Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Debate Impressions

I'd give it a tie. Both candidates performed well. Sen. John McCain started off slowly but seemed to warm up, whereas Sen. Barack Obama was out of the box fast and then grew somewhat flustered later in. Both candidates misspoke at times, and the fact-checkers can determine whether any of those botched phrases revealed anything substantive.

McCain missed several opportunities. When Obama kept asserting that he'd give 95 percent of the country a tax break, McCain needed to call him out, and remind him that the bottom 40 percent pays no federal taxes.

Let's see, if Obama gives a tax break to people that pay no taxes, that would be, what -- a welfare check? For nearly half the population? Yeah, and that tax cut comes with a free bottle of (organic) snake oil!

McCain never addressed the issue of judges. (And in fairness, the questions never gave him that opportunity.) One of the reasons that the U.S. economy has led the world for so long is our rule of law. McCain has been very clear that he would appoint judges who apply the words of the constitution, statute or contract at issue. That gives certainty to business -- which is crucial in a time of economic chaos. Obama, in contrast, has said that he will appoint judges who will empathizes with the underdog -- which means you'd better not be the business owner.

Nor did McCain bring up the issue of the sanctity of life. (Again, because Tom Brokaw carefully avoided the subject.) McCain's commitment to life is longstanding and unequivocal. Obama, on the other hand, would take abortion "rights" to a new level: Obama voted to prohibit medical care to those fetuses who somehow, miraculously survive an abortion and are born live.

Under Obama-care, the courts would "discover" that there is a "right" to have the federal government pay for abortions with taxpayer dollars. This issue might not turn the election. McCain owes it to the unborn, however, to make clear that voters know where Obama stands on abortion.

Obama left several unanswered questions. He never did tell us how big the fine will be for self-employed individuals who don't acquire, and small businesses who don't provide health care. Obama never conceded that entitlements need to be cut -- and "misspoke," changing the word and the subject -- entitlements -- to education. And Obama never committed that he would defend Israel if Iran attacked it.

That Barry: even after two years running for president, and two debates, he remains an enigma wrapped in a mystery.

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