While watching the debate, I was reminded of the phrase "I have seen the future..." And it's not John McCain! Photo of vitrine, Selfridges, London.
I stayed up until 6 a.m. watching the presidential debates and post-debate commentary. In a nutshell, my impressions were that Sen. John McCain's ideas belong solely to the previous century. He still sees the same old enemies and wants to restart a Cold War with Russia. He maintains the isolationist viewpoint of not speaking to or negotiating with our enemies - even though five former secretaries of state including Henry Kissinger have all said it's a mistake to pursue such isolationist tactics. Such strategies have failed; the only way problems can be solved is by establishing dialogue with the antagonists. Nobel Peace Prize winner and former President Jimmy Carter agrees dialogue is necessary. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair concurs.
McCain refuses to admit he was wrong about war in Iraq and still clings to the notion that we are "winning" and will be "victorious" in leaving behind a country enjoying "peace and prosperity." McCain doesn't even understand the key players in Iraq and its complicated history that threatens to undermine its future. And funny how McCain didn't mention he knows where bin Laden is and how to get him, as he recently claimed (but when pressed, declined to offer specifics).
From a New York Times editorial:
"It was disturbing to see that Mr. McCain seems to have learned nothing from the disastrous war in Iraq. He talked about recent progress there, which is indisputable, and his support for the troop surge that has brought down violence. But Mr. McCain still was talking about winning, rather than how he was going to plan a necessary and responsible exit. And he steadfastly refused to acknowledge that the decision to invade Iraq was an enormous mistake.
"Mr. Obama offered no details on how he plans to get out of Iraq, but he offered an important truth when he said that the United States should never have invaded and can never win in Afghanistan as long as it is tied down in Iraq."
The Los Angeles Times:
"It was a debate, mostly civil though occasionally cranky, between a tough old man and a polished young one. McCain revealed more of himself in that arena, wincing and grimacing during the split-screen shots while Obama was speaking.
"That dynamic threaded its way through the emotional highlights of the event. Time and again, McCain, who is 72 and would be the oldest man ever elected to a first term, condescended to Obama, who is 47 and one of the youngest ever to win his party's nomination. "He doesn't understand," McCain said repeatedly. Discussing Obama's willingness to engage in talks with Iran without preconditions, McCain said: "It isn't just naive. It's dangerous."
"Obama declined to be belittled. Although McCain refused to address him directly -- despite encouragement from moderator Jim Lehrer -- Obama looked at and spoke to McCain. Obama often credited McCain on issues -- a grace that was not reciprocated -- but he did not accept the role of junior candidate."
McCain was in turn, agitated, angry, sneering, smirking and/or condescending and contempuous. He refused to make any eye contact with Sen. Obama. McCain acted as though he had something to hide. He bragged about being a maverick, although his muddled ideas and erractic behaviour lately show he's anything but. And of course he brought up his war service, as though that excuses everything else.
Sen. Obama came across as calm, measured, diplomatic and presidential - all skills that are needed in the realities of the world today. He had clear answers for all McCain's assertions, real or false.
In a foreign policy debate, it seemed to me that too many issues were left out - no discussion of the Israeli-Palestian peace process (which McCain has said he will ignore); Africa, Latin America or South America and little discussion of China or Russia.
Even though fact checkers and independent economists repeatedly have proved McCain's claim wrong, McCain again lied, saying Obama has voted to increase taxes on people making as little as $42,000. Why does McCain persist in lying, when everyone knows he's lying? This calls his character into question. McCain also repeated misleading lines about earmark spending - something his vice-presidential running mate is well familiar with, having been an earmark queen as governor of Alaska.
And where was McCain's flag pin "proving his patriotism," that the Republicans keep going on about? Such a ridiculous talking point, yet the Republicans keep flogging it.
Some polls and pundits' reactions here. What's your opinion of the debate?
P.S. Before McCain even announced he would go ahead with the debate, his campaign released an ad proclaiming "McCain wins debate!" Unluckily for him, numerous post-debate polls show otherwise.