Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Live Blogging the Live Bloggers - It's All Over




The Last Debate before this one - the real Last Debate

Welcome to the last edition in the continuing saga of "Live Blogging the Live Bloggers blogging the Debates!" This the very last presidential debate before the 2008 election. Ah, I think back to when I conceived this series while covering the first Republican debate, lo those many months ago, and first asked the question:
"There are plenty of bloggers covering the debate live tonight, but is anyone covering the live bloggers? DWSUWF rushes in where other, more sensible bloggers, fear to tread. "
Could it have only been 18 months ago? It seems like... well it seems only... um... Well, actually I no longer remember any part of my life when we were not in the 2008 presidential election season. It seems like... a lifetime.

No matter. I missed the last debate, but put the latest SNL skit at the top of the page which adequately covers everything anyone needs to know about that particular debate. Including the candidates shocking evasion on the pressing issue of my beloved Chicago Cubs getting swept in the divisional playoffs. Moving on.

As always, we select a variety of bloggers from across the political spectrum, and live blog their live blog efforts. I don't know who we will include, but we will start with some bloggers we have used before, include Daily Kos, and Cynic's Party from the left, VodkaPundit or Ed Morrissey at HotAir from the right, look to either David Weigel at Reason or the Atlantic's Megan McArdle for a libertarian point of view and 2008 Central, Ambivablog, or Donklephant as a centrist blog. We also enjoyed the mix over at The Crossed Pond during our last effort, so will check in there also. Finally, we will continue to review the progress of our poster boy for Sarah Palin Derangement Syndrome [SPDS], Mr. Andrew Sullivan. Sadly, the affliction has continued to progress.

As usual I will likely guess wrong about which blogs to monitor and will be scrambling for substitutes once things get started. I'll forgo the usual pre-game, as I am running late, and will back fill later. Refresh your browsers for latest content once the debate is underway. Because of the derivative nature of this enterprise, I do run quite a bit behind the actual debate. Just setting expectations. Is that not what these debates are all about?

======

PREGAME

2008 Central.net: "These debates are incredibly scripted and controlled, with virtually every detail negotiated and agreed to by the campaigns in advance. I’m not trying to bash the debates, but, let’s at least be honest with ourselves. Like past debates, tonight’s debate is hardly a “debate.”

Reason - David Weigel:"McCain can only win by attacking Bush and Congress, the election might have been lost when he backed the bailout. That was a real-time, 3 a.m. phone call opportunity to prove he'd be bringing bulldozers with him to the White House. He blinked."

Cynics' Party:"Barack Obama is way ahead in the polls and all signs seem to be pointing to his inevitable victory on election day, but a big part of the reason I’m still unsure of an Obama win is that none of the debates so far have been decisive victories. Sound bite happy swing vote America hasn’t had a moment that will help them make up their mind one way or another."

Pitney at The Corner:"What demeanor should McCain display tonight? Angry doesn't work. Solemn doesn't work. ake-smiley doesn't work. Instead, McCain should go back to his roots and unleash his inner smart-aleck. If Obama accuses him of being erratic in a crisis, he should say: "So I'm erotic in a crisis? Who knew?" This approach has a couple of advantages. First, it enables McCain to show the more appealing side of his personality. Second, it throws Obama off his game. His handlers have surely anticipated every possible attack line about Ayers and Wright. And as a good liberal, he's waiting for the chance to say, "Have you left no sense of decency?" But he'd be hard put to defend against ridicule. The One can't handle the jokes."

BarbinMD Daily Kos: "Schieffer seems to have gone out of his way to carry water for McCain this election season, repeating the fantasy that McCain suspended his campaign, repeating the lies about Sarah Palin being against the "bridge to nowhere" and earmarks, and repeating McCain talking points about Barack Obama and troop withdrawals from Iraq, to name just a few."

Andrew Sullivan:
"as I ...begin this last lap, I feel as tired of this as John McCain and Barack Obama look."

Justin Gardner at Donklephant: "Obama will continue to act cool, not respond harshly to any attacks and run out the clock. McCain has to make Obama seem unelectable. He won’t be able to. Only Obama can do that as this point. So Obama needs a BIG bobble tonight on the economy. And I mean HUGE."

The Crossed Pond Liz-3: "...all Obama has to do is not say anything stupid and look presidential."

