Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lingering thoughts on Obama and that "debate"

Enough has surely been said about Wednesday's debate, and the minimalist comment here was expected to be the only contribution to the fray. There are lingering doubts, however, about Obama's performance. It is without question difficult to have a meaningful discussion with nitwits who with every question seem to want to win, meaning to claim some sort of child-like sound bite victory. The grins of authority that these questioners have with every parry are irritating and almost unintelligible to an earnest victim. Obama got the worst of it but consistently made an effort to rise above it. On some substantive issues, however, he was unprepared, clueless, or disingenuous, it's not clear which. That was surprising. Maybe he was too rattled by the path the "moderators" took to have his act together but he was really unimpressive as in:
---Questioned on the higher capital gains tax rate that he would favor, it was if he had no good reason, no economic justification, for his position. He stuttered, seemed confused, and finally just said that his proposal was fair. That's not close to being a good answer.
---When pressed by Clinton on his proposal that the social security payroll tax have no cap, a position that he had previously been crystal clear on, he wobbled as Clinton unilaterally defined middle class as families with up to incomes of $250,000 and seemed to be rethinking the entire issue right there on stage. He finally and somewhat begrudgingly said that there could be a window above the current $96,000 before the tax would again be applied.

There were other incidences of his being flummoxed and awkward but they were mostly on the stupid stuff. The stumbles on issues related to the economy, however, were disturbing.


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