THURSDAY’S PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

THURSDAY’S PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

I have been wrong about who "won" the presidential debate each time it has occurred. So, with that in mind, here’s my take on Thursday’s debate. First, moderator Bob Schieffer was so significantly better then any previous moderator of these debates Debate that he should be given the job permanently. For the first time searching questions were asked and the candidates better required to answer them. He was the first moderator who seemed to me to be in full control. My hat is off to Mr. Schieffer.

For the first time I liked Obama’s responses to McCain’s time worn false smear attacks. I also thought McCain looked like a fighter who was clinching and head butting as much as possible because his knees were wobbly. One cannot overlook the significance of non verbal communication. If research is right, and it has been authenticated, as much as 90% of our communication is non verbal. It prevails over the words we use. If that’s true, my view is that McCain’s smirking, head shaking and facial plus body expressions communicated someone I would not want to be president. McCain’s entire debate consisted of negative, personal attacks with the already disproved false claims he likes to make. Obama looked and sounded presidential. McCain looked and sounded like someone in an alley fight who bites, kicks and knees below the belt.

My major concern is the abortion issue. On that issue there is little doubt how totally at odds the candidates are on this important issue. While both men claimed they had no "litmus test" for selection of judges and would judge only on qualifications, McCain made it clear that anyone who supported Roe v Wade would not be qualified. Keep in mind that Sarah Palin is even more hard lined. She doesn’t think women or girls should be allowed to have a medically conducted abortion even where it involves rape or incest. My concern is that the Catholic church and the conservative evangelicals believe that this one issue, abortion, should control which candidates to vote for irrespective of their qualifications to save this country from economic disaster. By claiming it is a moral obligation to vote using this single issue to determine how to vote, these groups can influence the outcome of an election. Never mind that this ignoring other significant issues such as capital punishment, war and economic crisis impacting the poor makes no moral or logical sense. Lots of people will "save their soul" by applying this illogical test.

We also need to keep in mind that no matter who came out on top in the debate, that doesn't indicate who will win. Furthermore, polling is often unreliable. In addition, it only takes one dramatic event, mistake or surprise and the entire race can be turned on its head and that includes the last few days of the race.

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