McCain vs Obama

So I watched the last half of the debate..because you have to be an insomniac in the UK to be up-to-the-minute with US politics. Of course by the time I’ve gotten around to posting this, it’s really old hat. Ah well. Some noteworthy things were said.

Most surprising was the number of commentators who thought that McCain did really well. I thought he was both patronizing and nervous, and was much too emotive for proper debate. Then I remember that I’ve lived in the UK for four years and have forgotten that that sort of BS works back home.

Some extra-bollocksy ideas from McCain:

“What I have proposed for a long time, and I’ve had conversation with foreign leaders about forming a league of democracies, let’s be clear and let’s have some straight talk.” Super Democracy League! Basically the UN, but without the annoyance of having to have anyone agree with us. This is unsurprising really, as he comes from the party that founded the Ramrod School of Evangelistic Democracy.

“..the fragile sacrifice that we’ve made of American blood and treasure, which grieves us all.” Let’s be honest–it’s been chinese treasure that we’ve spent. (Obama: “They now hold a trillion dollars’ worth of our debt.”)

“I looked into Mr. Putin’s eyes, and I saw three letters, a “K,” a “G,” and a “B.” And their aggression in Georgia is not acceptable behavior.” Whether or not his assessment of the Georgia situation is correct, is that sort of talk really helpful? Does Putin publicly say, “I look into Senator McCain’s eyes and I see 4 letters–PTSD!”?

“My reading of the threat from Iran is that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it is an existential threat..” Hmm, existential..is it not then the French who are really behind our nuclear crises? I mean we already know that they’re the unspoken point on le axis of evil, wantonly disagreeing with us as they are apt to do..

Some less bollocksy points from Obama:

“And the problem, John, with the strategy that’s been pursued was that, for 10 years, we coddled Musharraf, we alienated the Pakistani population, because we were anti-democratic. We had a 20th-century mindset that basically said, “Well, you know, he may be a dictator, but he’s our dictator.”” Hahaha..Thank you!

“He would not meet potentially with the prime minister of Spain.” Enough said, really.

“You’re absolutely right that presidents have to be prudent in what they say. But, you know, coming from you, who, you know, in the past has threatened extinction for North Korea and, you know, sung songs about bombing Iran, I don’t know, you know, how credible that is.” He shares my bad habit of profusely scattering ‘you know’s throughout sarcastic commentary, but the point stands. Bomb-bomb-bomb..bomb-bomb-Iran..

“I — I don’t think that Senator Obama understands..” followed by only vaguely related name and event dropping. It’s funny for him to imply that Obama lacks experience. Twenty-some-odd years of making dodgy decisions in government don’t uniquely qualify a person to make good decisions as president. One might be forgiven for assuming the opposite. I also have to say that it disappoints me a great deal that Obama is accused of coming across of professorial. You mean coming across as studied and composed, and, dare I say, intellectual is considered a flaw in the US? God help us..

Following on from that was the bit about the bracelet. He’s got a special one from a mom wanting one thing. Obama has one from another mom wanting another. McCain touts himself as being the champion of the veterens–condescendingly, if you ask me, like they are so many orphaned puppies–while Obama is the one to have said that no soldier ever dies in vain, period.

McCain: “And I love them. And I’ll take care of them. And they know that I’ll take care of them. And that’s going to be my job.” Look, this is going to sound really bad, but whenever McCain talks about veterans that Charlie Daniels ‘Still in Saigon’ song plays in my head. Nobody doubts his connection, but I think that sort of emotionalism makes a person fairly myopic in a job that requires a level of detachment. The republican party is not known for investment in social issues, even veteran-related ones. Maybe this is where the ‘Maverick’ bit is supposed to kick in? Sheesh..

Obama: “And one last point I want to make. It is important for us to understand that the way we are perceived in the world is going to make a difference, in terms of our capacity to get cooperation and root out terrorism. And one of the things that I intend to do as president is to restore America’s standing in the world…we, I think, are going to have a lot of work to do in the next administration to restore that sense that America is that shining beacon on a hill.” Wouldn’t that be something? I mean, I’m not going to hold my breath, but it is nice to hear someone talk as though we are citizens of the world and not simply out to play King of the Mountain on a grand scale.

I could go back and read the first part of the debate, which apparently focused on the economy, but I don’t have the energy. I will, however, share my new life goal–to get a presidential candidate to wear my toe ring.

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