20 thoughts on “McCain Is Losing The Debate”

  1. It is hard to run against someone with a first class intellect and a first class temperament, the attributes Krauthammer attached to Obama.

    If Obama wins, and if it is any consolation to you Rand, most of his students at the University of Chicago thought he was anything but a standard liberal; they thought of him as leaning conservative. He might still surprise you or me for that matter.

    Anyway, yes, Obama won the debate in a wipe-out. McCain is showing his age. It will happen to all of us no doubt. I just wish he had chosen Romney as VP. Palin terrifies me with her ignorance. Watching McCain babble a bit today it felt like her gibberish was rubbing off on him.

  2. Um did we watch the same debate?

    A solid win for McCain in tonight’s debate.

    Obama repeatedly stumbled, talked about safe storage of nuclear “energy” when he meant nuclear waste. McCain came out and called for reprocessing of nuclear material, (banned by executive order by Carter), and clearly showed that he was better on energy policy.

    McCain also directly answered more questions (if that maters), especially the penultimate question on if he would assist Israel if they where attacked by Iran before we got UN “sanction”. Obama never answered that one at all.

    Points to Obama for looking calm and collected. Negative points for coming off as too cerebral. Carter was brilliant, and cerebral, and possibly the worst president of all time.

    Negative points to McCain for thinking that anthropogenic global warming is real. However, since Obama also thinks it’s real, it’s a wash.

  3. Mark Steyn at NRO Corner:

    Signing off [Mark Steyn]

    This reader out-Andies Andy:

    Well I have gone outside and pulled up my Mcain/Palin sign. This election is over. I will vote for Mcain but I know that come Nov. 5 Obama will be our president-elect.

    I feel sorry for Sarah Palin. A once promising career will be permanently connected to the landside loss of John McCain.

    I weep for my children and their families.

    Steady on. This next month is going to be a long month. Lots of things will happen. But McCain has to make some of them happen. His charge that Obama doesn’t know the difference between “strategy” and “tactics” could equally well be leveled at his own campaign.

  4. John Cole at Balloon Juice:

    “Finally, I guess when it boils down to is that, McCain, for all his tough guy talk, is just a tired old wimp. Given ninety minutes to go after Obama like he and his partner and his surrogates have the past few days, and he said nothing. Given all that time to question Obama’s patriotism, to question his background, to suggest he does not support the troops, and McCain refused to do it. Why didn’t he look him in the eyes and call him Sen. Hussein like his surrogates are doing?”

    * * *

    “John McCain was not man enough to say to Barack Obama’s face and to the rest of the nation all the things Sarah Palin spouts off 3-5 times a day. End of story.”

  5. Hmmmmm.

    McCain needed to take the gloves off and put on the brass knuckles.

    Instead he put the gloves on and got behind the counter to serve up sundaes, soda and craptacular $300+ billion dollar programs to save idiots who got mortgages they couldn’t afford.

    Now that’s who I want for President. The soda jerk.

  6. Hmmmmm.

    As can be imagined. I’m not happy with McCain.

    Someone tell the GOP that open primaries, particularly in NH, is a -bad- idea.

    Oh who am I kidding. Republicans suck at fighting back so what’s the point.

  7. A solid win for McCain in tonight’s debate.

    That’s right. Maybe he came across as a little old and shaky, but his fundamentals were strong.

    And Obama was lost without his teleprompter.

  8. And Obama was lost without his teleprompter.


    And the polls… oh…


    Don’t mind me, just passing through.

  9. Rand, The media is making a big deal out of how McCain called Obama “that one”, but it was McCain’s almost throw away comment a few seconds before that moment that stood out for me, and made me think of you.

    The candidates were asked whether the US should have a Manhattan Project style alternative energy program or a garage-based Silicon Valley startup private approach. This was McCain’s big opportunity to explain how prizes can spur innovation. Instead McCain said favored a large scale government program.

    I was thinking “I hope Rand wasn’t eating, because comments like that are going to ruin his dinner.”

  10. I don’t see what’s to be sad about. The time to be sad was when George Bush took office 8 years ago and the Ronald Reagan small government wing of the Republican party became irrelevant. Yes, Bush rolled back some tax increases and didn’t renew the gun ban. Other than that he’s been Democrat-lite.

    We all knew McCain was the rightmost viable Democrat, and was a stupid man to boot. Fine by me. Now the people who value liberty must reclaim what remains of the Republican party, because the last thing we need now is “me too” Republicanism in the face of a democratic socialist in office.

