McCain fails to inspire

McCain’s foreign policy juggling act

Early polls call Obama winner of debate

A CBS poll of uncommitted voters found 40 percent saying Obama came out on top in the debate, compared to 25 percent for McCain. Thirty-six percent called it a draw.

McCain was considered the better candidate in terms of running the war in Iraq, but Obama was selected as the best manager of the economy. The poll had a margin for error of 4 percent.

The general political wisdom is that die hard partisans are a given at this point in a presidential campaign. Thus the goal of the debates to make some head way with undecided voters and independents. That being the case Obama won. Because much of the public thinks they know McCain and have come to see that he doesn’t quite live up to the honorable maverick image that he has tried so hard to sell he continues to lose ground. Especially when he insists on acting as though he were both inately superior to Senator Obama and as though he is entitled to the presidency. Being the grumpy arrogant guy has a curiosity factor in in otherwise dull debate, but doesn’t win over many voters. Obama was clear and concise, so McCain’s hope that by repeating “he doesn’t understand” would be the zinger catch phrase of the evening fail flat. Since most viewers could understand both the specific points Senator Obama was trying to make and the deeper policy implications, it was like McCain was telling the audience they were dumb. A not uncommon frustration among some of Obama’s supporters is the frustration that McCain leaves plenty of openings to land a solid jab and Obama insists on being the statesman. While I agree that Obama could at least cut down on the conciliatory bridging the gap bipartisan complements. Maybe, considering the results, Obama deserves credit for having a plan and resisting what must be a deep temptation to lay into McCain’s obvious failings in the debate and his near quarter century of being a Washington player, DEBATE WRAP

Passing up those opportunities might have been a mistake, but it was not an oversight. Obama had plainly made a decision to project the actual knowledge and insight he has on foreign policy (which throughout the campaign has actually seemed to come more naturally to him than domestic and economic policy). The only way to do that is to resist, resist, resist the temptation to take every opportunity for the kill. Obama had a game plan and he executed it. The result is that voters who had not yet appreciated that Obama understood foreign policy, who assumed that McCain was the military/security guy and Obama the domestic, mommy-party candidate, had a chance to recognize that he more than knew what he was talking about — that he had what sounded like a coherent, responsible, and not-weak vision.

The perception of McCain as having a slight advantage on foreign policy is honestly a mystery. Without getting into some tedious links to McCain’s foreign policy related votes at least six huge issues came to mind about McCain’s vision, or rather lack of vision in foreign policy. McCain didn’t know that Spain was an ally and member of NATO, confusing it with a Latin American country. McCain’s subscribes to the Bush Doctrine, voting with Bush 90% of the time – “All I can say is that on the fundamentals and the principles of our Republican Party and most of the specifics of our shared conservative philosophy, President Bush and I are in agreement,”. McCain doesn’t see the links between dependence on foreign oil, national security and world stability – just saying drill, drill, drill like a six year old might go over great with low information voters, but is not an answer to long term problems with energy costs and the environment. Thinks that conflicts initiated by former Soviet state Georgia are reason to go to war with Russia and rhetoric which increases the likely hood of less then measured behavior by those that McCain sends these reckless signals to. Little Johnny promulgated Bush’s falsehoods about Iraq’s WMDs and connections to al Qaeda. Many on the Right think it is perfectly fine to lie the nation into bloody counter productive conflicts and McCain agrees. A search of the news archives supports McCain’s flip flopping on multiple issues including foreign policy. If you’re an old school Conservative pragmatist on foreign policy McCain has made a speech you’ll like. If you’re a neocon that believes in shooting from the hip, damn the consequences then he had made that speech too – he has wavered back and forth between reckless hothead and pragmatist. As he became the Republican nominee he moved to the far Right, but it is a mystery as to what America will get in a McCain presidency. It defies the record and common sense for Obama and Democrats to cede anything to McCain on matters of foreign policy expertise. Judging on substance and not the Conservative public relations hog wash, McCain might be even more of an empty suit then Bush.   Barack Obama and the Return of Grace

That sound you hear is the keyboards in the basements of McCain supporters working feverishly to cast Johnny as SuperMcCainBailout Guy. Not going to work, Ex-Adviser: McCain “Blinked,” Campaign “Governed By Tactics, Not Ideology”

After days of saying that John McCain would not attend Friday’s presidential debate unless an agreement on a bailout package for the markets was “locked-down,” the McCain campaign has gone back on its word.

On Friday, it announced that the Senator would head down to Mississippi even though, as they readily admit, much work remained needed on the bailout agreement.

The whole episode left even conservatives admitting that the McCain campaign looked erratic and a bit foolish with no apparent direction or guiding principle.

It is the tiresome custom that after a presidential debate the VP candidates do the media rounds to help with spin. McCain doesn’t trust Palin to fill that role, Sarah Palin, MIA

Amusing moment on CNN just now. Wolf Blitzer, coming out of a commercial:

“We’ve been getting some emails from views out there wondering why we spent some time interviewing Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential nominee and not Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee. We would have loved to interview–we’d still love to interview Sarah Palin. Unfortunately we asked, we didn’t get that interview…We’re hoping that Sarah Palin will join us at some point down the road.”

Iowa Mississippi River Landscape wallpaper

Paul Newman Dies at 83 – To me Newman transcended just being an actor, a mere screen presence for our entertainment. He was an artist and great humanitarian. In every interview I ever saw with him he was articulate, but modest. He was frequently self effacing, but he and his fans knew he possessed a rare down to earth charm.

He sometimes teamed with his wife and fellow Oscar winner, Joanne Woodward, with whom he had one of Hollywood’s rare long-term marriages. “I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?” Newman told Playboy magazine (NYSE:PLA) when asked if he was tempted to stray. They wed in 1958, around the same time they both appeared in “The Long Hot Summer,” and Newman directed her in several films, including “Rachel, Rachel” and “The Glass Menagerie.”

[  ]…Newman had a soft spot for underdogs in real life, giving tens of millions to charities through his food company and setting up camps for severely ill children. Passionately opposed to the Vietnam War, and in favor of civil rights, he was so famously liberal that he ended up on President Nixon’s “enemies list,” one of the actor’s proudest achievements, he liked to say.