Thursday, October 16, 2008


Debate Thoughts

I was too busy preparing my biochemistry lecture for this morning to watch the debate, but I bet it was silly. Indeed, the post-debate coverage was very silly.

Nu? How did it sound when McCain kept talking about Joe the Plumber? Was it like with his talk about "the overhead projector" where it made him sound like he was talking about how "I was wearing an onion in my belt, as was the fashion of the time -- kids! get off my lawn!"? Or did the point come through?  With the overhead projector example, the media didn't really report what McCain was talking about, but this time the media have given "context" so McCain doesn't come off as Grandpa Simpson here like he did previously.

In any case, either the media are carrying water for McCain by not reporting on how Obama responded to the Joe the Plumber (Joe Sixpack) claims or Obama didn't properly respond. I dunno about Joe the Plumber (he could be lying about something ... and/or the GOP is paying him off to say what he's saying), but the usual GOP game-plan is to get people thinking Dems. will tax gross income rather than profits. 

Conceivably a small business may very well be a multi-hundred thousand dollar a year operation (or even a multi-million dollar a year operation) so people are convinced that Dem taxes will affect them even if they don't. Obama needs to make it very clear (with some details about what exactly he plans to tax) that someone like Joe the Plumber is not going to get hit by Obama's tax increases (or, that if he is indeed making that much profit, why should he begrudge the commonweal?).  Instead of giving a loosey-goosey, "trust me, I won't raise your taxes" answer (which is, from what I can tell from the so-called liberal media, Obama said) -- which only signals to people that trusting Obama is the last thing they can do (which is why "people don't trust Dems") -- he needs to give specifics.  And specifically call the GOP on their "okey-doke" here.  Obama needs to challenge the GOP talking points head on and kill them rather than saying "trust me, I won't raise your taxes, only some rich person's taxes".

And btw, what's this naarishkeit about "countries that redistribute wealth always fall eventually"?  Um ... and those that don't redistribute wealth last forever?  A little bit of reading of the Book of Koheleth (about how nothing is permanent except Hashem and how everything has its time and place) seems in order here for a bit of perspective ... and, whaddyaknow?  It's Sukkos ... and what are we reading?  Amazing these coinckidinks? eh?

Of course, it seems also that McCain's big, witty zinger (which was indeed witty) leaves McCain open to attack.  But does Obama's team have the obvious ad ready (it should only take about a day to conceive, test and produce, it's such an obvious rejoinder):

(voice over)  McCain claims he is an independent maverick who repudiates the policies of his fellow Republican George W. Bush, but look at his record: he voted with the GOP, the party of George W. Bush (% of the time he did so) % of the time, including a vote (for/against unpopular vote).  McCain says the Democrats shouldn't run against George W. Bush because McCain is not George W. Bush
(appropriate clip from debate)
We'll grant him that -- we have photographic evidence that George W. Bush and McCain are different people
(picture of McCain hugging G.W.Bush)
see the person being hugged -- that's G.W. Bush.  See the person deferentially hugging George W. Bush.  Which candidate is that?
(picture of McCain that looks like the crypt-keeper)
That one!
John McCain is not George W. Bush.  He's just George W. Bush's lackey.

i.e. have a negative ad that links John McCain to George W. Bush, puts the "that one" quote and applies it to McCain and makes McCain seem effete (the deferential hug).

Unlike some, I am still not confident the Dems. will win this one unless they learn (finally) to play hard-ball.  The McCain campaign is phoning it in at this point, but the Dems. still seem to be falling for all the old Rovian tricks.  Let's fight to win for once instead of counting our chickens before they hatch!


Update: Judging by the CBS Evening News (which I caught on the radio on my commute home) and the free daily, it seems that Joe the Plumber is backfiring big-time.  The media are reporting pretty much everything (including unflattering pictures of McCain), although, of course, in such a way that the GOP will be able to scream about media bias and get people not to pay attention.  Still, CBS News even managed to carry water for Obama and make the argument Obama needed to make -- that Joe the (not) Plumber's hypothetical business would not make him rich enough to be hit by Obama's tax increases.  Of course, the media had to dutifully find something "murky" about Obama's plans to balance their criticism, but still ... the media aren't going after Obama like they did Kerry, so Obama has a chance here ... let's just not blow it due to cockiness about winning.


Update II: I notice Obama is running an ad (not quite as shrill as my suggestion, which is probably for the best) very much along the lines of my suggestion.  Does someone in the Obama campaign read my blog?  Maybe I'll get ponies for that?  Or maybe it's just an obvious idea ... anyhoo, how are these ads playing with people who are not shrill, liberal partisan Dems like me ... anybody have any thoughts on that?

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