I caught this article on Yahoo! concerning Barack Obama’s response to John McCain’s suggesting we postpone the presidential debate to, you know, focus on the economy.
That response? Here:
It’s my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who, in approximately 40 days, will be responsible for dealing with this mess.
My response was a little more abstract. It was:
“McCain wants to postpone the debate? You don’t say…”
Because, since the beginning, I’ve thought the debates would be one of the deciding factors in this election. Much like historians sometimes cite the very first televised presidential debates, back in 1960, between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.
History Now makes some interesting points regarding that historical moment:
The debates made Kennedy look like a winner. His practice of looking at the camera when answering the questions — and not at the journalists who asked them, as Nixon did — made viewers see him as someone who was talking directly to them and who gave them straight answers. Kennedy’s performance showed not only that he was a knowledgeable and credible elected official, but also that he just plain looked better. The often repeated story — which is in fact true — is that polls taken after the first debate showed that most people who listened to it on the radio felt that Nixon had won, while most who watched it on television declared Kennedy the victor. A polished public speaker, Kennedy appeared young, athletic, handsome, and poised. Nixon, wearing a gray suit that blended with the television backdrop, pale and thin after a recent hospitalization for the flu, sporting a five-o-clock shadow, and refusing to wear make-up, appeared tired, pallid, and sweaty. He freshened up his appearance for the next three debates, but years later he remembered the lesson well. When he opened his next presidential bid in 1968, it’s no wonder he declared himself “tanned, rested, and ready.”
Why do I think McCain wants to postpone the debate?
I’ll show you.
Here’s John McCain in high definition:
And even in close-up:
And now here’s Barack Obama in high definition:
And in close-up:
Not to be superficial, or anything. But seriously, if I were John McCain, I’d want to put off standing next to Barack Obama as long as possible, too. Just like choosing a completely unqualified female running mate, it is, again, McCain’s postponement proposal is nothing more than a desperate move by a desperate man who long ago sold out his integrity and everything else he believed in for a nomination.
Even frickin’ Yahoo! calls him on it:
Even as McCain said he was putting the good of the country ahead of politics, his surprise announcement was clearly political. It was an attempt to try to outmaneuver Obama on an issue in which he’s trailing, the economy, as the Democrat gains in polls. He quickly went before TV cameras minutes after speaking with Obama and before the two campaigns had hammered out a joint statement expressing that Congress should act urgently on the bailout.
And while McCain’s campaign said he would “suspend” his campaign, it simply will move to Washington knowing the spotlight will remain on him no matter where he is.
And here’s Chuck Schumer opining not just about how unhelpful it is but, and I quote, that it’s “the last thing we need during these delicate negotiations”:
I think McCain knows that, actually. I just think he also knows that while he’s the last thing the country needs, the debates are the last thing he needs, and that self-interest is taking priority.
September 24, 2008 at 8:59 pm
It’s entirely possible that it has to do with the strategy. I mean, certain questions he’s gonna be asked, like those involving the economy, will need a lot of thought. However, I just feel like that would be more Obama’s problem then McCain as democrats are more likely to raise taxes then Republicans and no matter how necessary they may be or little they may actually affect the American people, some voters will say no to Obama just because of the tax increase. Forgetting of course that we got a tax break just a few years ago of course, is everyone unanimously better off since then.
It’s also possible McCain is waiting on a special make up artist.
September 25, 2008 at 6:29 am
While I get what you’re saying about the Kennedy-Nixon/Obama-McCain thing (Obama’s campaign has really reminded me of those “Camelot” days, I think McCain is more afraid of coming across as unprepared. He knows he can’t avoid the debates altogether–hence, the Nixon-Kennedy comparisons are unavoidable. However, we have seen McCain shifting from being an off-the-cuff, fairly humorous renegade that was at least pleasant enough to listen to–to a stodgy, teleprompter-driven idiot. Sarah Palin blew it with Charlie Gibson, and I don’t think the McCain-Palin campaign can take another embarrassing public display. McCain has admitted in the past that the economy isn’t his strong suit. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that McCain is trying to buy more time to prepare–just like how he had Lieberman coach Palin. I think his worry on this front is actually sound–not valid–but sound. Obama is one helluva an orator. He’d kick his ass no matter what he looked like.
The whole thing reminds me of when I was a TA in college and kids would try to tell me they didn’t have their papers because their computer ate it. Nice try, McCain. I can see why he didn’t do so well in school.
September 25, 2008 at 1:18 pm
Every time I hear McCain speak, I feel like it’s the same thing overandoverandover. And Palin, well… her speaches are even more freaking redundant.
When I hear Obama, it’s like his ideas are fresher, more current… and might even, you know, like actually work.
On the flip side of your analysis, coming from my experiences as a “young person” – maybe his age will help him. I don’t know how many times people have questioned me even before I speak, in the business world. Now, I can attest some of that to being a woman… but I honestly think it’s more because I’m young looking.
I find a lot of people (except for my age bracket)don’t question the older person because the idea in most people’s heads is that they must be more experienced.
Maybe I’m sounding like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, but, do you get what I’m saying?
September 26, 2008 at 7:15 am
I know that you’ve probably seen this by now but wanted to send the link anyway, just in case. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/26798219#26798219 Palin’s link to the witch hunt.
September 30, 2008 at 11:29 am
That is probably the scariest thing I have seen on this campaign so far.
Will, I do agree with the Nixon – McCain association. To be frank, I was disappointed about the first debates. I was expecting a lot more counter-attack from Obama…
I guess we’ll have to wait for the vice-presidential debates for a complete feast…