Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The debate

I'm not sure if it will make a difference at this point, but Sen McCain is not pulling any punches.

He came out swinging, on issues from Bill Ayers to Joe the plumber.

He complimented Sen Obama for his eloquence, but reminded us to listen to his words. "Look at drilling" is far different from 'we need to drill NOW'.

He has yet to engage specifically on Sen Obama's repeated falsehood that he will give a tax cut to 95% of the public, despite the fact that a good portion of those folks don't pay income tax. I have some experience with this, since I was deployed to a combat zone where income is non-taxable. That put me in the no income tax bracket.

He engaged Sen Obama on the health care issue, and specifically attacked the single payer plan. Sen Obama responded with tax incentives and credits, but backed away from single payer. Kudos to Sen Obama, because as a patient of the VA health care system, I would have plenty to say about single payer health care.

Sen Obama consistently refuses to answer the question he is asked. He diverts to other issues, or talks about what is wrong, but does not answer the question. For example, given the question of what programs or proposals would you cut in view of the worsening federal debt? Sen Obama did not name one program that he would cut, rather he talked about new taxes that he would levy to make up the difference.

Sen Obama says that earmarks are not really that bad, since they account for such a small percentage of the total budget. Only 1% he says. Yet he attacks McCain for advocating a budget freeze. How much could be accomplished with that 1%? According to Wikipedia that is 240 BILLION dollars. That is more than we spend in Iraq in a year, yet you never hear complaints against earmarks.

From the moderator-we spend more on education per pupil than any other civilized nation, yet we lag behind in school achievement. Sen Obama blames lax parents, TV and video games. Sen McCain says that charter schools and teacher incentive pay are the answers. He says that competition is the key. Money is not the answer, McCain says, as some of the most highly funded districts are the worst performing. Says Sen Obama, "I doubled the number of charter schools in Illinois". Did he do this singlehandedly, or did other people have some impact on this?

All in all, I see McCain as winning, but whether independents will agree is the big question.

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