingers and it will be interesting to see if Obama brings some with him.  

    O will win on economics not because he is a better debater but because he might read one or two of Bills old transcripts and learn something.  I reread them from time to time and it is amazing how much he really understood the economic situation.  O can soundbyte his way through after a powerful introduction.

    On the e side O has a stronger position and should win by a bit larger margin than McCain on FP.....

    Methinks it is over after tonight, a "push" in the debates is all he needs with a man who has decades more experience.  He is no Reagan and O is no Clinton so I do not expect a "did you hear that" from either one.  

    I hear they are pissed at McCain down at Ole Miss (none / 0) (#86)
    by nrglaw on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 03:51:18 PM EST
    I read this at NRO, of all places, where they conclude he will not be facing very happy students and faculty at the debate.

    The guy dug unaccountably dug his own grave here. You could say that he was for the debate before he was against it before he was for it. A new level of confusion for Palin/McCain.

    Best of luck to Obama and us all tonight.

    Pride to Outrage in 0-60 (none / 0) (#89)
    by Roschelle on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 04:04:04 PM EST
    Initial pride in the fact that my state would be host to the first presidential debate of this historic campaign has turned to absolute disgust and outrage. The Mississippi White Knights also plan to attend.

    what is that (none / 0) (#120)
    by connecticut yankee on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:00:18 PM EST
    Is that a basketball team?

    Heard some talking head (none / 0) (#107)
    by votermom on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 05:14:28 PM EST
    say that Obama is ready with his zingers and one-liners. Oh, dear. :(

    Was McCain planning on attending the debate (none / 0) (#110)
    by Howard Zinn on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 05:29:59 PM EST
    the entire time?  Maybe it was his ploy all along to distract Obama by summoning him to DC through his lame duck mouthpiece.  

    Everyone knows McCain's first debate was against Plutarch, so he's tested as hell.  This, obviously, isn't Obama's strong suit so maybe the DC game was a rouse where the best case scenario was a delay of the VP debate, but the second best was denying Obama crucial prep time.

    Plutarch. Funny as hell! (none / 0) (#121)
    by robrecht on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:01:11 PM EST
    I do think McCain was trying to throw Obama off his game and get in his head but I doubt it succeeded.  More likely it may have robbed McCain some of his crucial nap time.

    You are banned from my threads (none / 0) (#114)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 05:43:07 PM EST
    I was not kidding about that.

    My rules mean so0mething and you violated them.

    Please leave and do not come back.

    I think (none / 0) (#119)
    by connecticut yankee on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 05:59:25 PM EST
    McCain is going to step out and scream, "SURGE!".  I think that about covers his plan.

    If you don't want to consider (none / 0) (#123)
    by Alien Abductee on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:09:26 PM EST
    the fact that a minority candidate has additional factors to juggle to try to keep racial issues from being brought into his/her every utterance in current-day America, that's your right. I'll hold onto my opinion that it's being willfully blind though.

    Women candidates have similar pitfalls to avoid. I'd argue though that they aren't quite as emotionally explosive, and that exploiting them can have its upside, since women are a majority, especially in the voting population.

    But I see what was meant to be adding to understanding has instead stirred up lingering primary resentments. It wasn't meant to. If I had my druthers they'd never be brought up again. And I don't need any lectures on what it's like to be a woman having been one for quite a while now.

    why the ums and uhs (none / 0) (#128)
    by christinep on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:23:50 PM EST
    Perhaps, it does involve some sort of racial or cultural dimension. I don't discount that. Yet, it appears to me that it is much more likely a product of super-caution, the caution of the professor, the caution of the quite careful person. After the one in office now, that caution has a deep appeal...obviously. Yet, it does also produce an opposite effect in terms of a listener, who might feel something concealed, less than honest, etc. It has its pluses and its minuses. (And, face it, some of us Slavic cum Mediterranean types prefer the open expressiveness of the mind and mouth. Obama's style--from one cultural perspective--is like my in-laws British/Scottish mannerisms...absent the occasional throat-clearing they use for emphasis.)I've come to believe it is just individual personality style.

    Well, (none / 0) (#136)
    by Alien Abductee on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:39:00 PM EST
    his thoughtfulness and intelligence are pluses for me. Fewer ums and ahs from him would be good though. But I believe the racial undercurrents in US society have helped shaped his political persona, caution included. How could they not have? They affect everything including the color of tie he chooses to wear apparently.

    Interestingly... (none / 0) (#131)
    by kredwyn on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:27:41 PM EST
    both sides seem to think that the "other side" has done a bang up job lowering expectations for their own candidate.

    Naw..... (none / 0) (#137)
    by SomewhatChunky on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:39:15 PM EST
    Both sides are just working to lower expectations for their own guy until the bitter end.......

    isn't that (none / 0) (#138)
    by kredwyn on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 06:41:14 PM EST
    what I said? sorta?