The First Debate

We finally got tonight what we’ve been waiting for – the first presidential debate in a race that has been going on since 2006. It almost didn’t happen, but it did and it lived up to the hype.

Both Barack Obama and John McCain performed very well during the first debate, moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS, although both of them fell short in a couple of areas.

Here are my thoughts:

  • The following phrases should be banned from future debates: “my friends”, “Main Street vs. Wall Street”, “Henry Kissinger”, “change”, “maverick”, “reform”
  • Obama agreed with McCain far too much.
  • McCain can’t look Obama in the eye.
  • Neither candidate knows enough about the bailout bill to speak with any authority on it.
  • I don’t understand the CNN debate scorecards.
  • There wasn’t a clear-cut winner, so the win goes to whomever you were supporting before the debate. You could make the argument that the tie goes to Obama because McCain’s advantage in this race has arguably been foreign policy.
  • The Vice Presidential debate has the potential to be very ugly if Katie Couric’s interview of Palin is any indication of how she’ll answer questions.
  • I wish that I got as many text messages discussing the debate as I do during crappy Chiefs games.

The true race for the White House is finally on. And just in case you were wondering, I am still planning on voting for Barack Obama.

The Great Debate

Tomorrow night is the next of the cavalcade of Democratic debates that we’ve endured over the last several months, this time in Pennsylvania, which is this week’s “most important state!” to host a primary. Since the last primaries in Mississippi (which I had to look back to CNN’s political page for – BTW, Barack Obama TROUNCED Hillary Clinton in those 61% to 39%), a lot has happened in the campaigns. We’ve had major gaffes on both sides (“sniper fire” vs. “bitter”) and some serious questions about the people these candidates surround themselves with (Mark Penn vs. Jeremiah Wright).

Previous debates have been extremely short on fireworks as the Democrats have been cordial to each other’s faces, choosing to do their back biting at events and stump speeches.

KC Joke Blogster Tony Botello opined today on the Democratic race and it is an example of the truthiness that can come out of a blog that generally just tries to make people mad.

Both he and I agreed that the outright hypocrisy of Hillary on this issue was utterly mind boggling. A woman with $109 million expects to be taken seriously when she casts stones about elitism?

Hillary has truly pulled the wool over the eyes of her supporters. I can’t figure out how her “beer and shots and my daddy took me huntin’ by the lake” doesn’t get her called for BS every time. It’s fascinating, really, because I think it is THE CLINTONS who are elitist and they take advantage of the ignorance of those less fortunate with their “we’re just like you” schtick.

Barack Obama has his flaws. We all do. Some of his recent errors in judgment have kept this race alive longer than it should, but one thing I won’t call Obama is elitist. He knows that he’s been blessed in his life and he knows that his politics aren’t favorable to everyone. But he doesn’t change his stripes depending on where he is in the country, changing his story depending on his audience.

The people that continue to vote for Hillary Clinton are being duped. In a blog post on Anderson Cooper 360’s blog, Hillary Clinton biographer Carl Bernstein stated:

What will a Hillary Clinton presidency look like?

The answer by now seems obvious: It will look like her presidential campaign, which in turn looks increasingly like the first Clinton presidency.

Which is to say, high-minded ideals, lowered execution, half truths, outright lies (and imaginary flights), take-no prisoners politics, some very good policy ideas, a presidential spouse given to wallowing in anger and self-pity, and a succession of aides and surrogates pushed under the bus when things don’t go right. Which is to say, often.

This is what we would be in for if Hillary Clinton were to become the next president of the United States. Anyone who doesn’t make that same assessment hasn’t been watching the campaign closely enough. That’s why I’m going to continue to support Obama. The thought of another Clinton White House is too much for me to bear.

Finally the Race is On

Up to this point, I’ve waited a while to comment on the presidential race of 2006-2008. Up to this point, both parties have been posturing and positioning and jockeying and not saying much of anything. There have been lots and lots of debates (and I’ve watched some of them), but up until the Iowa caucus, much of the rhetoric has been pretty boring – more laying tracks than talking about issues.

Saturday night’s back-to-back Republican and Democratic debates on ABC News were the best so far. The format – which basically involved Charles Gibson asking questions and then sitting back and letting the candidates respond in an organic, almost discussion-like manner. I loved watching it. Alli and I watched all 4 hours of the debates and they really were fascinating. It was almost as if all of the protective plastic of politics had been peeled back and for once, people started to answer questions honestly.

