[Presented in reverse chronological order]
8:35PM OK, one more one last thing. McCain kinda sucks with or without a teleprompter. But Obama keeps fumbling the easy ones, where all he has to do is segue into his stump speech talking points. If that reminds you of his initial response to the Georgia invasion, it’s for good reason. The man simply is not ready for the burden of this office. But I’m more than ready for another martini. So if you’ll excuse me, I’ll see you next week at the next debate. Cheers!
8:33PM One last thing. McCain is finishing with, “Obama still doesn’t understand.” It’s true that McCain pulled a lot of punches. But he’s won on points — and at the end, I think that was his strategy all along. Had he come on too strong, McCain would have left himself open to those charges of being imprudent. Tonight he was prudent, if sometimes overly so. Obama came across as an impudent naif — and that’s not what Americans want, need, or can afford in times like these.
8:30PM OK, I’ll give you a real close now. Obama strikes me as a modern Chamberlain, praising his (oh-so-transient) “peace with honor.” McCain, however, comes across as “peace when we’re done kicking you ass and not one moment sooner.” And since this was ostensibly a foreign policy debate, I give the win to McCain. Oh, and one other thing — Obama is still talking as I write this. But he’s spending his last answer angling for the European vote, which does nothing but reinforce my point.
8:27PM Now that it’s almost over, may I at long last say … “oh, the humanity!”
8:25.5PM I mean, who would notice?
8:25PM “I’ve never said I object to nuclear waste.” Then let’s store it on Chicago’s south side!
8:24PM Last question …
8:23PM Obama expected Russia to trade its “peacekeepers” in South Ossetia and Abkhazia with “international peacekeepers.” And how did he propose to do that, even prior to the invasion? If you thought I was too harsh calling him a “naif” before, surely you agree with me now.
8:22PM This debate still has ten minutes or so to go. But it’s not too soon to give you a wrap. McCain is no debater. He wouldn’t last a second during Question Hour in the British Parliament. And yet Obama is coming off in third place in a two-man session.
8:19PM Quoting Obama, “Both sides ought to show restraint.” Both sides including … GEORGIA! And again McCain draws a contrast between himself and Bush. And again Obama comes off as me-too at best, a naif at worst.
8:18PM Don’t get me wrong — McCain is hardly my dream candidate. Unfortunately for me, and the nation, Cal Coolidge has been dead for quite some time now.
8:18PM Do I sound dismissive about the distinguished senator from Illinois? Oh, good!
8:17PM How do you see Russia? Obama: “uh … um … ah … we need to assess…” Maybe even a study group!
8:16PM On to Russia …
8:15PM “Aw, please,” says McCain. It’s about time somebody said that to this contorted naif.
8:15PM “Preconditions” = “Preparation,” says Obama. To again put it in high school terms: Studying for your exams is the same as expecting your teacher to just give you an A.
8:14PM I don’t know if McCain will win. I still doubt it, and sometimes I dread it. But if he doesn’t do better with Jews than any Republican since… ever, then there’s something wrong here.
8:13PM “I’m not going to set the White House visitor schedule before I’m elected.” And Obama just got another welt across his behind.
8:12PM Every time Obama complains that the Bush strategy hasn’t worked with Iran, he reinforces the point that his own plan is just more of the same, only granting Iran even more prestige. How stupid does he thing we are? How naive is he?
8:11PM Obama is man enough to admit that “it may not work” to have the Iranian president over at the White House. Back in high school, we used to say, “No sh*t, Sherlock?”
8:10PM “Let’s talk about this,” says Obama. Isn’t that the goddamn problem, you inexperienced, officious little whelp?
8:09PM Pardon me as I wet myself while McCain spanks Obama over his promise to negotiate with Iran “without preconditions.” It’s like gay porn, only this stuff turns me on. (Sorry, Bruce!)
8:08PM “Tough, direct diplomacy against Iran!” I wave papers in your general direction, you Persian sons of hamsters!
8:08PM But yet we need “tougher sanctions.”
8:07PM Obama just said sanctions haven’t worked against Iran!
8:06PM Oh, and he slid it in under the wire, but every Jew watching just noted McCain say “never again.” Obama should have followed suit, but so far hasn’t.
8:05PM The best way to hurt Iran is to lower oil prices. McCain ought to be hammering that fact as part of his Drill Now, Drill Frickin’ Everything mantra.
8:04PM In the comments, Dave writes, “‘Paahkistaahn’ might be closer to the correct pronunciation, but it comes across as effete. (Jenjiss kaahn?)”
8:03PM Lehrer says they’re even on time. But that they’ve run out of five minute thingies. Give it to Lehrer for running an even debate, if nothing else.
8:02PM “You’d think Obama would have gone to Afghanistan.” And then McCain further slammed Obama for hiding behind Senate rules (although I doubt many people caught that one).
