The WALTHER REPORT
By Tony Walther
For all intents and purposes it’s the last chance for Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama to make their respective cases to the electorate as a whole, and it’s less than three hours from now as I write this.
I sure hope tonight’s debate will be more exciting than the last two presidential ones and even the vice presidential one. I’m watching primarily for the entertainment. Wild horses could not make me vote for John McCain and especially not the extremely shrill and extremely under qualified Sarah Palin. Will I vote for Barack Obama? Probably. I already have my absentee ballot, but have not marked it yet. Voting third party is useless, but then again, voting in California is somewhat useless too, since it is a foregone conclusion who will get the winner-take-all electoral votes (but if everyone thought that way…).
But I’ll tune in at 6 p.m. Pacific time and plan to blog as soon as it is over. Don’t think I’ll take notes this time. It gets in the way of really seeing the thing. I even missed Sarah’s wink, on the live shot, a few weeks ago.
Seriously, no matter what I think of the two candidates, I would hope they put some oomph into this thing, layout their agenda and make someone want to vote for them and feel good about it. I think the format always gets in the way, but too late to do anything about that.
If McCain is itching to say something about Obama’s William Ayers connection, for goodness sakes do it. Look right at Obama and say it to his face. In fact, I think McCain owes it to everyone to do so since he and his campaign have made so much of it through ads and political stump speeches.
And Obama should answer the charge straight on, truthfully without nuance or equivocation, and be done with it and move on to what people really want to hear.
As for the “tax and spend charge” Republicans always level at the Democrats , I wished Obama would just say in essence, all administrations, Republican or Democrat, in fact, all governments, tax and spend, it’s just how they tax and how much they spend and on what and whom.
And Mr. McCain, if you can actually cut government spending, please tell us how. Your hero Ronald Reagan didn’t do it, although in the popular neo-conservative lore he is depicted as doing so.
Even though I won’t vote for McCain I could see him winning the debate if he concentrated on his own programs (if he has any) and stressed his experience in government and his handle on military matters (although being a pilot and getting shot down over enemy territory and being a POW and surviving torture may show bravery, it does not make him Napoleon Bonaparte).
Also, “winning” a presidential debate is subjective and does not historically always equate with winning the election. However, McCain has spent too much time preaching to his choir. He needs to convince undecideds. If he could grab enough of them, that combined with the possible Bradley effect (Whites who won’t vote for a Black, but will not divulge such to pollsters) and a no-show by newly registered, but not dedicated, voters, might give McCain a shot (election hankly panky could be a factor too, but that could go either way).
…….The other day I thought that maybe since Wall Street had successfully extorted some $1 trillion or so out of the American taxpayers it was satisfied, hence the big jump in the stock market on Monday, after the big loss on the previous Friday. Maybe in the cold light of reality traders saw that there are government strings attached to the “rescue” package – the Wall Street Journal reports today that bankers were basically given a take it or leave it option, no negotiation – and that new earnings reports show we are in or are going into a deep recession, turning optimism into doom (also these wide swings, I suppose, just mean the speculators are at their game). One cold reality is that the stock market is a gamblers game. Unfortunately some years ago it was decided that we all should play that game with our retirement funds.
Please read my post-debate blog coming out soon on a computer screen near you.