Of the Republicans, it was nice to see John McCain show some fire. Giuliani was much more cogent than I’ve seen him in the past. I felt like many of them seemed to take some shots at Mitt Romney and it began to look like they are threatened by him. I still am not down with Huckleberry and I’m convinced that Fred Thompson does not really want the nomination, but his results in Iowa forced him into focusing a little more on his campaign. Ron Paul continues to separate himself from the rest of the group. When the New Hampshire results come in, we’ll learn a little more.

Of the four Democrats, I thought that their “random” seating assignments were more than appropriate. John Edwards won that debate hands down. He separated himself from the rest of the group more than he has in the past and by aligning himself with Obama, he’s poised to make a serious move in the coming weeks and months. I think that an Obama-Edwards or Edwards-Obama ticket could be formidable come November. I like Bill Richardson, but I don’t really like his cozying up to Hillary, who I still can’t stand.

No one has won my vote yet. As the field is whittled down, it will be easier to make my decision. I have people I’m leaning toward right now. I’m hoping to have a better idea before the Kansas Republican Caucus on February 9 so I can participate.

Debate-O-Rama

One thing is certain. Neither candidate was entirely accurate in the slew of facts and figures that were strewn about last night. However, if we are judging from a snap reaction (and I’m trying really hard not to let my relatively conservative bias play any part), Bush kicked the crap out of Kerry.

So you can understand my surprise when I looked at CNN.com this morning. I don’t think all of the people polled watched the whole debate. Bush really came on toward the end, hit his stride and laid the Texas Smackdown to the “More Liberal Senator from Massachusetts”.

I particularly liked this part:

“I want to remind people listening tonight that a plan is not a litany of complaints, and a plan is not to lay out programs that you can’t pay for.

He just said he wants everybody to be able to buy in to the same plan that senators and congressmen get. That costs the government $7,700 per family. If every family in America signed up, like the senator suggested, [it] would cost us $5 trillion over 10 years.

It’s an empty promise. It’s called bait and switch.”

That was my favorite. I’m so sick and tired of Kerry saying, “I have a plan,” and then saying “go to my web site” when he knows damn well that most of us are too freaking lazy to go to our computer and look up his lousy plans.

On a happier note, I had Chipotle for the 2nd time in 2 days last night. I just can’t get enough burrito love.

2 nights ago: Steak Fajita burrito, with green tomatillo and cheese
last night: chicken burrito bol, no beans, green tomatillo, medium corn salsa, cheese, guacamole

I love burritos.

Vice-Presidential Sparks Fly

Grumpy and mean?

Dick Cheney is a sweetheart. OK…maybe not so much, but I thought that “Grumpy and Mean” was a really inappropriate way to describe the way that he acted in tonight’s vice presidential debate. But that’s exactly how the Kerry-Edwards campaign manager classified him. Cheney was seemingly on the defensive all night (Edwards mentioned Halliburton after less than 20 minutes of actual debate). The truth about Cheney’s Halliburton ties (which really absolve him of any implications that Kerry and Edwards would like to pin on him).

It was a pretty spirited debate. Prior to the debate, I thought that Cheney would stomp Edwards, given his lack of experience, but I forgot that Edwards used to be a trial lawyer and he did a great job. It was a relatively even debate. One thing that stood out was that Cheney finally brought John Kerry’s 20 year record to the forefront…and it’s lousy. I thought that the data that he had on Edwards missing all his votes was really funny too. Still, Cheney is a stain on the Bush administration. What I wouldn’t give for a Bush-McCain ticket this year…

(I keep trying to finish this post, but Austin Powers 2 is on and now I’m watching an old Saturday Night Live and they are doing the Jimmy Fallon/Horatio Sanz “Leather Man” skit…so funny, but Jimmy Fallon canNOT do a single sketch without laughing… “CHOO CHOO! AAIIIIIEEEEEE!!!”)

I call this debate for Bush-MCCAIN!!! Because for some reason, John Kerry’s record in the Senate is only being examined on talk radio and in the blogosphere…not necessarily in the mainstream media (surprise…surprise….).