Alex Massie

Obama-McCain: I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow

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Shockingly Tom Brokaw has rejected Bill Kristol's internet-submitted question. Typical MSM bias. Fair play to the plucky folks at Fox however, they're doing their best to best to suggest that Obama is less-American than a flesh-eating Muslim eskimo. Or something like that. Fred Barnes, a shit who aspires to being something more anatomical than that, suggests McCain needs to "do a Sarah Palin"... God help us all. Anyway kids, here we go again...

Final Verdict: I've been a little harsh on Obama. He won this debate. When even Karl Rove can't make a great case for McCain then you know the game is over. And, again, Obama looked and came across as a President whereas McCain seemed like, as I say. a cranky wee man who'd been dropped from the bowling club's first team and considered this a vast. world-changing injustice.

Instant verdict: a no-score draw. Boring and dull and platitudinous. No heavy punches landed. The format scarcely helped. In fact it helped snuff out any threat of life or spark or conflict or, damn it, interest. And so, because of that, Obama, leading in the polls, won. Will puts it more, er, entertainingly but I basically agree with him: "Gut read. Obama owned it. This election’s over unless he murders and eats the flesh of a child on live television."

3.32: "I think what I don't know is what most of us don't know" says McCain. Like what? Life after death?

3.30: "What don't you know and how will you learn it?" What is Zen about that? Obama's answer not terrible however. Much more popular with CNN's women dialers than the men, mind you.

3.27: The rest of us of course are pretty comfortable with a "second holocaust". Obviously it's disappointing neither candidate has promised a first strike nuclear policy vis a vis Iran.

3.25: "Is Russia a new Evil Empire?" Seriously? This was a question? WTF?

3.21: No, we are not all Georgians now.

3.19: "We're not going to have a new Cold War with Russia" says McCain. Not when we can have a Hot one! Also" Putin has reduced all manner of liberties? True! He's a ghastly wee nyaff. No word, of course, tonight, from either candidate about closing Guantanamo or ending "extraordinary rendition". (That latter of course being a policy inaugurated by the Clinton administration. It was shameful then and remains so now.)

3.17: "We have to have a government in Afghanistan that is responsive to.." Washington? Sorry, no, "the Afghan people".

3.14: Obama backs democracy promotion. Again. Which is fine. But how many of his most fervent fans want to know that he basically shares the neo-conservative analysis?

3.10: Obama is not going to do well on Pakistan. Yes, sure, make it personal vis a vis bin Laden, but this is still a naive answer in real rather than electoral terms. McCain, astonishingly, is sort of half-correct. At least in broad terms.

3.07: "A cool hand at the tiller". Does anyone think that describes John McCain?

3.06: The phrase "My friends" also needs to be retired.

3.03: Obama tells a lie: well, he sort of suggests that matters in Darfur could have been different. Also, everyone gets or needs a doctrine these days!

3.02: McCain sees Russia-Georgia as a match-up for the ages. Because, yeah, it's all about who has the bigger balls. Welcome to LBJ-land.

3.00: McCain: only someone who has been in favour of every war ever started by a Republican president has my track record of being wrong.

2.59: Peacemaker? Where did that come from?

2.55: A reader writes: "McCain is better than before. In that he's making his talking points fairly effectively but in his paedophile uncle, rather than his mad uncle, voice."

2.53: Why do we have 80 "neutral" punters asking the "questions"? Wouldn't 80 rabid partisans offer more entertainment?

2.50: Oh fuck. More health care. Time out.

2.49: Even I - who knows nothing about economics - may know more about economics than John Sydney McCain.

2.47: Oil use: What that means is that the United States is filthy rich. How terrible!

2.46: I think Obama meant the internet, but the computer was not invented in America. Shout out to Alan Turing! And Bletchley Park!

2.45: Obama wants you to know he also owns a magic wand.

2.42: McCain keeps telling us that he's always been fighting for all these things. What do these things have in common? They are all unwon causes. When did McCain last win a victory worth winning? Vote for John McCain! He knows what it's like to lose!

2.41: McCain" Social Security is easy! Medicare is tougher! But both kill debates.

2.39: Bring Back Sarah Palin! We miss her!

2.37: Why does Tom Brokaw say "we have another question from the internet" as though he meant "And another paedophile writes in to ask..."?

2.35: Hmm, the ghost of Hoover! But which candidate looks like Hoover? And why is McCain adopting a voice more normally associated with reading a bed-time story to a two year old kid?

2.34: This is brutally dull. Can Sarah Palin come on in fishnets and do a proper half-time show?

2.33: As a viewer, I wish I were drunk right now.

2.32: Obama to Big Oil: "Use 'em or lose 'em!" Acres that is. Or what? But what if they used this land and made more money? Wouldn't that be reprehensible?

2.29: Woo! McCain returns to his "spending freeze" on everything except, like, 70% of the Federal budget. Also "We're Americans" so we can solve everything immediately. OK!

2.28: What sacrifices will you ask every American to make? How about the lives of the fourth born? (Yeah, I'm the eldest and I have a kid brother and sister).

2.26: I recommend you check out Will Wilkinson. Oh, fuck! Obama just did a Palin and suggested that Venezuela is a threat to the United States. Energy independence is so not like going to the moon. The American people might decide they ain't gonna be fat; don't mean they're gonna be slim.

2.24: There is a risk here that we may have to hear about health care. This being so I play the traditional foreigner's card of opting out of this. Is there any more boring subject - for furriners - than American health care? No, there is not.

2.23: If John McCain knows how to "fix the economy" then so do I.

2.21: I have a clear record of terrible policy, says McCain, citing campaign finance reform and his "work" with Joe freakin' Lieberman. McCain is, however, trying to dial down the "I'm just a crazy wee old man" look tonight.

2.20: Obama wants spending cuts and increased spending? Has anyone ever delivered this before? Also: when did it become un-American to petition your government?

2.16: Correspondence from Maryland: "Are the African Americans in the crowd really undecided, or did the debate commission have to diversify the crowd? "

2.13: This entire spectacle is nauseating. Come listen with Grandma'. The President is hear to hear, feel and soothe your pain. Cookies and marshmallows for all! Paging Gene Healy...

2.12: Had McCain heard of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before, say, last month? Also, John-boy, these folks were giving loans to the white peeps you need in Ohio...

2.11: No talking! No discussion! No, like, debating! Brokaw lays down the law. Meanwhile, the lads and lasses at the Confabulum are also live-blogging. Check 'em out.

2.09: If Meg Whitman is so fantastic why isn't she the nominee? Oh hang on, Petraeus was God last week. So, no room for McCain or the delectable Palin.

2.08: McCain's answer to the financial crisis? Energy independence? Seriously. Also cites massive turd laid by his own party but claims to have the necessary equipment to deal with it. Also tell the old folks of America - folks like me! Or not - that they can keep their homes under JSM. BHO obviously favours robbing little old ladies in Florida.

2.06: Obama's first answer: puppies and kittens for all middle-class folks.

2.04: Woo! Looks likes a mega-church rally! And with even less theological discipline! Come hear Pastor Obama! See Rev McCain!

2.03: What is it with the politeness fetish? Give the audience eggs and rotten tomatoes.

2.02: Brokaw: "From a long list of questions..." I have selected the most boring.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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