October 9, 2008

The Debate and the missed opportunty

During last Tuesday night's debate I found myself screaming at the TV screen. Both candidates missed a truly unique opportunity to speak directly to the country through audience and to explain how their administration would deal with the national (or even global) economic meltdown. I found a piece in the New York Times that speaks to this missed opportunity. The author contrasts Obama to Bill Clinton in '92. Patrick Healy makes the point the Obama is not comfortable with the human side of campaigning. He is not Bill Clinton who had an enormous ability to connect with the public on an individual level. Obama and McCain both spent more time talking about each other than about what they would do upon taking office. Particularly for Obama the answer is not hard, its natural. All he needed to say was:
Within the first 100 days I will send congress a tax package that will lower taxes on the middle class providing the funds they need to keep our economy growing, Within the first 100 days I will send a congress and engery plan that will invest $100 billion dollars in the development of alternative energy sources to break our dependence on foreign oil and slow global climate change. This investment will create thousands of new jobs and create new American technologies that we can export to the rest of the world. Finally within the first 100 days I will send to Congress a health care plan that will provide millions of American families the same health insurance options the Senator McCain and I enjoy. This plan will reduce medical costs, save middle class families thousands of dollars while improving health care in this country. These 3 programs combined with the rescue and investment programs currently being rolled out will strengthen our economy and lead us out of the the economic collapse brought on the by the failed polices of the last 8 years of Republican leadership.

How hard is that. You know the plans you know the numbers and frankly this is what the American voter needs to hear, not how many times McBama voted for something he didn't really vote for. Both parties are guilty. I support Obama so I hold him to a higher standard. Healy suggests some reasons for Obama's performance:

At a time of real financial turmoil for so many Americans, is there really not much desire for a feel-your-pain politician? At the town hall debate Tuesday night, Mr. Obama largely stuck to facts, figures, and programmatic detail as he talked about the economy and domestic issues. He didn’t take advantage of the town hall format to show a bit of leg, humanity-wise. It was enough to make anxious voters feel a little lonely, whereas Mr. Clinton would have offered a psychic hug.

“Obama did not vary his tone of voice at all — it’s one of his main problems in connecting,” said Ruth Sherman, a political communications consultant. “It is a beautiful voice, with lots of highs and lows of pitch, but the general tone is always the same. There is much, much more he could do, just with his voice, to increase his impact.”

“Most of the time, too, Obama pivoted to his stump speech, missing opportunity after opportunity to connect with the audience and beyond,” she added. “I can’t get over this. Why isn’t he making more of an effort? Perhaps he’s doing well and just biding his time, figuring that he just has to do O.K.? These are leadership skills, and they cannot be dismissed.”

The reviews for Mr. McCain’s performance were not stellar, either, yet it was Obama supporters who were hoping that their man would go on the offensive and create some theater by trouncing Mr. McCain.

I will vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. I will tell you why in another post. I only hope that he offers us more leadership and less negativity at a time when we all need to hear that there is hope in someplace other than Arkansas.


PS. What he said. See Tom Friedman's view of Sarah Palin in the NYT. He says what I think only better. If you think this is somehow the liberal media's bias against conservatives then tell me who should pay for Palin and Biden's sons' body armour!


At 10:15 PM, Blogger Monticello said...

Last question first: You have to raise taxes to pay for body armor?That's it? Only one choice or the other? Friedman set up his own sophomoric "either/or" scenario and then threw out a clever zinger. I don't suppose he thought about cutting spending, eliminating wasteful spending, and still being able to afford body armor. Friedman couldn't get past a freshman-level debate class with that kind of a priori BS.

And, I agree with you. I wish Obama had said "I will cut middle class taxes, then spend $100 billion on energy research, then take over health care, since we all know the government always runs things cheaper than the private sector". If he had said that, I wouldn't lay awake night worrying about Obama-Reid and Pelosi running the country. Not even the Washington Post could swallow all that.

At 6:48 AM, Blogger BOBXNC said...

Your are certainly right. Obama cutting middle class taxes and then spending money makes no sense. I guess we learned that when the Republicans cut rich people's taxes and spend 2 tons of money! Give me a break. At least Obama does say he will raise some taxes to pay for his plans.

At 9:07 PM, Blogger Monticello said...


The "rich peoples" tax remark is equally devoid of logic. There aren't enough "rich people" in the country, that if you taxed them at 100%, would pay for either candidates proposed programs. You know full well that's a Democrat party piece of PR BS that makes people think the Dems are looking out for their interests. Show me that math--how the GOP breaks to the rich made it worse, how the Dems making the rich pay their "fair share" fixes it. You can't!!! Its a myth.

At 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama does not have a positive record to discuss. fyi


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