We had a blast liveblogging the debate last night; be sure to check out our play-by-play of the Biden-Palin showdown (more like a bloodbath!) on Oct. 2.
We of the Blog-Elite seem to be in agreement that the Obama-McCain debate was pretty even overall, with a slight advantage to Obama. Both men did what they needed to do, but didn’t reveal anything particularly new about their respective policy positions. (And let’s face it — with the economy in the shitter, either candidate will have difficulty advancing their economic/program agendas should they win the Presidency.)
Somewhat encouraging however, is what the plebes thought of the debate. A clear majority of low-info and undecided voters believe Barry won the contest, probably due to the fact that he appeared collected and Presidential, while his rival came across like a petulant old coot. Nate Silver (of the excellent polling site FiveThirtyEight) has the data.
More discouraging was Obama’s failure to take McCain to task for his false boasting about his support of veterans. Said McCain:
"As far as our other issues that he brought up are concerned, I know
the veterans. I know them well. And I know that they know that I’ll
take care of them. And I’ve been proud of their support and their
recognition of my service to the veterans. And I love them. And I’ll
take care of them. And they know that I’ll take care of them. And
that’s going to be my job."
Not even slightly true. McCain’s religion is the military, and he’s quite clearly gay for General Petraeus. But that love hardly extends itself to the lowly enlisted man and woman. Don’t believe me? Consider the evidence (courtesy Veterans for Common Sense):
In mid 2007, Senator Reid noted that McCain missed 10 of the past 14 votes on Iraq.
However, here is a summary of a dozen votes (two that he missed and
ten that he voted against) with respect to Iraq, funding for veterans
or for troops, including equipment and armor.
: McCain voted against the Webb amendment calling for adequate troop rest between deployments. At the time, nearly 65% of people polled in a CNN poll indicted that "things are going either moderately badly or very badly in Iraq.
: McCain voted against a plan to draw down troop levels in Iraq. At the time, an ABC poll found that 63% thought the invasion was not worth it, and a CBS News poll found that 72% of respondents wanted troops out within 2 years.
: McCain was too busy to vote on a bill that would require the start of a draw down in troop levels within 120 days with a goal of withdrawing nearly all combat troops within one year. Around this time, an NBC News poll found that 55% of respondents indicated that the US goal of achieving victory in Iraq is not possible. This number has not moved significantly since then.
: For such a strong supporter of the escalation, McCain didn’t even bother to show up and vote against a resolution condemning it. However, at the time a CNN poll found that only 16% of respondents wanted to send more troops to Iraq (that number has since declined to around 10%), while 60% said that some or all should be withdrawn. This number has since gone up to around 70%.
: McCain voted against a resolution that Bush start withdrawing troops but with no timeline to do so.
: McCain voted against an amendment that would provide $20 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for health care facilities.
: McCain was to vote against $430,000,000 for the Department of Veteran Affairs for Medical Services for outpatient care and treatment for veterans.
: McCain voted against increasing Veterans medical services funding by $1.5 billion in FY 2007 to be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes.
: McCain once again voted for abusive tax loopholes over veterans when he voted against creating a reserve fund
to allow for an increase in Veterans’ medical care by $1.8 billion by
eliminating abusive tax loopholes. Clearly, McCain really loves those tax
loopholes for corporations, since he voted for them over our veterans’
: McCain voted to table an amendment by Senator Dodd
that called for an additional $322,000,000 for safety equipment for
United States forces in Iraq and to reduce the amount provided for
reconstruction in Iraq by $322,000,000.
: McCain urged other Senate members to table a vote (which never passed) to provide more than $1 billion for National Guard and Reserve equipment in Iraq related to a shortage of helmets, tents, bullet-proof inserts, and tactical vests.
: McCain voted against increasing the amount available for medical care for veterans by $650,000,000. To his credit, he also voted against the 2001 Bush tax cuts, which he now supports making permanent,
despite the dire financial condition this country is in, and despite
the fact that he indicated in 2001 that these tax cuts unfairly
benefited the very wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
For military families, the choice couldn’t be more clear. Senator Obama is the only candidate in the race who has consistently supported the rights of our soldiers. To McCain, they’re cannon-fodder.