What do Barrack Obama and Ricardo "El Matador" Mayorga have in common? Mayorga is a boxer whose bravado in the ring used to involve allowing his opponent to take a free punch at his head – that’s what they have in common. I watched the so called debate while Obama invited McCain to take a free swing at Obama's chin and then drop his gloves instead of hitting back. My clear impression is that Obama is not an effective debater. He is too willing to stick his chin out for free punches and too reluctant to hit back.
I’m not sure why they had anyone there to moderate given Jim Lehrer’s totally passive and ghost like involvement. The candidates weren’t asked tough questions. In fact, they weren’t asked any real questions. Lehrer just gave them invitations to make speeches. On top of a moderator who wasn't involved, the audience wasn’t allowed to participate in any way either. Clapping or making sounds were prohibited and the audience was blacked out by the lighting. Just Lehrer throwing out soft balls to keep the speeches going. The candidates didn’t address each other, they just kept talking. The result wasn't a confrontational exchange nor a challenge to respond to tough questions. It was a series of short, but boring, speeches.
Obama let McCain get away with the excuse he had been "out of town" during the Bush disastrous policies for over seven years that got us into this total crisis. Obama was reluctant to clearly point out that while McCain may have been a "maverick" when he first got to the Senate, once he decided he wanted to be president he became Bush’s brief case carrier. McCain and his buddy Joe Lieberman were Bush’s biggest fellow travelers. Now that the Bush policies have turned out to be speeding the wrong way down a freeway, McCain appropriates Obama’s message of "change" and claims he had nothing to do with the policies. So did Obama call him on this hypocrisy and false excuse making? Did Obama point out that McCain's economic and Iraq positions are the reason we are in debt and our financial instutions are failing? Did he charge McCain with having been Bush's buddy but when the train went off the tracks he claimed he never met the man? Certainly not. Instead Obama continually gave the impression he admired McCain, acknowledged his greater experience and simply refused to challenge him in a clear, forceful manner. This was like watching a high school student debating his admired coach. It was not a pretty sight.
The media seems to think it was a close contest, but If I knew nothing about McCain’s voting record, past political misadventures and demonstrated lack of character I would give the vote to McCainafter watching this fiasco. If it isn’t too late (first impressions are lasting impressions) Obama had better toughen up and take McCain on forcefully with the truth. He certainly has the facts on his side so Obama had better use them.