All three presidential debates are now history. With just 20 days left until the election, judging from the polls and Sen. John McCain's overall sub par performance Wednesday night in which he needed a knockout but failed to get one, it looks as though Sen. Barack Obama is well on his way to becoming the 44th President of the United States. That is of course barring any acts of terrorism, widespread election fraud and/or large-scale racism.
As a post-mortem to the debate, I have some questions for McCain:
1. Who the fuck is Joe the Plumber, and why is he so important to have been mentioned 21 times by you? And, why is he the only American you referred to the entire evening?
2. Is Joe the Plumber a $40,000 per year working stiff or the wealthy owner of the plumbing company? In your repeated populist references to him, you implied that he's just your average blue-collar worker, yet all of your tax and health policy examples clearly had him as the more affluent entrepreneur in control of his workers' fates.
3. Who the hell cares about William Ayers and Acorn? Did you not see the new NY Times/CBS News poll indicating that voters are utterly fed up with your dirty politics and smear attacks on Obama? With the Dow down another 700 points earlier in the day, and with the economy's meltdown scaring the bajesus out of Americans, how about talking about something they're all really interested in?
4. Why don't you directly answer this question: "Is Sarah Palin the best possible choice you could've made...the most qualified, capable second-in-command, to lead this nation in the event of something happening to you?" (forget it, we already know the answer).
5. How can you possibly defend and be "proud" of those who attend your and Palin's rallies and scream despicable threats like "off with his head" and "kill him?" In terms of simple human decency, how did you not turn to Obama and sincerely apologize for this vile behavior? Instead, you went tit for tat in saying "your supporters have said some awful things too." Excuse me, Gramps, but no one at an Obama rally is screaming "kill McCain."
6. You know damned well you can't balance the budget in four years, so why keep regurgitating this irresponsible promise? Makes you look like you know even less about the economy than you do..which is pretty little as it is.
7. Why do you keep distorting and lying about Obama's record on tax, spending, health care and energy policies? (sorry, dumb question, we already know the answer to that one too)
8. Why so nasty? So condescending? So sarcastic? Why all the eye rolling and agitated facial contortions? The obnoxious smiling, laughter and mock-indignation? What's your real problem with Obama's "eloquence?" (sorry, that's a lot of questions in one question). As CNN's David Gergen said, your erratic behavior tonight was an "exercise in anger management." MSNBC's Rachel Maddow noted that you were "gritting your teeth down to sawdust." And Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel said you're a "grumpy old man in slippers."
9. Why all the stammering and verbal gaffes: "Senator Government," "Fannie and Freddie Mae," and "Freath Bresh," and of appointing Supreme Court Justices: "I will find the best people in the world!" You seem so nervous and desperate that you don't know what the heck you're saying anymore, doggonnit! (sorry, I just love PalinSpeak)
10. Why bother saying "I'm not Bush" when, judging from your voting record, you and President Disaster are virtually one and the same?
11. And what's this disingenuous "spread the wealth" nonsense about Obama's tax plan? Was the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%, which you were vehemently against before political expedience had you for them, not "spreading the wealth" eight years ago? So, reversing the grossly unfair tax breaks for the rich is your idea of socialism?
12. Lastly, where was your flag pin? We noticed Obama's, but nothing on your lapel. Are you unpatriotic or something?
To be sure, McCain came out swinging Wednesday night, but swinging wildly and not really connecting. He was about as embarrassing and unpresidential as, well, our current White House occupant. To the contrary, Obama was cool, composed and highly presidential. He showed superior intellect, knowledge of the complex issues, clarity of thought, and provided well-articulated proposal specifics on his tax, spending, health care and energy policies. And while his feisty, petulant opponent spoke only to the ubiquitous Joe the Plumber, Obama often looked directly into the camera to make that much-needed visceral connection to voters across all party lines. And like in the previous two debates, his strategy seems to have worked yet again.
Some very interesting numbers: in CNN's Columbus, OH focus group of thirty independents, two-thirds said Obama won the debate. Additionally, McCain's smear tactics continued to cost him votes. Three out of four in the group who indicated that tonight's debate convinced them to vote for one candidate or the other, said they'll be voting for Obama. In CNN's overall poll, Obama won the debate by a 58%-31%margin. Among the much-coveted independents, Obama won 57%-31%. CBS News' poll had Obama winning 53%-22%, while MSNBC's focus group of independents chose Obama by a 20-7 margin.
As I wrote the other day, let's just hope grumpy Grandpa McNasty and Grandma Sarah-Joe Sixpack keep up the current strategy of talking about everything that voters clearly couldn't give a rat's ass about. Ayers and Acorn and Wright, oh my!
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