« CNN: Ayers and Obama jointly planned kick-off of Obama's political career at Ayers' home | Main | "The Audacity of Hope" versus "The Erosion of Doubt" »

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

McCain the Warrior awoke, pivoted on Obama the Professor, and pounded him

My latest guest-post at HughHewitt.com analyzes the second presidential debate between Captain John McCain and Professor Barack Obama.

For those not wholly besotted with him, Obama's mystique wears off with repeated exposure. McCain or someone on his team knew that when they proposed lots and lots of town-hall debates, and Obama was smart to refuse that offer.

He so reminds me of Jimmy Carter. If (like Carter) he's elected, and then defeated in his run for a second term, will people still say that he only lost because of racism?

Oh, yeah. It'll just be more transparently false than it is already.


[Copied here for archival purposes on November 5, 2008, from the post linked above at HughHewitt.com.]

(Guest Post by Bill Dyer a/k/a Beldar)

Sometimes it takes the smell of blood in the ring to awaken the dormant fighting spirit of an old warrior.

The closest either man came to a major blunder was when Professor Barack Obama accidentally told the truth about how his running mate's home state of Delaware panders to credit card companies and banks. But Captain John McCain, despite a slow start, opened up a cut or two on Professor Obama in their early exchanges over the origins of and responsibility for the current financial crisis.

Now, as a fight fan, I can't dispute that those punches should have been thrown before tonight. And when Professor Obama pointed out that Captain McCain was not an original cosponsor of the bill to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and that the bill didn't pass, Captain McCain missed a superb counter-punching opportunity when he failed to say, "It didn't pass because the same executives from those entities who'd given you all that money I just talked about came to Congress to testify that there was no crisis, and there would be no crisis, and everything was just fine!"  That might have been a knockdown.

In any event, however, that overall exchange was the moment that Captain McCain regained the offensive — not just in the debate, but in the overall campaign — and he got stronger and sharper as Professor Obama continued to flail about ineffectively.

The pivot I referenced in the title to this post was quite literal, and it was vintage Captain McCain: Tom Brokaw (who did a good job suppressing his liberalism and a fine job overall) had fussed at both candidates for running long. That prompted Professor Obama to whine for a relaxation in the rules so that he could have another follow-up, but this came immediately after Captain McCain had pounded him for the first time about his naivete in threatening military action on Pakistani soil without the permission of its government. Brokaw was in mid-sentence refusing to change the rules, when Captain McCain literally whirled and — with the sagacity of the experienced warrior — agreed to Professor Obama's proposal.

Professor Obama then proceeded to violate the First Rule of Holes (when you realize you're in one, stop digging) — or, to return to boxing metaphors, he once again decided to lead with his chin. And thus, Captain McCain got yet another chance to pound him with Teddy Roosevelt's "Speak softly and carry a big stick" line.

Professor Obama speaks loudly, long, and with the glib but callow voice of inexperience. Those who already loved him don't care. They are drunk, besotted with Obama hopey-changiness, and they will love him even more after tonight. Those who aren't in love with either candidate, however — those who are still actually getting to know Professor Obama — are the voters who will decide this election. Those critical voters whose minds were not already made up are coming to realize that despite the great first impression he makes, Professor Obama never actually gets any better. He doesn't suddenly become wiser; he doesn't suddenly grow a legislative record of accomplishment; on substance, he never transforms himself into anything other than the tax-and-spend Chicago pol which in fact he is. As with Professor Marvel in "The Wizard of Oz," the sound and visual effects become considerably less impressive on subsequent viewings and the little man behind the curtain harder to ignore.

The third and final debate will confirm that Professor Obama is a candidate who lacks the instinctive ability to close the deal, just as he proved during his ever-slowing coast to the finish-line barely ahead of the ever-scrabbling Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries.

