Friday, October 17, 2008

Thankfully the presidential/vice-presidential debates are done.  They were, on the whole, unenlightening.  I found out less from them than I had going to the various campaign sites.  The last one was the best.  I will agree on that.  And John McCain turned in a better performance than he had in the previous debates.  However, that performance did nothing to convert me into a McCain supporter.  I will make a few observations.

First, if McCain hoped to appear confident, commanding, and thoughtful, he failed totally.  What I saw was a man who desperately wants to be president and will say and promise anything to get there.  He appeared smug and condescending.  His fake look of surprise when Obama told him that businesses making less than $250k under the Obama plan would pay no increased taxes was totally off-putting.  He was informed of that fact in the last debate and evidently wasn't listening.  

Second, I am not convinced by his apparent conversion to 'Populism Lite.'  The items he incorporated into his proposals to appeal to middle-class voters are too little, too late.  And I wonder how many people noticed that his proposed middle class tax cuts were paired with a 50% cut in the capital gains tax?

Third, I loved George Will's comment concerning 'historical amnesia,' which he attributed to both sides, rightly.  McCain showed his amnesia by repeating the conservative cant that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae initiated this global financial meltdown we have been watching.  I have seen several very good articles which show that they were part of the problem but not the precipitating factor.  Go to this link courtesy of Eric Altermann for some of the details.  As Will pointed out, this crisis has been festering for the better part of the last 40 years under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Fourth, if McCain isn't concerned about the 'washed up old terrorist' in Obama's background why have he, his running mate, and his campaign made such a big deal of it?  Once a very long time ago I was involved in a graduate seminar in which I made a similar big deal out of a tangential point and then back tracked to the 'well, I am not really concerned about THAT.'  My about face did nothing for my position and McCain's did nothing for him.  I would also suggest to Senator McCain that we really do NOT need to exhaustively examine every little detail of HIS life or Senator Obama's to know for whom to vote.  After all, McCain surely can't be entirely proud of his association with Keating and the savings and loan scandal.

Fifth, I notice that McCain is still boosting nuclear energy.  I have a question for him.  What does the U.S. Navy do with its spent fuel?  The major problem I have with the whole notion of nuclear energy is disposing of the waste.  By the way, what did a pilot have to do with the nuclear power plant on his ship?  What kind of expertise does his experience really give him?  

I noticed that MarketWatch and the morning news noted that OPEC has moved up the date of its regularly scheduled meeting.  It had been set for next month but will now take place next week.  Is anybody surprised?  In classic economics, where price is determined by supply and demand,  if the demand falls the only way to keep prices high is to reduce supply.  Of course, I have been wondering, along with others, just how connected supply and demand have been lately.  I guess we will find out.


Elaine said...

It can't be over soon enough to suit me! Did you notice that McCain kept saying Sarah knows something about Autism and special needs children? He said autism several times in reference to her. The thing is....her child has Down Syndrome not autism. And many people come to her rally's with their Down syndrome child just to meet her.

Get it straight John, if you're going to talk about Sarah Palin and her special needs child, at least know which one it is.

MaryContrary said...

Mom and I both noticed the mention of Autism and wondered how that entered into the conversation. Either McCain can't tell the difference between Autism and Downs Syndrome or he can't be bothered to get his facts straight. Worse, he is sadly deluded if he thinks that a woman whose experience with a special needs child spans only the first, what?, four months of that child's life really knows the score. Let's get back to her in about ten years time and then find out what she knows.