Long story short, Obama won. I know - I'm partisan. I'm suppose to say that. But let me say *why* he won.
With friends like these
During the debate, the question of "Who would you make your Secretary of the Treasury" came up. Senator McCain - your answer please?
McCain: You know, that's a tough question and there's a lot of qualified Americans. But I think the first criteria, Tom, would have to be somebody who immediately Americans identify with, immediately say, we can trust that individual.
A supporter of Sen. Obama's is Warren Buffett [chairman of Berkshire Hathaway]. He has already weighed in and helped stabilize some of the difficulties in the markets and with companies and corporations, institutions today.
Ok - wait. Are you seriously telling people "I like Buffet. Oh, by the way - did you know he's endorsing my opponent?" Why on earth would you say "I think the richest man in the world would make a great secretary of the Treasury - though I should mention that he thinks the other guy will be a better President than me."
Oh, but McCain wasn't done yet hurting himself. He then followed it up with this gem:
I like Meg Whitman [former CEO of eBay and current McCain campaign adviser], she knows what it's like to be out there in the marketplace. She knows how to create jobs. Meg Whitman was CEO of a company that started with 12 people and is now 1.3 million people in America make their living off eBay. Maybe somebody here has done a little business with them.
Well, yeah - and she also knows how to create a company that just announced they were laying off 10% of their workers.
So, first you pick the guy who thinks the other guy will be a better president, and then you pick the lady who's company is about to fire a lot of people. Good choices there.
Nobody likes the rude guy
During the 2000 debates, Gore was ahead of Bush by some 11 points. And then came the debates - and Gore was, well, less than steller.
OK - he stunk.
Not in his policies or facts. There, as always, he was precise. No, the problem with Gore was disrespectful. While Bush spoke, Gore signed. He rolled his eyes. Shook his head. In the Town Hall debate, he got up in Bush's face and asked him about supporting some bill.
Gore's disrespect likely cost him the election. Last night, it didn't help McCain.
When asked about his treasury secretary pick by Tom Brokaw, McCain's first response was "Not you, Tom."
OK. I get it. Ha-ha. Some humor. Only - nobody in the audience was laughing. This was followed by this little exchange:
McCain: I think pure research and development investment on the part of the United States government is certainly appropriate. I think once it gets into productive stages, that we ought to, obviously, turn it over to the private sector.
By the way, my friends, I know you grow a little weary with this back-and-forth. It was an energy bill on the floor of the Senate loaded down with goodies, billions for the oil companies, and it was sponsored by Bush and Cheney.
You know who voted for it? You might never know. That one. You know who voted against it? Me. I have fought time after time against these pork barrel -- these bills that come to the floor and they have all kinds of goodies and all kinds of things in them for everybody and they buy off the votes. (Emphasis added.)
That one? I don't think that McCain was being racist at that moment - just disrespectful and dome. Call him Senator Obama. Or just Senator. Or My Opponent. Barack, if you must. But "That one"? It's like when I did something wrong, my mother came home and asked Grandpa "Who did this?", and my grandfather pointed at me and growled out "That one."
It could have been a good example - but then McCain had to ruin it by being disrespectful.
For It Until Against It Until For It
Thursday night, Governor Palin said that the McCain campaign supported allowing the bankruptcy courts to readjust the interest rate or principal of a claimant's house.
Friday morning, the McCain campaign said "No - that' not right, McCain doesn't support that.
But that's OK, because Tuesday night, McCain said:
[McCain:] You know that home values of retirees continues to decline and people are no longer able to afford their mortgage payments. As president of the United States, Alan, I would order the secretary of the treasury to immediately buy up the bad home loan mortgages in America and renegotiate at the new value of those homes -- at the diminished value of those homes and let people be able to make those -- be able to make those payments and stay in their homes.
Is it expensive? Yes. But we all know, my friends, until we stabilize home values in America, we're never going to start turning around and creating jobs and fixing our economy. And we've got to give some trust and confidence back to America.
So wait - the bankruptcy courts should be able to change the value of home mortgages. But no, they shouldn't. But the Treasury secretary can.
Walking Right into the Fist
Probably the worst time for McCain during the debate was when Obama cocked his fist, and McCain decided to run headlong right into it.
Obama: You're doing a great job, Tom.
Look, I -- I want to be very clear about what I said. Nobody called for the invasion of Pakistan. Sen. McCain continues to repeat this.
What I said was the same thing that the audience here today heard me say, which is, if Pakistan is unable or unwilling to hunt down bin Laden and take him out, then we should.
Now, that I think has to be our policy, because they are threatening to kill more Americans.
Now, Sen. McCain suggests that somehow, you know, I'm green behind the ears and, you know, I'm just spouting off, and he's somber and responsible.
McCain: Thank you very much.
Obama: Sen. McCain, this is the guy who sang, "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran," who called for the annihilation of North Korea. That I don't think is an example of "speaking softly."
This is the person who, after we had -- we hadn't even finished Afghanistan, where he said, "Next up, Baghdad."
So I agree that we have to speak responsibly and we have to act responsibly. And the reason Pakistan -- the popular opinion of America had diminished in Pakistan was because we were supporting a dictator, Musharraf, had given him $10 billion over seven years, and he had suspended civil liberties. We were not promoting democracy.
This is the kind of policies that ultimately end up undermining our ability to fight the war on terrorism, and it will change when I'm president.
(Sigh.) He actually thanked Obama. He had to know that the punch was coming - and he thought he'd be smart with that "thank you" comment.
So now what? Well, based on the latest polls and projections, Obama is going to the next President. Of course, a lot can happen in the next 3 weeks.
But if this is how McCain's going to debate next week, Obama can all but start considering his treasury secretary now.