Professor Obama tonight again proved himself to be the more cautious candidate, but the greater risk for America. Captain McCain again showed that he is the political risk-taker, and he will govern as a reformer — but without bringing the risks inherent in the candidacy of anyone so inexperienced and yet smug as Professor Barack Obama. "Change you don't have to risk the future of the world on" is indeed a winning program for this election.

I do not expect the overnight polls, or even polls later this week or next, to reflect the ground which I believe that Captain McCain made up tonight. And frankly, short of a huge blunder by Professor Obama, there was nothing Captain McCain could have said tonight which would reverse those polls. Rather, he had to bang home again and again the key strong points for his own candidacy — he won't raise taxes in a recession and he won't settle for less than victory in Iraq or Afghanistan — and continue to plant seeds of doubt about the judgment, policies, and record of his opponent. He did both of those things.

For reasons having absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Professor Obama's race, but everything to do with his demonstrated lack of character and paper-thin record of accomplishment, this race will ultimately come down to just how many people who might want to vote for him nevertheless can't bring themselves to. And there's no way to know how many people that describes before the crucial moment at which their votes are cast.

— Beldar

Posted by Beldar at 11:43 PM in 2008 Election, McCain, Obama, Politics (2008) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to McCain the Warrior awoke, pivoted on Obama the Professor, and pounded him and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) Dai Alanye made the following comment | Oct 8, 2008 12:17:36 AM | Permalink

I don't see this as a McCain win, and I'm only happy that Blessing Handsome [Barack Hussein] made his own share of miscues.

As usual, Johnny wasted a lot of time blathering before getting down to either answering or attacking. He improved during the foreign policy portion, but not sufficiently. He wallowed in bi-partisanship when he should have been sharpening the difference between himself and both Obama and the entire Dem party. He spent too much time and energy on, "I have a plan" and "I know what to do."

He failed to nail the Dems and Obama on Fannie and Freddie, nor did he effectively defend against Obama's attacks re Iraq and Pakistan. He's just not a good debater.

Obama has used the scalpel vs hatchet metaphor previously. Here's what John should have responded with: When you're out camping and wake up to a bear chewing on your leg, it's not the time to drop the hatchet and pull out a scalpel.

Surely he could have a few knee-slappers like this available. Obama is predictable and repetitive, and highly sensitive to criticism. Why do I think Sarah Palin could be very effective at this?

(2) Beldar made the following comment | Oct 8, 2008 12:33:44 AM | Permalink

It is indeed a shame that Gov. Palin can't debate Sen. Obama directly, and without over-preparation and marching orders from Team McCain's handlers. I agree that she would eat his lunch. Hillary debated Obama to a draw in their death-match series, and Gov. Palin is at least ten times the natural politician that Hillary is (or has the capacity to become).

(3) Thomas Jackson made the following comment | Oct 8, 2008 1:48:19 AM | Permalink

This debate was a waste. We got two big government types telling us how they were going to blow billions in the name of the "PEOPLES."

A pox on both of them. Palin is the only one that makes any sense.

(4) Beldar made the following comment | Oct 8, 2008 2:05:45 AM | Permalink

Ah, well, Thomas, would you rather she ran in 2012 or 2016 as an incumbent vice president, or as the governor or former governor of Alaska? To get her as Veep, you have to vote for him.

Look, he made me want to throw things at the TV tonight too, at some points during the debate. Other times, he was okay, other times very good.

It's still an easy choice over Obama-Biden.

(5) stan made the following comment | Oct 8, 2008 8:12:39 AM | Permalink

Nice reference to the racism excuse used by liberals for Carter's defeat. Our foreign policy was a disaster. Our people were still held by the Iranians. Interest rates and inflation were at astronomical levels. Reagan was proposing extraordinary tax cuts and a major strengthening of our military.

And liberals identified racism as the reason people voted for Reagan.

(6) A.W. made the following comment | Oct 8, 2008 9:34:31 AM | Permalink

I don't know. I want McCain to win. i am starting to get concerned that Obama may be hiding a radical streak a mile wide, which will be hard to resist once he is in office.

