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 MAYORGA 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.


  1. Paul,

    I completely agree with you on your assessment of the presidential mini speeches last week in what was supposed to be a debate.

    John McCain showed that he is a burned out politician that doesn’t deal well with anyone who opposes his opinion or criticizes associations he has made in the past… namely; George W. Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, and the shadow Man, Dick Cheney. Barak Obama showed that he doesn’t quite understand how weak he comes across when he continually agrees with his counterpart during a debate, using only a slight spin his way. You need to be much more aggressive in a debate like this and the senator from Illinois just wasn’t. In fact, I’d go further and say that he strengthened positions laid out by McCain even though McCain himself did a poor job of selling his ideas… actually, as I remember… he didn’t have any ideas.I guess it was more of an unspoken kind of thing… you know, nonexistent.

    I thought Jim Leher was a patsy for both the candidates not requiring any sort of structure to the debate allowing both candidates to go off on speeches that were for the most part unintelligible and lack any sort of punch that would turn a swing voter one way the other. During the Bush/Kerry debates, I thought he did a pretty good job keeping control of the debate and requiring more of each candidate. That didn’t happen in last week’s debate. This debate wasn’t even close to becoming a tool to help a voter determine which candidate has more to offer the country as a leader. I thought Barak Obama got pushed around and even though he was pushed around, McCain failed to really take advantage of the fact that Obama was content to allow him to talk right over his words… over and over. I was disappointed in both Obama and McCain and to be perfectly honest, I was disappointed in Jim Leher. He should have required more of both candidates on behalf of anyone who wanted to watch the debate in hopes of coming away with something to help in this horrible decision. I love America, but I’m not really thrilled with the way the system is being implemented. The behavior and character of some of the countries most recognizable politicians and other storied leaders has forced voters to turn to leaders with a cleaner slate, but it might not be the best or effective people to fill the job. It’s a conundrum. I’ve heard a lot of discussion over the character and moral qualities of possible candidates and one thing seems clear to me; Some of the best, smartest effective leaders with a resume that George W. Bush would love to have are not viable options because of various different undesirable, esoteric characteristics to American voters. Maybe a divorce, an infidelity in marriage, or maybe a slip of the tongue in a high profile moment. Then there are those that wouldn’t vote for a leaders that didn’t share their religious affiliation. There are some good leaders and qualified possible candidates for the presidency, unfortunately those same people wouldn’t qualify for the position because of some of these reasons. Presidential candidates have to live perfect private lives AND have to possess the qualifications to be an effective leader with the characteristics necessary to hold the highest political office in America. That’s a tall order and the American people have spoken clearly: religion, morals and ethics are far more important than the clearcut, tangible qualifications of a president like; foreign-policy experience, and understanding of money and how to disperse federal funding, civil rights issues, an understanding of the environment, sensitivity to unemployment issues and how it affects the country when jobs are outsourced to other countries and many more. Heck, for the last eight years this country doesn’t even care if the man largely responsible for pushing the button can’t even pronounce the word NUCLEAR. I’m all for moral and ethical thinking for the leader of our country, but for heaven’s sake… there are other issues that are important also and they need to be considered before we throw out the baby with the bathwater. With a country that has many different groups of people who have different ideas of what is morally right, We need to stop expecting our president to be morally perfect.

    In closing:
    The only thing I got out of the first presidential debate between John McCain and Barak Obama is this; We are again faced with two candidates that aren’t the best America has to offer. We need to encourage the brightest, most cutting-edge thinkers to run for the highest office, perhaps in the world… and then elect them to leave the country.

    Paul, don’t feel obligated to post my comments. A lot of Christians would probably want to have me beheaded after some of my comments. My point is just that we put our political candidates through a blender of scrutiny and as soon as we find one thing that might be a bit unsavory about them, we send it to the media and they mangle it as much as they can legally making it as provocative as possible as to sell magazines and newspapers and television shows. It’s sickening to me and it’s ruining our country. By the way, I am a Christian. I just want more from our leaders. Thanks for continuing to write about important subjects. Hope you’re doing well. Brad Hobbs

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