Debate number three for America! A town hall! Undecided voters! Any good town hall debate is really just a chance to recite stump speeches in the most creatively repetitive way possible, which is why John McCain wanted to do so many of them. Rather than watch the debate on CNN, I am considering watching it on CBC Newsworld this time around. Not that there is much difference once the thing gets started, but I am a patriot.
(Meanwhile, here in Canada, someone is attempting to murder Liberal party supporters, so anybody complaining about people in Republican crowds shouting “nigger” and so forth – well, there’s still a ways to go, is my point, and all is darkest before the dawn, et cetera.)
8:56: I am curious to see whose lines CNN will be showing tonight, I must admit. Gotta love them lines!
8:58: Dumbass says “the debates don’t really change the polls,” two weeks past the first Presidential debate since when Obama has opened up a national lead of between four and eight percent depending on who you ask. Way to go, dumbass! You’re earning your money!
9:00: Tom Brokaw is your moderator. Thrilling. And the lines are… uncommitted Ohio voters, again, because Ohio is like the only potential swing state left John McCain can win. Note that they aren’t bothering with uncommitted Virginia voters any more. OH SNAP!
9:02: Tom Brokaw just told me I don’t have to be polite! THANK YOU TOM BROKAW! And here are your candidates. McCain already has his trademark creepy smile going for him, so that’s nice.
9:04: Alan “bald old guy” Schafer wants to know what the quickest way out of the financial crisis is. Not the BEST way! Just the FASTEST way! The answer is “nuclear war,” Alan, but maybe you should have asked a slightly less stupid question.
9:05: Obama goes for some populist points by attacking greedy executives at AIG, then talks about national infrastructure projects and fixing healthcare and fixing energy, only a very small amount of which answers Baldy’s question. See what I mean about town halls?
9:06: John McCain: “Americans are upset, they’re angry, and they’re a little fearful.” McCain talks about spending! OH MY GOD I MAY DIE OF SHOCK. He talks about the $10 trillion debt, then says America will “have to do something” about home values. And that something is – buy up all the bad mortgages and pretend they are expensive again. Or, as experts call it, “the worst idea humanly possible.”
9:08: “Who will you replace Henry Paulsen with?” McCain obviously doesn’t know right off the top, but it should be someone trustworthy! Like Warren Buffet, or Meg Whitman! Who invented eBay! (Well, not really, but cut him some slack.) Because running an auction site is JUST LIKE MACROECONOMIC THEORY! Obama says Buffet would be okay, but says what matters more than a name is picking somebody who is not a fucking idiot. The lines like “not a fucking idiot” type policy rather greatly.
9:11: Oliver Clark, who is black and therefore IN THE TANK FOR OBAMA, asks how the bailout will actually, like, help anybody. McCain explains that he suspended his campaign to make sure there were taxpayer protections, and how he managed to do this through telepathy and pointedly not saying anything. He then blames Obama for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, because Obama is simultaneously a completely inexperienced individual not ready for the Presidency and also the mastermind behind America’s financial downfall.
9:13: How does John McCain pat himself on the back so well when he cannot raise his arms above his shoulders?
9:14: Obama: “I have to correct a bit of Senator McCain’s history – not surprisingly.” TWO SNAPS IN A CIRCLE! Then points out that he saw it all coming and how, you know, he’s on the record on all that. Also, McCain is a lying liar, not that he says anything about Mr. Honorable Soldier Man who suffered for all free peoples everywhere.
9:16: Brokaw: “Is it gonna get worse before it gets better?” (Oh my yes.) Obama: not if we take action immediately and it works! (Which, I suppose, is not exactly untrue.) Lines love the idea of things working! McCain: it depends on whether we do. If we do something everybody says that won’t work, then maybe. Also, workers are awesome! America is the biggest exporter! (No.) The biggest importer! (Why is that good?)
9:19: Teresa “squeaky old lady” Clarke: How can we trust either of you, because all politicians are equally crap? Obama: lady, look at the numbers, will you? Also, healthcare and energy, in case I didn’t already mention those six times! (But the lines love it even more this time. Healthcare and energy!) Lady lines stay up forever, men drop down after he talks about a spending cut.
9:21: McCain: “I have been a consistent reformer, ever since I got caught helping Charles Keating illegally.” Oh no not really. Obama has never taken on his party on a single issue, which implies that the Democrats have had as many bad ideas as the Republicans over the last eight years. And now he’s talking about spending again! Spending is John McCain’s healthcare and energy, except that the lines don’t like him much at all.
9:23: Money spent on a projector for a planetarium? I think McCain really, really thought this was going to win him the election, the way he was grinning when he said it. Maybe he has a private poll that shows that Americans hate planetariums.