8:01PM “No soldier ever dies in vain,” says Obama. That’s in direct contradiction to something he said during the primaries. Can someone look that up for me, please, while I drink? (I’m lazy, it’s true.)
8:00PM Can I vote McCain for Best Old Uncle?
7:58PM Do a shot every time McCain says “I have a record.” He doesn’t *need* to say, “And my opponent doesn’t.”
7:58PM Now there’s a bit of history I’d forgotten. McCain voted against his “dear friend” Reagan’s deployment of Marines to Lebanon. Kind of squashes that whole “prudence” complaint.
7:57PM This is Obama’s first really solid answer. So I can promise you it’s the one all the news outlets (save *maybe* Fox) will be running tomorrow.
7:57PM Heh. Obama just slammed McCain about “prudence” after that “Bomb bomb bomb Iran” song. It’s a fair cop.
7:56PM “Nobody talked about attacking Pakistan,” says Obama. This must be Obama v2.0. Three-point-oh?
7:54PM “You don’t say that out loud,” says McCain, about Obama’s promise to invade Pakistan. My exact words, from the first time Obama made his stupid, juvenile threat.
7:53PM You know, Obama is right — and has been right — about calling for more troops for Afghanistan. But now he’s calling for more eradication of poppy seeds… and extending the Drug War to Afghanistan is the single biggest mistake Bush has made in that country.
7:52PM I just spent HOURS talking to Austin Bay about Afghanistan last weekend. And his assessment — wise when Obama was writing junior high school love poems — does not match up with that of the senator from Illinois.
7:50PM Obama has got to stop doing that half smile thing. I know, because I do it too. All the freaking time.
7:49PM Wasn’t Obama promising to reduce our troops in Iraq “in 16 months” at least 12 months ago? Why won’t the left call for his warmongering head?
7:48PM I live and breathe this stuff, even while drinking, but I can barely follow Obama’s answers. McCain is hardly inspiring, but he at least seems to make sense.
7:47PM I haven’t been paying attention to CNN’s audience-o-meter. Can someone tell me how the candidates are doing? It’s a gimmick, but I’m curious — and I have to LISTEN to these debates while I focus on typing on the screen.
7:46PM “Obama doesn’t understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy.”
7:44PM I’m going to miss some stuff now, while I go shake another martini. I trust you’ll understand and forgive.
7:43PM McCain says the next President won’t decide IF to go into Iraq, but HOW to exit and WHAT to leave behind. And it’s there that Obama’s judgement has been wrong for years.
7:42PM Obama has GOT to stop counting the costs of the Iraq War, at a time when Americans are feeling better about it. It’s bad politics, bad strategy, and absolutely shitty leadership. If you’ll pardon my English.
7:41PM Obama opposed Iraq. Who knew! But didn’t he also oppose the surge that McCain endorsed before Bush and before the Pentagon? “Distraction… Afghanistan… blah blah blah.”
7:41PM OK, quick question: Without peeking, repeat one thing Obama has said.
7:40PM If I’m not mistaken, there’s been a foreign policy question, and an answer to match. “We are winning in Iraq… with honor,” says McCain.
7:39PM “It is well known that I haven’t been voted Miss Congeniality” in working with Bush. And then McCain outlined lots of places where he has parted ways with Bush… while sneaking in an endorsement for Palin. Nicely turned, McCain. More of this, please.
7:38PM “I just have to make this point, Jim.” Obama his hitting McCain hard for voting for “most” of Bush’s budgets.
7:36PM “Spending 300 billion dollars on tax cuts.” That right there explains why I haven’t voted for a Democrat for President since 1992, and would rather not until they beat that sentiment out of themselves. Preferably using ball-peen hammers.
7:35PM I understood that there would be a foreign policy debate. And that there would be no math.
7:34PM McCain just put Obama on defense again on energy. “You can’t get there from here.” I’m starting to wonder if the old guy has been laying low this whole time.
7:33PM McCain would freeze spending on everything but defense and such. Obama says, “yes, but…” Which has been his entire performance so far tonight. That’s playing defense. That’s playing to lose.
7:32PM Obama’s liberalism is just “opposition to Bush’s failed policies.”
7:31PM Obama says some things “will have to be delayed.” Lehrer says “What?” Obama answers with stuff he doesn’t want to delay, and stuff he doesn’t want to cut, and taxes he wants to raise. And college tuition! Somebody’s got to pay off his wife’s loans.
7:30PM If this were Oxford, it would start like this: “Resolved: That we would like to hold all of the primaries over again.”
7:29PM “It’s hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left.” “I oppose ethanol subsidies.” I know McCain wasn’t planning to take Iowa, but I wonder if he just kissed off Indiana and Ohio, too.