The First Debate
I felt disappointed.
Why? Because I felt that Obama was pulling his punches the very same way that John Kerry pulled his punches back in 2004. Obama was trying not to come across as an attack dog. He was trying to be civil and respectful. McCain, on the other hand, showed no respect at all for his opponent. The moderator, Jim Lehrer from Public Television's News Hour, tried right from the start to get the two candidates to face each other and direct their replies to one another. Obama did that throughout the debate, but he was met by McCain's stubborn refusal to turn and speak to Obama. McCain came across as a snob whose hatred for Obama was so strong that he couldn't even look the man in the eye.
It wasn't that McCain didn't leave the door wide open for Obama to criticize, it's that Obama missed virtually every opportunity he had to point out the open hypocrisy of the McCain campaign - McCain's choice of the earmark queen of the world as his running mate, McCain's inside meddling with the nation of Georgia organized by the lobbyist for Georgia's high level connection to the McCain campaign and leading to the Russian invasion, and McCain's contradictory lobbyist connection to Freddie Mac even when McCain used these issues to attack Obama. In my mind there's simply no excuse for him not pointing out that McCain's positions are hypocritical considering the people he has chosen to be at his side in this campaign.
It seems clear to me that Obama has made a conscious choice not to bring these things up, probably hoping that the Pandora's Box of anti-Obama lies the Republicans are throwing around wouldn't be opened by McCain. Maybe that's good strategy and maybe it isn't. Maybe those outrageous lies need to be exposed for what they are. Maybe Obama can't win this thing if he hides from these lies.
But it was clear to me that Obama was shying away from pointing out McCain's weaknesses last night when he should have been presenting a forceful image of himself as a leader and as a commander. Strike one against Omaba.