DWSUWF - Traffic is way down on the usual live-blogging suspects. A lot of excuses - Vodkapundit is sick, Amba has a deadline, Andrew is tired. Campaign exhaustion has really set in. Oh... and there is a baseball game going on. BTW, does anyone really believe that the leaked "talking points" from the Obama campaign this morning was really leaked? I'm telling you David Axelrod makes Karl Rove look like an amateur at this game. It was a pure piece of planned disinformation to put the McCain campaign off their game and get some free publicity and buzz on the blogs. It worked. Axelrod = Barack's brain.
======

FIRST QUESTION - WHO IS JOE THE PLUMBER?

2008 Central.net: "McCain... asks Obama about his recent exchange with “Joe the plumber” and notes that Joe was concerned that Obama’s tax plan would hurt him. Obama responds that Joe was mistaken, and that his plan would cut taxes for a significant portion of Americans. McCain doesn’t understand why Obama wants to raise taxes at all, even if it’s on the richest Americans. He chides Obama for wanting to spread the wealth.Obama mentions Buffet again.”

Reason - David Weigel:"NEW INTERNET RUMOR: McCain will dump Sarah Palin as his running mate, select Joe The Plumber... But where is Joe's birth certificate?
Radley Balko: Note: Turn Google safe search to "on" before doing an image search on "Joe Plumber."

Cynics' Party: "Is Joe The Plumber friends with Joe Six Pack?"

Megan McCardle at The Atlantic: "Having recently suffered a water pipe leak, I am second to none in my appreciation of the many contributions that plumbers make to Our American Way of Life. Nonetheless, I am slightly concerned that we are spending so much time focusing on the effect of our national policy on Plumbing-Americans"

BarbinMD Daily Kos: "It's early, but it looks like Obama is winning the battle of the lines on CNN. McCain: No, I don't want to ask Obama a question. He wants to tell a story about Obama raising Joe's taxes. Nearly a flatline."

Andrew Sullivan: "Tax cuts for plumbers! ...McCain is dreadful on taxes. He can't even go on the attack successfully on solid Republican ground. But I find myself tuning out. Obama is boring. McCain is coming off cranky. 9.10 pm. "

ASC at Donklephant: "I’m looking forward to an interview with “Joe the Plummer.” I think taxing small businesses for earnings over $200k is a bad idea. Is that really Obama’s plan? He’s really dancing around this here."

The Crossed Pond Brad-23: "I really do like this small business distinction that McCain makes with Obama’s tax policies. I’ve said so in every debate. That’s a smart argument. I disagree that that’s the major germane issue, but it is a smart distinction and a good one for people to understand. Obama’s answer that he does give credits and incentives to businesses is pretty much correct, however.... Joe: “I’m more than just a plumber, guys. I’m a human being. Sniff.”"

DWSUWF - I know I am running way behind. Sorry. But I have a good reason. I had to break for some pizza and beer. I'll get there eventually. Really.

======

SAY SOMETHING BAD TO EACH OTHER.

2008 Central.net: "McCain hits Obama on not accepting his offer to participate in town halls, which he considers to be one of the causes of the current tenor of the campaign. He also criticized Obama for changing his position on campaign finance... Obama says that people expect presidential campaigns to be tough. And adds that 100% of McCain’s ads have been negative. He also pointed to some negative 527 group ads that are being run against him. I don’t think Obama needed to bring up the 527s, especially since, this line of argumentation would reflect poorly on him as well given some of the really harsh 527s that are being run against McCain about his age and health.”

Reason - David Weigel:"I think the American people are less interested in our hurt feelings than the issues." True enough. McCain utterly botched that question. Who gives a damn about the missing 9 town hall meetings? Michael Moynihan: Well, he sort of repudiated Lewis...
Radley Balko: MM -- You're right. Coulda' been quite a bit stronger. Jesse Walker: Obama "doesn't mind being attacked," except when his staff threatens TV stations with lawsuits for running ads he doesn't like. "

Cynics' Party: "Obama did lie on financing. Good punch for McCain. Can Obama hit back without sinking to his level?... Yes he can!: “100% of your ads have been negative, not just directly from your campaign but from 527’s and other organizations. I can afford to be hit for the next four weeks, but the American people can’t afford four more years of failed economic policies."

Amba at Ambivablog:"Schieffer brings up the negativity of the campaign, throwing out some of their strongest negative phrases. Would they say that to each other's faces?? McCain does not talk to or look at Obama. He almost tears up recalling John Lewis's association of him and Palin with segregation and church bombings. He asks Obama to repudiate those remarks. He says Obama has spent more money on negative ads than any campaign ever, and broke his promise to stick to public financing."

Megan McCardle at The Atlantic: "I cannot believe that John McCain's extended whining about how mean Obama has been to him in his ads is proving so popular with CNN's uncommitted voters. That said, Obama's defense of Lewis' over-the-top remarks is pretty weak."

