The Plumbing Gambit Fails

10.16.08 | Comment?

Joe the Plumber from Ohio, star of presidential debate and failed McCain gambit

Well, the last debate played out yesterday and according to the polls, Obama won this one too. That makes it a sweep, congratulations President Obama. Really, the only questions left to answer are margin of victory (I predict 5-5.5% in popular vote margin and landslide in electoral vote) and what the composition of the Senate will be, most polling pundits put it between 55-60 seats to the Democrats (depending on who the independents caucus with.) And the other interesting question is, how will Joe the Plumber cash in on his new found fame?

Like the prior debates, I experienced the first portion of the debate via radio which is a distinctly different medium than television. During the first 20 minutes or so, I thought Senator McCain was having a fine debate on the radio. He was less cranky, angry, and fluffy. He had some substance and details in his responses, he was assertive, but not aggressive. Overall, he started out strong. But, as in many things in life, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. And there’s the rub.

Senator McCain could not carry the same intensity and focus through the whole 90 minutes of debate. Senator Obama did and in the end has presented himself consistently to the American people as a calm, reasoned, and mature leader, someone who seems presidential. It’s much more apparent in video form than in pure audio.

One item both candidates should be taken to task over is their respective tax policy. It is irresponsible to be pitching revenue cuts in advance of balancing the budget and creating a surplus from which such cuts can be funded. Ultimately, the line by line review of the budget must be undertaken and the Feds need to remove at least one trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000,000) in spending as job 1. And yes, they should start with those 0.5% pork barrel items and the 0.5% in subsidies for insurance companies, that still leaves 99% of the problem to solve.

People remember how things end and Senator McCain’s ending was not good. He had a slip where he called Obama Senator Government, where he said “avoid healthcare”, and where he stumbled repeatedly over his humility portion of his closing. He ignored facts and didn’t engage in a dialogue, not once did he reference anything Obama said in a positive light. I thought Obama’s use of agreement on some principles and disagreement on others was particularly effective in last night’s debate.

I’m happy the debates are over and am anxious for the election to be over so we can get on with the difficult business of rebuilding America. It’s well past time.

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