LJWorld.com weblogs Vantage Point
McCain-Obama wars : a new hope
Watching the debate last week was a unique experience. I have never watched one and did not know what to expect. I was surprised by the civility of the candidates. The word "debate" conjured thoughts of feisty exchanges. I've watched debates at the high school level, and while they might not have been feisty, the objective was clear: Win the audience and the judges. This debate, however, failed to accomplish that.The economic crisis might have thrown a wrench for McCain by taking away precious time from world affairs, but that is what is to be expected of a president: to be always ready to face the constant change in the political and economical climate. Going into the debate, I was apprehensive about Obama's ability to speak without the help of his speech writers, especially on the topics where McCain seemed to have the upper hand. Like many, I was ready for McCain to take charge and validate his perception as the qualified candidate to be commander in chief. Like many, I was a little disappointed. While he seemed knowledgeable about foreign affairs, he didn't clearly separate himself from Obama.I admit that I don't know all of the foreign issues and their implications for the United States. I was more interested in understanding how any of those foreign issues would have an impact locally. Hearing McCain didn't help me understand those issues. A lot of it was what I had already heard from news reports and other campaign speeches. While Obama was supposed to be the underdog in this debate, he didn't act like one. I was surprised by the ease with which he handled the questions. Maybe starting off with the economic situation helped him get into a groove. While I don't know the accuracy or validity of his talking points on foreign affairs, he did come across as knowledgeable and insightful. He must have done some crash course on World Affairs 101. One of the things that bugged me the most was the number of times he said he agreed with McCain. I don't know if that is proper etiquette in a debate where you are trying to win over the other person's ideas and talking points. After watching the debate, I'm convinced that this election is going to be decided on perceptions and sound bites. Many of the recaps that I read the next day mirrored my thoughts. I don't know if there are many voters who will take the time to validate and research all the ideas, plans, history, accusations, voting records and backgrounds of each candidate. As much as I should, I just don't have the time to invest in such a task. As to who won this debate, I liken it to watching movies. McCain was a blockbuster waiting to happen, but when released, it was just a good movie. Obama was not expected to do well, but he preformed well and got decent reviews. Who won is based on each viewer's perceptions. Maybe the best thing to do is not have any perceptions, but whom are we kidding? When it comes to elections, perception is the new reality.