After watching tonight’s Presidential debate on foreign policy and national security, I am left wanting. My overall impression of the event goes something like this…sigh. I mean was it just me or did we hear the same things over and over. If that wasn’t bad enough, we’ve been hearing these statements for several months now. I really don’t think anything was made more clear. Many of the analysts rightly pointed out that this was not a victory for either side. Did we come away with a better idea of the candidates after this debate? No.
McCain played up his “maverick” status by pointing out several instances in which he opposed his own party as well as the current administration. He highlighted his vast experience in foreign affairs and policy which is a strong point for him. This point certainly plays out to his benefit. There is no denying that he has far more experience in foreign affairs than Obama. My favorite statement by McCain came when he mentioned (more than once) that he didn’t win Mr. Congeniality in the Senate. As he says, he is viewed as a “sheriff.” Funny stuff.
On the other side, Obama played his usual card by trying to tie McCain to the current administration. I thought he did fairly well considering that these issues were going to be weak points for him. He came off as thoughtful and his transitions were smooth in typical Obama fashion. He addressed everyday, middle class Americans which is a big bonus for him. However, he does come off as a bit naive regarding foreign affairs. As thoughtful as he is, he mentioned his policy of speaking with any world leader without conditions. Though I don’t know how I feel about preconditions, I do think his one size fits all type answer on addressing leaders was too much of a broad stroke. Yes, he did mention using military force when necessary but it seemed to me that his lack of experience showed a bit. My favorite (or most annoying) lines from Obama were the constant use of “the last 8 years” referring to failures of the Bush administration. Look…we get it.
A few general observations. First…was it me or did it sound like a high school cat fight? He said this. No I didn’t. Yes you did. Kissinger supports me. He didn’t say that. Yes he did. No he didn’t. Come on…what can be gained by this on either side? Who can you really trust is telling the truth without putting his own spin on it? Second…did John McCain often look annoyed with Obama? Is that why he had a hard time actually addressing Obama? There was certainly a contrast in demeanor between them. Third…did either of them ever answer the moderators questions regarding the economy? Man…the beginning was ridiculous. I mean, they both just ran all around those economic questions. Which leads me to my final observation/question…can we just get a straight answer? I felt like half the time neither candidate was answering the question or being straightforward with his answer.
So there you have it. My two sense on the debate for what it’s worth. Can you tell that I loathe politics?