  11. I dunno, Rand. Personally, I’m inclined to agree with you, but neither of our opinion counts, because we both would rather see the Presidency occupied by an Asimo robot than by a goofball community-organizin’ quicksilver Chicago machine Democrat. The most annoying thing about Obama to someone who’s thought deeply about things is, as someone at The Corner mentioned I think, his astounding chameleon ability to come across as a moderate centrist. Listening to him tonight, you’d think he was mere inches to the left of McCain, and hardly different at all from the George Bush of 2000.

    Imagine, an ACORN solar power ex-no-nukes freak saying he favors coal and nuclear power! Echoing Reagan in calling Russia “evil.” He must have felt like vomiting as he said the words, but you’d never know it from his expression.

    What you and I wanted to see is that smooth bullshitter’s facade punctured by some clever jab, like Thompson’s wonderful quote about business taxes in his convention speech. But…first, it takes unparalleled rhetorical brilliance to pull that off. You need to see the opportunity, formulate the deadly response, check it over to make sure it can’t be spun against you by the MSM, which has all the time and resources in the world to do so, and deliver it — in about 0.2 seconds. We can all imagine how it could be done with the leisure of hindsight, but very few people except by luck can do it at the time. (And do we even want a President who is that mesmerizing and compelling in his speech? Selecting personally charismatic and compellingly persuasive leaders has rarely worked out well, for any nation, at any point in history.)

    More importantly, as I said at the beginning, what we want doesn’t count, because our vote is already decided. Similarly, Gerson’s and Harris’ opinion is equally unimportant, because their vote is already decided, too.

    The people whose opinion counts — who can say who won, if either — are those who really are on the fence, who want to kick Bush in the nuts, who like Omama’s sensitive-guy rhetoric and kindly sympathy, but who are also suspicious of the smooth talker, wondering if he’s just a bullshitter, and wondering if the new guy is going to get in over his funny-looking ears and flounder around like an idiot.

    Anyone who despises warmed-over Marxist-lite 1970s mush has already decided to vote against The O, so they don’t count. And anybody who isn’t bugged by his successful life insurance salesmen moonlighting as a gay club glory-hole artist style also doesn’t count, because they’re already going to vote for him.

    Who does that leave? Based on those I know who seem wishy-washy, I’d say it tends to leave older women, some married but plenty divorced, with older children, and who work wage jobs. They certainly agree the free market needs regulating, so going all Larry Kudlow economics wonk and condemning the stifling of entrepreneurship leaves them cold. They don’t know any entrepreneurs, or if they do, they seem a bit bullshitty themselves (as often they are). But they don’t really want to see more deductions from the paycheck, and the Hayek argument that government is incompetent at managing the economy broadly will resonate. They’ve seen government programs to “help” come and go — and things stay the same. They mostly want government to pick off the really egregious rapacious operators, force business to “be fair” to employees, but otherwise stay away. And, finally, they’ve had enough bad life experience with smooth bullshitters, especially good-looking young men, that Obama’s ready flow of words does not sit well with them.

    I think both campaigns know this, and have adjusted their style accordingly. McCain keeps emphasizing his “bipartisanship,” because Ms. Librarian doesn’t like all that personal stab and thrust, and thinks why can’t they all just get along and get the job done? Besides, she’s almost certainly voted Democrat most of her life, and is not going to take kindly to broad smears against the donks. Obama has toned down his Messianic vision, turned down the smile and the lofty we can heal the planet! cotton-candy stuff he uses to woo the Gerson’s and Harris’s of the world — because he knows Ms. Librarian doesn’t like the grandiosity of good talkers very much. Too many have forgotten they said they’d call the next day, or forgot to pick up the kids after school, or were willing to turn the charm on to any old trollop when they felt a little less love than their egos needed.

    I think McCain scored with her by not being an attack dog that would have Republicans yelling yes! at the TV screen, and by the fact that, over and over again, in the context of answering, he referred to things he’d actually done, bills he’d introduced, passed, important world events in which he’d actually participated. The contrast with the University of Chicago professor, the pure idea man, is subtle but important. Men are attracted to big grand theoretical ideas — women, less so. But McCain doesn’t need to win men, he needs to win women.

    But on the other hand, Obama scored with her by sounding centrist, moderate, reasonable, less the Messiah than just the kind-hearted manager who let her do flex time in June so she could get her daughter back and forth to band camp.

  12. Yes, Bush rolled back some tax increases and didn’t renew the gun ban. Other than that he’s been Democrat-lite.

    Don’t fret, K. In two years time the Mike Gersons and Jim Harrises will be making the same angry complaint about Obama, that’s he’s done this or that minor cosmetic fluff, but other than that has been Republican-lite. (Either that or the Democrats are about to get annihilated in midterm elections and Obama is on his way to a one-term Jimmy Carter presidency, but I think he’s smarter and more ambitious than that, and has no actual principles to prevent him from betraying various deluded minions on whose vote he can count anyway.)