9:24: Entitlement reform, energy, healthcare – what order are your priorities? McCain says “all three” to duck the question, then explains that he wants to cut future Social Security benefits. (Annnnnnnd there goes Florida.) First mention of clean coal! Hooray for clean coal! You can wash with clean coal! It is better than soap! Obama: energy! Which means gas prices in stupid-talk, but lines love the idea of cheap gas or driving around in electric cars. Also, jetpacks. Healthcare is number two. Education, which was not on the list, is number three. Obama starts talking about earmarks, I suspect simply to piss off McCain, who sits there grinning like the Joker.
9:28: Tom Brokaw whines about time limits, then asks a question from the INTERNET. “HEY OBAMMA MICKANE I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGR?” No, actually it’s a question about sacrifice and what the candidates are willing to cut. McCain talks about types of defense spending and YES IT’S EARMARKS! But apparently now there are GOOD earmarks! And a President has to know the difference between good earmarks and bad earmarks. SPENDING FREEZE! Oh, please, Obama, translate that into benefits-lost-ese.
9:30: “We’re not rifleshots here! We’re Americans!” …what the fuck does that mean?
9:31: Obama compliments Bush on the first bits of 9/11, then attacks him for “go out and shop,” and talks about service. The lines kind of like that. This segues into individual responsibility, and then… drilling? Oh, god, Barack, don’t piss me off. I know you’re talking to idiots tonight, but come on. And then says the young people are going to serve, and doubling the Peace Corps and so forth. The lines love all of this, because if it gets those kids out of baggy pants and into coveralls, hooray!
9:33: Brokaw: “How would you encourage Americans to stop spending money they don’t have, at the individual level?” Obama does some rhetorical jiujitsu to relate this back to taxes somehow, and how giving rich people lots of tax cuts makes people not want to save money somehow.
9:35: McCain says Obama has like seven billion tax proposals, which isn’t true and makes no sense, so it’s exactly what McCain should say. He starts blathering about small business revenue, which isn’t true either. Lines are NOT GOOD for this. Then says that he isn’t in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy, which is, you know, not true. Man, McCain is just saying whatever the fuck he likes now. “I think we should all pay our taxes in lollipops!”
9:37: Obama wants to address this, but Brokaw won’t let him because, you know, it’s important to get to another question about Social Security going broke and the need to reform Social Security and Medicare, which is Brokaw’s question. TOM BROKAW IS VERY IMPORTANT. Obama takes the opportunity to mock McCain and the “Straight Talk Express,” and points out that McCain is, you know, full of shit about everything. Lady lines love him. Men lines are less enthusiastic. McCain has the death-grimace again, reading his cheat-sheet.
9:41: McCain says it’s easy to fix Social Security! Medicare won’t be easy, because McCain’s campaign has said he wants to cut it. No, wait, that’s not it, instead… what the FUCK is McCain talking about? He’s babbling, pure and simple. Then attacks Obama again with the “94 times voted for tax raises” thing.
9:43: Ingrid Jackson wants to know how fast McCain would move on the environment. McCain has no fucking idea how to answer this. Myfriends myfriends myfriends Lieberman myfriends. “I was on Navy ships that had nuclear power plants!” WHAT. Babbles about nuclear energy. My god, he’s so hyper. Did somebody make McCain snort some coke before the debate or something?
9:45: Obama parallels green jobs to computer jobs over the last few decades, then points out that computers were invented by the government. Points out that McCain votes against alternative fuels all the time. McCain laughs, either because he is visualizing strangling Obama or because he had a good gas-pass. Obama mentions that, whoops, you can’t drill your way out of the energy crisis, so drilling is a bad idea. THANK you, Barack. Yeesh.
9:47: Brokaw whines about time limits again, then asks whether or not the research effort for energy should be centralized or private. McCain talks about the last energy bill, practically seething at Obama, calling him “that one” (WHAT) and talks about offshore drilling being “vital.” He really really wants to drill.
9:02: Lady whose name I missed: should healthcare be treated as a commodity? Obama talks about his healthcare plan, which does not actually, like, answer the question or anything (TOWN HALL!) but at least it’s a clear, concise explanation of his plan. Then explains how the McCain plan will lead to nobody having healthcare and Road Warrior-like battles in the New Mexico desert.
9:53: McCain wants to do all sorts of things! “Let’s have medical records online, because that will stop… medical errors, I guess they call them.” My god, people will vote for this guy? Then talks about his stupid-ass plan, which – and I say this as someone who has talked his fair share about healthcare – is kind of the “hey let’s blow everything up” option.
9:55: Is healthcare a right, a privilege or a responsibility? McCain: responsibility! By which he means he hates socialized medicine, like for example the health care he has gotten for his entire life. Obama: it’s a right. (Lines jump upward right away.) Then attacks insurance companies and the lines love him even more. Then explains McCain’s race-to-the-bottom strategy, and just tears McCain a new one.