BarbinMD Daily Kos: "It's all Obama's fault since he wouldn't do town halls with me. I regret some of the negativity, now let me be negative and complain about John Lewis (sniff, sniff). Now McCain lying, saying he repudiated every false attack against Obama...except from his running mate, his surrogates, the GOP chair in Virginia. Oh, and calling Obama a liar. Ha! Obama says there are more important thing than their hurt feelings...like the American people."Andrew Sullivan: "Schieffer's moral equivalence between the despicable smears of the McCain campaign with the toughness of Obama's. " [DWSUWF - Really Andrew? Really? Wow. they must be injecting the kool-aid intravenously now.]

MM at Donklephant: "Go Bama! He baited McCain in bringing up Ayers, and he slam dunks it. Obama gets to talk about the big issues, his big advisors, and McCain has to keep going back to Acorn and Chicago politics. He looks small, and Obama looks visionary. Slam dunk."

The Crossed Pond James-71: "I don’t mind McCain running an intensely negative campaign nearly as much as I mind him looking straight into the camera and lying to us about it. I haven’t seen people yelling “treason” and “kill him” at Obama rallies, so who’s really pushing negative and divisive politics here?"

DWSUWF - Ok, I am further behind. My brother called and we had a long conversation about where we should move if we need to get out of this country. Interesting, because he is liberal-left, and I am libertarian-right, but we both worried we are going to have to get the hell out of Dodge. The problem with the US becoming completely socialist (which we are), is that we are incompetent socialists. We are just really bad at it - not enough practice. I mean, if I am going to to live in a socialist country, I want to live in one that is at least competent at it. I'm thinking France. All the wine is subsidized and cheap. And it's great wine.

======

SCREW IT. I AM WRAPPING THIS UP.

2008 Central.net: "Obama was on point, McCain was all over the map. This is not a partisan perspective, it’s not based on the policies that they advocated. Rather, it is based on the how effective the candidates argued their opinions. As an aside, this is not the best live blog that I’ve done. The format was not conducive to a live blog.

Reason - David Weigel:"Finally, an answer to that trivia question "what were the crappiest closing statements in American debate history?... How American history would have changed if JOE was a stockbroker.... Little known fact: Bill Ayers' pipe bombs were constructed with leftover pipes from JOE THE PLUMBER."

Cynics' Party: "It’s over. Obama won this one if you were paying attention, but I don’t think this will make much difference with the undecideds. Wives are on stage now. Cindy and Palin both seem to favor updos and military-inspired power suits.Nothing will be different tomorrow morning. Obama has a big lead. I’ve always thought he could win and, if he somehow doesn’t, we’ll have to wonder about dirty tricks. I’m stlll worried though, I really wanted to see him lock it up with one of these debates."

Amba at Ambivablog:"Both in the polls and on the blogs, people seem to be reacting on the basis of seeing good in whoever they've already decided to vote for. Me too, I suppose, although I tried to be even-handed. That's depressing."

Megan McCardle at The Atlantic: "Okay, I wasn't voting for him anyway, but I find McCain's focus on attacking Obama, rather than his own policy, unbelievably grating. His strongest performance of the night has been talking about the benefits of his own health plan, drawing a reasonable distinction between his philosophy and Obama's, and coherently explaining that difference, without resorting to either whining or calumny."

Kos at Daily Kos:
"There was nothing here tonight that would change minds. Given that Obama has already broken 50 percent nationally and in the key battleground states, and that significant percentage of voters have already cast their early votes, McCain needed to radically transform the shape of the race. That means a homerun performance coupled with an Obama collapse. Neither happened. I'll let the snap polls determine who "won" the debate, but no matter what they proclaim, this race is pretty much over."

Andrew Sullivan:
"Closing statements: McCain seemed almost wistful. Obama ended on "sacrifice, service and responsibility." Obama won this for the third time. A small prediction: there will be YouTube mash-ups of McCain's facial reactions on the split screen. And they will have a longer life, for good or ill, than many of the substantive exchanges."

DM at Donklephant:
"The major headline coming out of this debate will be fairly simple — John McCain failed to do anything tonight to change the tone of this debate, he failed to do anything to convince the public that he would be a better steward of the economy, and he failed completely in any effort to raise any doubts about the character or readiness of his opponent."

