What did you think about the Nashville debate?

Well, I’ll go out on a limb and say something contrary to the "instant analysis" I just heard on PBS. I think McCain did better in this debate than Obama. I didn’t feel that way about the first debate, in fact I was at times put off by McCain’s condescending attitude toward his opponent in Mississippi, the repeated charge that Obama didn’t "understand"…

But this time, I think he caught Obama, and the professional observers, off-balance. Obama obviously came out expecting McCain, running behind, to be aggressive, so he started counterpunching before McCain could come after him. But McCain, comfortable wih the town-hall format, focused more on the questions rather than scoring points.

At no point was this more in evidence than in response to the first two questions, when McCain responded directly, including offering a new proposal to buy up bad mortgages. He said nothing critical about his opponent at all at that point, concentrating on the questions. Obama came out swinging with the usual stuff about "eight years of failed policies" causing the current financial crisis, as though John McCain had been president the last eight years (as he SHOULD have been, I might add), rather than McCain’s old rival, W. The really bizarre thing was the Obama kept doing the class warfare thing with accusing his opponent’s party of caring only for Wall Street and not Main Street, but in order to do that, he had to completely ignore the proposal McCain kept repeating about buying troubled mortgages. It was weird, as though Obama had gone deaf and couldn’t react to what was actually being said.

On the third question, McCain finally said something critical about his opponent. After that, things were more evenhanded, and I think both men did reasonably well, with some false notes (such as when McCain called Obama "that one," which contributed to the "frosty" tone described afterward on PBS).

At the very end, though, McCain again demonstrated his greater comfort with his surroundings. Obama simply didn’t answer the question about "what don’t you know?" As he was going on about his childhood, I remarked to my daughter that I knew how McCain SHOULD answer the question, but I doubted he would think of it. I was wrong. He answered along the lines of what I would have done in his shoes. He said the main thing he does not know is what the future holds, and suggested he believes he is ready to deal with what will come. That’s a particularly appropriate answer for a guy who touts his experience, but is not guided by an ideology. McCain approaches issues pragmatically, depending on what comes down the pike, rather than according to an overall program or philosophy. He didn’t develop the thought the way I would have, but in essence he got it right.

Now, do I think this reversed McCain’s fortunes? No. But it sure made me think better of him than if he had done what so many had said he HAD to do, which was to attack Obama’s character. And Obama, seeming to expect a fight, was thrown off-balance — for him. As always, he was poised, but he was off-point more than usual.

But enough with that. What did YOU think?

73 thoughts on “What did you think about the Nashville debate?

  1. Randy E

    Let the love-fest continue.
    Three incidents standout that undermine Brad’s wishful thinking:
    McCain’s reference to Obama as “that one”; Talk about condescending! That reflects a serious problem with temperament and gives support for the “eratic” charge.
    Obama counterpunching on who has the judgement to deal with international military affairs in reply to McCain’s Teddy Roosevelt big stick philosophy; Obama points out it was McCain singing Bomb Iran and talking about annihalating N Korea. This is important because it contrasts McCain’s reckless attitude with Obama coolness.
    McCain talking about buying up bad mortgages AFTER this massive bailout – Hey Cak, your boy wants you to shell out another half trillion dollars!!

  2. Jimmy

    Randy, you pick out very minor points except McCain’s statement about the home mortgages which is huge. The bailout/rescue and other fed efforts are very expensive but don’t fix the root problem. There are tens of millions of americans still in homes they can’t afford. These homes are the next wave of the financial crisis. If we don’t fix the bad mortgages, this thing is far from over. I don’t know if McCain’s proposal would work, but we somehow must shore up existin mortgages and stop new bad mortgages from being orignated. If we don’t, this thing is far from over.
    What was Obama’s position?
    And as for Obama’s coolness, is that what he was trying to say for 3 minutes when he completely dodged the question about going to Israel’s aid if Iran attacked? He did the same thing on meet the press 4 months ago. Oh, and the “Obama Doctrine” was classic as well. Can someone explain that answer to me.
    Obama’s McCain is a deregulator argument is tired and shallow. Almost as bad as “8 years of failed policies”. Does a “deregulator” propose rolling a publicly traded company under government control. I think not. He certainly is a deregulator by principle which works sometimes and other times does not. But he approached the financial crisis before it happened as a regulatory enforcer. Obama wrote a letter that no one has seen.
    My favorite comment was Obama’s stirring “rebuke” of McCains comment about raising taxes on companies. Obama claims he won’t raise taxes on companies that make less than 250K. Well good lord, how many companies make that little and how many people do they employ. That’s pathetic and increasing taxes on companies that make more than 250K would have a devastating impact on jobs. Nice policy in this environment.
    As to McCain’s restraint, you can look at his almost three decade record. An off the cuff comment that was clearly in jest (watch the video) means little. Obama is just talk.