9:59: Foreign policy time! But McCain wants to make fun of Obama again. (Lines dip a bit.) Phil Elliott, on the other hand, wants to know how the fiscal crisis will affect national security and America’s ability to be a peacemaker. McCain replies that America is awesome and that America needs to be careful about picking the right battles and America is really just kind of huggable, you know? The lines love him when he saying nice things about America, and plummet when he starts attacking Obama. Also, and this will amaze you, he did not answer the question.
10:02: Obama attacks McCain on Iraq. The ladylines love that. More attacks on Iraq. The menlines join the ladies. My god, it’s almost like picking a dedicated antiwar candidate was a good idea or something!
10:04: Brokaw wants to know if there is an Obama Doctrine and a McCain Doctrine for sending in troops when there’s no immediate national security issue. Obama: “If we could have stopped Rwanda…” Uh, Barack? Just pointing out that, you know, the United States could have done that. And so could everybody else, in fairness. Regardless, Obama’s discussion of moral responsibility scores very highly with the lines.
10:02: The McCain Doctrine: don’t die! No, just kidding, McCain wants to talk about Iraq and how Obama was wrong about the surge. The lines don’t care. Please talk about the surge some more, Old Man McCain! Then, and I cannot believe this, McCain says that being President needs a “cool hand at the tiller,” because when you think “somebody not commanded by a powerful and irrational temper,” you think John McCain! John McCain has been in situations that needed that cool hand all his life! When, exactly, he does not specify.
10:08: Katie Hamm: Should the US respect Pakistani borders, or dis Pakistani borders, or what? Obama: Afghanistan distracted Iraq blah blah blah you know the drill. The lines like it well enough. McCain: Teddy Roosevelt is my hero, and Barack Obama is no Teddy Roosevelt, because he is A) black B) not dead C) lacking an impressive moustache. Then John “Bomb Bomb Iran” McCain accuses Obama of talking too loudly.
10:13: Obama asks for a followup. McCain whines that he should get a followup too. Brokaw officially gives up on having any control over the debate at all, which is probably the wisest thing he could do. TOM BROKAW IS IRRELEVANT. Then BEATS THE SHIT OUT OF McCAIN HOLY SHIT listing off all the times John McCain has said something fucking stupid about a potential enemy. The lines like this rather well, considering Obama is attacking McCain on his strength. McCain understands what it’s like to send Americans into harm’s way, because he crashed his plane into an aircraft carrier this one time and killed like a hundred guys. THAT’S harm’s way, Obama, you pussy.
10:16: American generals say Afghanistan is a failure. What do you do? Obama: get troops out of Iraq, put them in Afghanistan, tell Karzai to shape up and make a functioning democracy in Afghanistan. McCain: General Petreus will save us in Afghanistan! AH-AH-AHHHHHHH! PETREUS! Then complains that Obama still won’t admit that he’s wrong about everything! WHY won’t Obama just concede the election to John McCain? WHY?
10:19: A question from the INTERNET? “Are you going to give me up? Are you gonna let me go? Are you gonna run away and desert me?” No, it’s about starting a new Cold War! McCain: Vladimir Putin wants to conquer the Ukraine and Georgia and John McCain will make the Russians understand there are penalties for this kind of behavior. Obama: we need to anticipate these problems ahead of time, and I said stuff about Georgia well in advance. Then talks about energy again, because people looooooove energy!
10:23: Russia! Evil empire: Yes or no? Obama: Kinda? McCain: Maybe. POLITICS!
10:24: Terry Shirey, a retired Navy person, wants to talk about Israel. What if Iran attacks Israel? WHAT DO YOU DO? McCain shakes the guy’s hand, because they were both in the Navy and that’s what you do. Talks about what if Iran gets nukes? Obama would talk without preconditions to Iran (seriously, this is like the eleven hundreth time McCain has said that and I still don’t get his issue with it). Obama doesn’t shake the guy’s hand, and I expect National Review Online will explode with rage over failing to honor this brave serviceman. Obama says he’ll use all the tools in the toolbox, even the corkscrew that gets in there by accident that you sometimes use to clean under your nails.
10:30: NEW HAMPSHIRE INTERNET QUESTION: “What don’t you know and how will you learn it?” No, that’s not my lame PostSecret parody, that was the actual question. Obama: it’s not what you see coming that gives you problems. Also, I was poor, but I worked my way up now and hey I’m running for President! McCain: myfriends tough times myfriends myfriends serving my country myfriends POW myfriends I believe in America myfriends steady hand at the tiller put my country first myfriends.
10:34: Tom Brokaw whines that McCain and Obama are standing in front of the TelePrompTer, which is just the capper on this evening. Cindy McCain, the fearsome Republican she-robot, makes an appearance. Michelle Obama shows up as well, looking foxy. (Seriously: sexiest potential First Lady EVAR.)
Bottom line: pundits will likely say something about it being a tie, but god, McCain was just flailing all over the place like an idiot. And… wow, Wolf Blitzer is actually saying that it was obvious that McCain has “disdain” for Obama. WOW. I never thought that would happen.