But I just didn't see McCain landing any good blows on him. Palin, by comparison, has really drawn blood on him.

And what has happened to his ad campaign. About a month ago, they were brilliant. Today they are just crap.

Obama is a weak candidate, but McCain doesn't seem to be able to knock him out. And I think the problem is a lack of will.

(7) Paul_In_Houston made the following comment | Oct 8, 2008 11:03:47 AM | Permalink

Blogger GW (at Wolf Howling) said...
"This debate format was a real town hall format the way the Salvation Army is an actual army."

I couldn't help thinking that myself.
They mentioned that they received thousands of questions from the audience and from the internet, but they ALL had to pass the filter of Tom Brokaw.

Michell Malkin gets off some nice ones once in a while. Her latest:
Who was the Obama plant at last night’s debate?
had the following ...
**** ****** e-mailed me the answer:
“The Obama plant was Tom Brokaw.”

Har. Indeed. From my liveblogging last night:

Brokaw gets rolled again: “I’m just hired help here.”
Obama: “You’re doing a good job, Tom.”

Might as well have called him “sweetie.”

(8) Dave Jenkins made the following comment | Oct 8, 2008 11:45:14 AM | Permalink

McCain missed many opportunities last night, one of which I think was especially golden: When questioned about invading another country for humanitarian reasons, Obama cautiously conceded that it might be okay to do that.

If only McCain had then said, "So why did/do you oppose the invasion of Iraq?"

I've read a number of blogs this morning and can't believe that nobody else seems to have picked up on this point.

(9) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Oct 8, 2008 3:17:20 PM | Permalink

Dear Mr. Dyer: You write:

"Ah, well, Thomas, would you rather she ran in 2012 or 2016 as an incumbent vice president, or as the governor or former governor of Alaska?"

That's easy: Gov. of Alaska. How successful have vice presidents been in running for the Presidency? Bush41 says one thing; Nixon, Humphrey, Mondale, and Gore say another thing (when Nixon won the Presidency, it was NOT as Ike's Veep.) Even Dan Quayle sounds a sour note. Veeps who run for Prez are bound to have falling outs. Only Mondale and Bush41 escaped the murderous, Freudian agonies such an enterprise ensues. Veeps have to be their own candidates, and the departing Prez is seldom tranquil enough to bear that change easily. That was, and remains, my great objection to Palin in 2008: she's being picked too green. Let her run for Prez in any year, and what will happen? There will be a bumper harvest for oppo researchers, led by such limicolous swine as Andrew Sullivan, and the Palin of 20whatever will have to carry the burden of McC's 2008 candidacy, a heavy load indeed. Those who moan for Sarah are wasting their time. She's not on top of the ticket and won't be unless McC kicks the bucket. "Kicking the bucket" is a winning issue for The One.

Forget Palin, and vote for McC. Get drunk if it helps. Gag your libertarian instincts. Domestically, McC will be a horror. But it's the foreign and national security situation that will count. It is hard to believe this after all Geo. W.'s ineptitudes, crowned by Condoleezza Rice's Palestinian idiocies. Believe it anyway and vote for the Grumpy Old Man.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

(10) Mike Myers made the following comment | Oct 8, 2008 5:16:05 PM | Permalink

It's said that the two word history of the world is "Jesus wept".

Well I'm certainly not Jesus--not even the Obamessiah. But after the first half hour of last night's debate, I was profoundly depressed. I got up and left the room for a while because I couldn't stand it any longer.

I'll follow Mr. Koster's advice and get drunk the night before the election--and pull the lever for McCain.

But I don't think that either one of these candidates was really sharp enough to pounce on the opportunities that the other candidate presented last night.

Neither one of them can explain their tax plan(s) in any coherent fashion. It's just not in them.

I love my country. She's survived some pretty disastrous things, and we'll probably muddle on through no matter which of these bozos gets elected. Baracky just makes stuff up, and McCain admits he knows bupkus about economics.

But things are looking pretty durn grim right now.

The comments to this entry are closed.