Thursday, September 25, 2008

Where's Johnny?

Well, that little plan just backfired in spectacular fashion.

Barack Obama has not only called John McCain's bluff by refusing to agree to a postponement of tomorrow night's first presidential debate -- he says that if McCain doesn't show, he'll stage the thing as a town meeting and agree to take questions from moderator Jim Lehrer.

This basically holds the narrative tightly with both hands and lands the ball squarely in McCain's court, putting him in one hell of a bind: If McCain doesn't show, Obama stands there in front of the millions of people watching and gets to own the moment while McCain's podium remains empty, reminding everyone that McCain backed down from a fight; meanwhile, if McCain does show, it proves that he played a game of chicken and lost.

Obama basically turned the tables on McCain and created his own no-win scenario.

Regardless of what happens, tomorrow night should be interesting.


Faine Lichfield said...

McCain's campaign decisions haven't done a great deal to win over new supporters, but they have done a pretty good job of keeping the old ones. I'm reminded of an interview with faith healer Benny Hinn: Hinn was asked point-blank why he needed a private jet to ferry him from place to place. Hinn started off by talking about how exhausting his faith healing is, and ended by stating, completely straight-faced, that it was a blessing for him to have that jet. It was brilliant. It showed he understood that he couldn't possibly win over his detractors, but that at the same time he knew he didn't need to. He just needed to say something to justify the faith of his followers.

Whatever McCain's motivations, his actions (particularly with Palin) reflect that he's less interested in garnering new voters than shoring up the traditional conservative base. There's some logic to this. Democrats have been called the party that can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The Republicans, on the other hand, have always shown a Machiavellian savvy in politics. It's possible that McCain's camp believes that as long as they keep a solid base, the rest should fall into place.

If that's true, then (to the McCain camp) it doesn't matter what Obama does. And if McCain does show up, he doesn't have to argumentatively defeat Obama per se, he just has to say whatever it is that keeps the base.

Donal said...

Could anyone seriously imagine McCain playing global chess against Vladimir Putin?

Brandon said...

Obama is pretty sharp here. A lot of people get distgusted with politics, but this is actually somewhat compelling. At this point, I don't see what could possibly be motivating people to vote for McCain other than a personal dislike of Obama. I hate to play the race card, but what has McCain done that would make one feel confident about him? So far, everything I read about him (and his running mate) makes it impossible for me to cast a vote for him.

Chez said...

At some point I'll probably go into this further, but there's no doubt about the fact that if Obama were white he'd be cleaning McCain's clock.

Seriously -- like in a position to win by the biggest margin in who knows how long.

Anonymous said...

what is happening is this:

the economy issues hits The deregulating Republicans and their poll numbers hard and McCain's is sinking with this new bailout issue AND that the American public is finally realizing Palin is a dumb shit who has NO business being second in command;

McCain's campaign worried about Obama beating McCain up over the war in the first debate on foreign policy - doesn't want to see his numbers drop on top of everything else (supra).

So instead McCain looking for cover is begging to stay off the defense and get back on offense - since he really can't do so with the Governor of A-LASKA. Throws a Hail Mary and runs to Washington to save the Country - America First.

Obama finally wakes up and is playing their games and REFUSES to placate McCain. Well done Barack!

The solution for McCain and Barack to carry on a debate is simple:

instead of talking about foreign policy DEBATE economic policy....


VOTAR said...

Obama wins a commendation from Starfleet for original thinking.

Faine Lichfield said...


I know a few people who will vote for McCain. It's an interesting study in human psychology.

I know one person who loves the conservative movement and will only listen to or watch those associated with Fox News. When Palin was chosen, he hailed it as a brilliant move and decried critics as sexist. If you try to press the issue of qualifications, he'll actually start slamming his fist on a table and scream "NO! NO! NO!". I've seen it. It's fascinating.

I know a woman who is so bitter about Hillary's loss, that she's going to vote for McCain. The desire for "Hillary in the White House" somehow got twisted into the desire for "a woman in the White House", anything else be damned. And yes, she's seen all the speeches made by Hillary about voting for Obama. She doesn't care. She's angry and she's going to do something about it.

I know another guy who also thinks Palin's nomination was brilliant, but for this reason: he thinks McCain will win the election, serve 4 years, then say "I did the best I could", and not run again. Instead, he will endorse Palin in his place. The race will then turn into a match between Palin and Hillary. I don't know who he's actually rooting for in that case.

On the flip side, I know a third gentleman who is a staunch conservative and is enraged by what Bush's policies (particularly expansion of government). He's determined not to vote for McCain, whom he sees as Bush II. He will not, however, vote for Obama. He feels Obama lacks personality traits that draw people to leaders. Instead he will vote for Ron Paul. He knows Ron Paul will never win, but he hopes that adding a vote to an independent will give independents enough collective votes that people will notice and take them seriously. If it wasn't for McCain, he would vote Republican all the way.

So there you go. For better or for worse...

Anonymous said...

I will never feel the need to watch another season of Survivor again. This just keeps getting better and better. Ha ha. It's making me giggle!

Michael said...

I had a coworker tell me that he doesn't trust Obama because of his abilities as an orator, then likened him to Castro by linking change, universal health care, help for the poor, better education, and regulated commerce to several speeches by Castro about similar topics.

How do you resolve the cognitive dissonance hearing something like that creates, other than to think it's based on race?

Ben Fleming said...

Nay, he wins a commendation from the League of Extraordinary Table-Turners.

Steve said...

Klingons: swarthy.
Pirates: swarthy. Arrr.
Castro: swarthy.
Obama: swarthy.

Anonymous said...

part of me thinks that all the mcpain campain needs to do is keep it as close to 50 percent in the polls as possible, so that stealing the election will not look quite as obvious.

of course, the odds that there will be an election at all seem very slim to me. I feel that I am watching the end of democracy in this country.

I just fired my agent for being a stupid bitch and liking mcain and moosehunter. To bad, she is a pretty good agent.

Faine Lichfield said...


I don't have references on hand, but I know a study was done where people of various political stripes were shown a clip of a politician they admired, then shown another clip where the same politician says something that contradicts whatever was said in the first clip.

The people conducting the study found that, when faced with a situation like that, people would tend to come up with an explanation to justify the contradiction. Then, upon doing so, the subjects would experience a sense of satisfaction that affected parts of the brain that are also affected by opiates.

I wish I had the references on hand to prove what I'm posting here, but if the study was accurate, it would explain why people are so unwilling to consider positions in a political discussion.

Steve said...

from Anon 5:43:
"part of me thinks that all the mcpain campain needs to do is keep it as close to 50 percent in the polls as possible, so that stealing the election will not look quite as obvious."

Well, that's a given. There will be Premier/Diebold voter fraud again.

denesteak said...

omg check mate!

Lisa said...

Did anyone notice Obama looked sorta pissed during his speech Wednesday? I thought he handled it beautifully but something in his eyes looked like he'd love to just put McCain in a chokehold.

McCain just looked desperate.

Stephen said...

Khan, if you want ME you're going to have to come down here and get me!!!!!

Ryan said...

"Did anyone notice Obama looked sorta pissed during his speech Wednesday?"

Yeah - his body language at the White House yesterday said it all... he knew it was stupid and had no interest in being there cause nothing was going to come of it.

It's too bad the debates don't occur in a ring - I wouldn't mind watching Obama blow off a little steam on McCain right now.

Ginger said...

Fucking masterful on Obama's part. Respect.