During the past two weeks, Obama made a wish, he said McCain should “say it to his face”.
The format of this third debate gave Obama his wish, and it was clearly a case where Obama will remember the adage, “Be careful what you wish for”, because he got exactly that. This format allowed more of the type of interaction between the candidates we favor. McCain was able to attack Obama face to face. And instead of Obama’s usual calm smile, he wore a nervous smirk through much of the debate.
McCain was able to unnerve Obama by attacking him on the issues. He hit Obama on the spending that he constantly promises without defining clearly how to pay for it. He confronted Obama about his associations with ACORN and Ayers, the terrorist in Obama’s past. And he clearly had Obama retreating on issues about his tax increases, CAFTA and energy independence. He even got Obama to say he was considering off shore drilling.
Obama was not the calm, “promise the world” candidate he had been prior to this debate. He could not attack the issues the same way, which had been to just promise more than his opponent. In this debate, on each promise he made, McCain called him on the issues. One clear example is the promise to only tax those that make more than $250,000 while promising health care for everyone even with pre-existing conditions. Something we know does not work from real life experience in Massachusetts.
McCain nailed Obama on a quote he made about “spreading the wealth around”. Obama tried to defend it, but came across as an errant Robin Hood. He once again threw out his intentionally misleading statistic that 98% (It was 98% this week, it was 95% last) of all businesses make less than $250,000. That statistic includes self-employed individuals, so it is a complete lie.
Most businesses that have more than two employees would be in the category that sees their taxes increase under Obama’s plan. And McCain was able to call Obama on this, using a plumber wishing to purchase a small business as an example of a man that would lose in Obama’s plan. Obama tried to say that the business would not be taxed because he only would tax the “rich”. And McCain’s response was to congratulate the plumber on being “rich”. It was a subtle and superb comeback and it cut Obama to the quick. Obama’s qualification of “rich” includes many that no one would consider “rich”
Liberals will try to find the bright moments for Obama to attempt to declare him the winner, but in this debate, there weren’t many. His promises didn’t add up and McCain was nailing him on it. Obama did have one bright spot on health care, but it was once again using his usual tactic of promising the world to everyone. McCain was quick to point out that tax increases on small businesses while forcing them to add health care benefits they cannot afford isn’t going to add up on a calculator.
Both candidates have cuts they promise, but Obama’s plans just have no compromise. They are all based on welfare programs and investing in our future. It is a great concept to invest in your future, but you “invest” when you have the money to invest. “Invest”ing money you do not have is gambling, on margin. The US here needs to stabilize its costs before it can “invest”. And there is not a fast solution in government that will reduce those costs that adds the types of expensive programs Obama endorses. It was plain in this debate, McCain was not going to roll over, and just let Obama go unanswered and unquestioned.
This time “That One” had to stand up and answer some hard questions, and he was nowhere near as effective or believable in the process.
Obama and McCain were very close in the first debate. Obama clearly won the second. McCain clearly won the finale. It is our opinion, however, from what we have seen discussing the issues with people, the debates do not shape the election much. The candidates can confirm your opinion, but sway few. If Obama had won this debate, it may have swung more neutral voters his way, but he did not. So, we don’t believe he gains anything.
We believe McCain will gain 2 points or so in the polls, but it won’t be enough to swing the final vote Republican. This debate did, however, finally show the kink in the Obama armor. When hit point blank with the questions about how he will pay for his programs without hurting small business, he crumbled. That proves he is not the guardian of the middle class he claims to be. He is the defender of the public programs like welfare that have proven so very costly for America in the past.
We will be back to cover the issues in more detail after we get a chance to fully review the transcript of the debate.