THE GROFF/ELLISON POLITICAL REPORT

Were we watching the same debate?

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on September 27, 2008

We try to keep it as real as we can on the G/E blog (when we have the time to commit), and struggle to find some comfort zone between our true feelings and the mission to maintain balance.  It’s a bit difficult. Yes: we get dinged persistently for seeming a bit partisan; or a bit to one side as opposed to the other.  But, here’s our straight no chaser on the debate last night.

For real: some of these “wise” prognosticators on network television didn’t appear all that wise in the post analysis.  And while we understand that they have a need to keep it even while the partisans pimp their spin, we also understand that media gets bit too caught up or appears a bit too contrived in the effort.  Cats all night talked about a “tie” or conveyed how strong McCain fared in this.  We don’t think these cats were really watching what we saw last night.  Debate 101, we thought, dictates that composure is key, maintain a little cool, show empathy with the audience and succintly pose the argument.  But, apparently, based on the analysis of the day, conventional wisdom on “How to Debate Effectively” is thrown out.

McCain was irritable, cranky and downright grumpy in all his body language. Perhaps this is what his previous effort to postpone the debate was all about: he didn’t really want to be there.  He didn’t really want to face his opponent, the campaign – to him – now becoming awfully more personal and nasty than it should be.  We know about this McCain – the dude with the hot temper; molten wads of anger that flash as bright as his gray hair.

We don’t want to say who “looked more Presidential” or won this debate except to say that Obama consistently talked about or referenced the everyday struggles of average American families – from paying mortgages, paying for gas “that’s killing them” to paying for their kid’s computer.  Which may have went a long way towards further stripping away the elitist label so frequently utilized by Republicans (and nay saying Democrats) who really want to say he’s too “uppity” for his own good. But, he did what he was supposed to do: personalize the economic crisis.  Show that, yeah, I know what’s up – especially as the son of a single mother raising her boy on food stamps.

He empathized where McCain did not; voters, we’re a bit certain, wanted to here if they will have jobs the next year or if they will have a house.  Through the diatribes on Obama not “understand[ing]” to the placating, overdone displays of campaign fake on “honor” and bracelets from grieving mothers and the almost senile grandpa-like tirades on the dangers of talking with cats you don’t like, McCain primarily talked about … himself.  Once, he mentioned “American families.”

Frankly, they didn’t want to get verbally bludgeoned about earmarks and reigning in government spending.  And, this is where the Washington insider, the 30+ years of Capitol Hill showed in John McCain; the Senate-speak about how he’s not “Ms. Congeniality” (a phrase that we’re just about rich on because we get a dime everytime someone says it, including him) and “I’m the guy …” this and “I’m the guy …” that … is the “maverick.”  McCain pretty much spoke in a harshly worded vernacular of quickly crafted McCain-isms and catch phrases about “maverick,” “earmarks,” “cutting spending.”  As though fixing the economy is just a matter of simply striking off some line items in a bill.

Were we watching the same debate?  Because, frankly, idiocy appeared to rear its ugly head on one side of the stage that night.  Who knows: maybe that’s what most Americans still want.

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