The Crossed Pond Brad - 217: "You know, it keeps striking me that, in a vacuum, this was a good John McCain. He made the right cases (mostly), he was only negative when context seemingly warranted it, and didn’t seem overly snide even then, he seemed more Presidential than he has even in the primaries. The problem is it wasn’t in a vacuum. His response to the economic crisis still seems so erratic and scattered, that even though in any given moment he sounds good, there’s just absolutely no coherent narrative. His over-reliance on Joe The Plumber masked a real mismatch on his ability to empathize and sound like he “gets it”. And the question on negative campaigning was one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen in a Presidential debate, period. I’m still gob-smacked. Obama continues to just look…well, as James 215 put it, like he’s already President. His task, all along, has been to pass that threshold…reflect for a moment on how well he has accomplished that. He appears more Presidential than Bush in 2004 or Bush in 1992 or either candidate in 2000. Obama has had precisely one goal in all of these debates: to not appear scary and erratic. He’s met that threshold a hundred times over. McCain, on the other hand, has had to pass the threshold that he has something to offer, that he has something else to say besides “four more years.” And he just hasn’t. I think this was McCain’s best debate. And I think, in effect, he lost it worse than any so far."

DWSUWF - Net net. It does not matter what happened in this debate. It does not matter what substance (or the lack thereof) was to be found in the questions and answers. Obama was cool. Obama was silky smooth. McCain made funny faces. Ergo, Obama won. That is it. That is what this election is about. Congratulations America. You get the leadership you deserve.

Sarkozy is looking better all the time.

I may have more thoughts in the morning. Out.

Divided and Balanced.™
Now
that is fair.



4 comments:

Harlan Wallach said...

Tribune endorsing Obama
Backing of Democrat for president a first

By Rick Pearson | Chicago Tribune reporter
October 18, 2008

In a historic break with more than a century and a half of tradition, the Chicago Tribune on Sunday is for the first time endorsing a Democrat, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, for the presidency of the United States.

The Tribune played a key role in developing the Republican Party, aided Abraham Lincoln's rise to the presidency and promoted abolition of slavery. Now it is supporting Obama's bid to become the nation's first African-American president.

"On Nov. 4 we're going to elect a president to lead us through a perilous time and restore in us a common sense of national purpose," the Tribune editorial said. "The strongest candidate to do that is Sen. Barack Obama."

The editorial said the Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, "failed in his most important executive decision" by naming Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

mw (DWSUWF) said...

@HDW
As you know, a homer paper in financial trouble. Pretty easy for even the Trib to see which way the wind is blowing in Illinois. They need to keep selling papers until they unload the Cubs.

Harlan Wallach said...

The following papers that endorsed Bush in 2004 have endorsed Obama in 2008:

The Houston Chronicle

The Salt Lake Tribune

The Kansas City Star

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Denver Post

Lexington Herald-Leader

From the Salt Lake Tribune's endorsing editorial:

"out of nowhere, and without proper vetting, the impetuous McCain picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. She quickly proved grievously underequipped to step into the presidency should McCain, at 72 and with a history of health problems, die in office. More than any single factor, McCain's bad judgment in choosing the inarticulate, insular and ethically challenged Palin disqualifies him for the presidency.

"Still, we have compelling reasons for endorsing Obama on his merits alone. Under the most intense scrutiny and attacks from both parties, Obama has shown the temperament, judgment, intellect and political acumen that are essential in a president that would lead the United States out of the crises created by President Bush, a complicit Congress and our own apathy."

mw (DWSUWF) said...

Yes you and all the newspapers in the land are right. Barack Obama is our new President. I am not sure why we are wasting the time and energy of holding an election. We should proceed directly to the coronation.

As I said in my last post, I understand that "it is all over and Barack Obama is indeed our new Dear Leader, and songs of praise are being sung across the land. I guess that is appropriate, since his acceptance speech was a litany of old liberal big government bromides. Who better to finish the job that GWB started and march us into the new millennium of a glorious American workers paradise? It looks like Barack Obama will indeed succeed in uniting the left with the far left and maybe even bring in the moderate left, leaving only fiscal conservatives,libertarians and limited government advocates without a voice or any practical representation in Washington. But that is ok, since we will certainly get new taxes without that representation. Kind of nostalgic.

I am not the least bit concerned that a man who has 97% toe-the-line partisan voting record and is recognized as the most liberal Senator in Washington will soon be governing with a rubber stamp Congress in concert with expanded Dem majorities and a filibuster-proof Senate under Pelosi, Reid and Clinton. Handing this kind of monarchical One Party Rule to a President has always worked out very well for us in the past - see LBJ's great society, or FDR;s new deal (complete with seizing coal mines, burning crops, and internment camps). Not to mention the recent example of GWB's One Party Rule. Yes - making sure that only one side of the political spectrum has any share in power has always worked out well for us.

I for one, welcome our new Democratic Party Overlords.