    It’s the times, man. We’re in some ways the victim of our success. The generic opinion of the Republic has converged on a somewhat vague but consistent ideology of government, which has been followed pretty closely by everyone from Bush Sr. to Bush Jr., and the apparatus of public opinion measurement has gotten so good you can’t get elected without hewing to it pretty closely. We’re left arguing about this tax cut or that, four brigades to Afghanistan or six, college loans or college grants, and other such minor tweaks.

    Yes, I know Obots expect, and sensible people fear, that once elected the mask will drop, and the true Revolution get started — but that ain’t going to happen, because he wants to be re-elected, and so do his Congressional allies. Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic old guard hate offshore drilling, but they let the ban lapse. The Clinton’s really did want to implement Hillarycare, but they let it die. George Bush really did want to reform Social Security, but he didn’t stake his Presidency on it. They all want to keep their jobs.

  13. It’s the times, man. We’re in some ways the victim of our success.

    Wow. Trust Carl to figure that out.

  14. We both would rather see the Presidency occupied by an Asimo robot than by a goofball

    You guys would rather see the Presidency occupied by an Asimo robot than by Ronald Reagan, if Reagan ran as the Democrat.

  15. Jim,

    Again you reveal yourself with an idiot statement.

    Suppose we had the current congress. Reagan running for President, with all his ideas, but a D following his name.

    He’d be a conservative by definition. He’d be for defense and free enterprise and reduced government.

    Elected, he would go straight to the people and get the congress to fly right.

    I still remember the Johnny Carson joke right after Reagan was elected. Reagan went to congress to twist some arms for something he wanted and he got it. Johnny’s joke was that Carter said right after that, “You can do that?”

    But then Jim, you don’t get it.

  16. He’d be a conservative by definition. He’d be for defense and free enterprise and reduced government.

    If Reagan ran as the Democrat, no he wouldn’t be. He’d be a big-government liberal fascist merely pretending to be for those things. And the Asimo robot would be programmed with devastating lines about Reagan’s past associations with radicals.

  17. He’d be for defense and free enterprise and reduced government.

    You gotta be kidding Ken.

    If anyone were to promote free enterprise and reduced government after a $700 billion dollar bailout of Wall Street using the governments largesse, they would sound er., rather schizophrenic, you think?

  18. Wow. Trust Carl to figure that out.

    Trust Mike to not get the difference between economic success and political success. We have the government we want. We have been increasingly successful at imposing the will of the majority, even the fleeting will that shifts near daily, on our government.

    Unfortunately, it turns out the government we want (or rather the majority wants) is not always the government that delivers the best performance. That’s one of the flaws of direct democracy that, amusingly enough, the Founders knew well — which is why they went to some effort to blunt the power of the majority.

    You guys would rather see the Presidency occupied by an Asimo robot than by Ronald Reagan, if Reagan ran as the Democrat.

    In 2008? Absolutely correct, Jim, as far as I’m concerned. As I’ve said elsewhere, the problem is not so much Obama himself, but the fact that he’d take office with a solid Democratic majority in the House, and possibly a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

    That gives entirely too much power to a political party which (1) has lost the habit of moderation and cooperation in governance, (2) is choked with angry young narcissist proto-fascists who want to stick it to one group or another of Illuminati whom they think are holding back Progress, (3) has lost its economic power base among small businessmen and union line workers, and instead draws its support from an increasingly narrow elite (billionaires, movie stars, professors, stock traders, IT consultants), which means it is completely out of touch with what works in the real world.

    There are very few things the government can do well and successfully, since it imposes things by force on a hugely complex machine (the national economy), for the same reason that if you stick a screwdriver into a running truck engine and push on a random something, chances are good you’ll not make the engine run better.

    Therefore, the first and most important dictum for government is — or ought to be — the same as for physicians treating a sick patient: first, do no harm. That means if you don’t really know what you’re doing, stop, shut up, sit down, and don’t make things worse.

    Unfortunately, with Congress and the Presidency in the hands of bright-eyed inexperience, eager to try stuff to bring utopia closer, we are going to be roughly speaking patients complaining of lower back pain whom the eager young quack is going to give all kinds of interesting herbs and roots. What are the chances we’ll end up sicker? Pretty good.

    It’s not Obama’s (or Nancy Pelosi’s) intentions that I think are the problem, it’s their competence. Or rather, their lack of understanding of the limits to their competence. Fortunately, as I’ve also said elsewhere, I think barring Depression 2.0 the inherent conservatism of the electorate — no one really wants their health care nationalized, they just want to vent about it, and no one really wants to be forced to buy a plugin hybrid and rewire the house, they just want to vent about the cost of gas — will prevent much real damage.

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