  3. Randy E

    “minor points” Jimmy? The problematic temperament and eratic behavior of our possible president is minor? I guess McCain wouldn’t be involved in any sensitive discussions with foreign leaders. Even Pat Buchanan believes the Obama rebuttal citing the Bomb Iran jingle and destroy North Korea was huge.
    Jimmy, your conservative brethren are loving the half trillion dollar mortgage buy out!
    GeraldD, McCain won? You are part of that 30% in the poll who concluded that. I guess you are also part of that 25% that thinks W is doing a good job.

  4. SC

    I thought Obama did better. McCain sounded annoyed and frustrated. It’s sad that candidates say so little and just repeat it over and over again, but McCain made that worse because his tone was full of frustration. He reminded me of a pissed off teenager – my wife and I laughed that he sounded like Napoleon Dynamite – “But my lips hurt real bad!” McCain harped on his points while Obama played it cool.

  5. Phillip

    McCain’s view of the world can be summed up by his statement (made twice) that “America is the greatest force for good in the history of the world.”
    I guess that means America is now more powerful than God, but let’s leave that concept aside for a second.
    The statement is not a basis on which to run a foreign policy. That’s because it bespeaks an arrogance that says “Since we are THE force for good in the world, anything we do militarily in the world in justified.” In other words, it becomes a rationalization for anything.
    The truly greatest force for good in the world doesn’t go around mindlessly, smugly, arrogantly repeating that statement. It says instead “We have usually tried to be a force for good in the world, have often succeeded, but often have not. Whether we have or have not been the greatest force for good is not as important as being the best citizen of the planet we can be from this point forward.”
    Also, some more questions for John McCain:
    What country DOESN’T think it’s a force for good?
    What if a country thinks it’s doing good but opposes the US course of action?
    If America is this “greatest force for good,” how come so many in the world today do not see it that way?
    In the places where America IS admired (much of Africa, for example) is it because of our military actions or is it because of other factors? Could George Bush’s one good legacy in world affairs be his increase in AIDS funding in Africa rather than the way he responded to the terrorist threat?
    Even if you accept John McCain’s statement, I feel that McCain’s focus in that sentence is too wrapped up in the word “force.”
    Barack Obama’s focus, by contrast, is on the word “good.”

  6. Jimmy

    Yes, I believe your points are minor and no I won’t think again. Some “fact check” sight doesn’t matter when common sense and Obama’s comment tell a much different tale. I don’t know the number of small businesses but I represent enough in the columbia area to know that the vast majority make well above 250K a year. That is small business that almost certainly employs a small number of people. But the true impact of Obama’s tax policies are the Google’s, IBM’s, AT&T’s, Lexington Medical Center’s, and other businesses that employ the vast majority of americans and that will deal with sudden decreases in profit the way every business does. Cutting jobs. Or at best, not hiring. This is common sense and is above you apparently.
    So what happens in a struggling economy when the people who spend lots of money (those making above 250 who pay about 60% of the taxes in this country) and the companies that are the backbone of our economy (ever heard of the GDP or unemployment rate) see a marked increase in the taxes they pay? I can promise you they don’t spend more and hire more. But that probably won’t matter because Barack Obama wouldn’t have voted for Iraq.
    The inredibly subjective reasons he “won” the debate posed by those on this blog and in the media are fine. Each person must vote the reasons that matter to them. But the fact is, Obama is trying to win this election on the economy now and his answers suck.
    Nobody wins these debates. McCain laid out how he (and the republicans) foresaw the problems the GSE’s presented and tried to fix it by overegulating by proposing legislation. Kind of kills that “deregulator” always being bad. The Dems fought for the GSE’s like they were their children. Obama wrote a letter.
    Obama will play Robin Hood and overtax the wealthy and big businesses. I have never seen an argument that gives me any hope that it will do anything but drive us further into the economic abyss.
    Bring on the subjective and contrived BS. But let’s try to go with what they actually said or their record. That may be tough though.

  7. Chris

    AS a life long republican that has been voting straight republican for 30 years I have decided to stay home on election day.
    The republican party no longer represents me, and to continue to support it is not a moral choice. Perhaps 4 years of Obama is what we need to reform the republican party.

  8. James D McCallister

    This is a beauty contest.
    McCain looks and sounds like history, a stiff old guy calling a black man “that one,” playing a war hero card to which no one under the age of 50 can possibly relate (and as fellow POW Jack Van Loan told me, sorry, but there’s little heroic about getting shot down and captured).
    Obama lacks specificity, but he looks and sounds like the future, a positive one, a generational shift, youthful, unflappable, ostensibly thoughtful, clean, articulate, new, different.
    People want the latest model, not a used one that’s been wrecked a few times. The race is over.

  9. Jimmy

    Nice race baiting there James. Good to see that has made it here from the idiots in the media on both sides. You just marginalized yourself and your comments. Again, like Obama, no facts. I do appplaud you for admitting that though.
    And considering almost every major poll is within the margin of error, this race is far from over. Anyway, the polls have been dead wrong how times in a row now? Obama is looking strong, but is not over.
    “and as fellow POW Jack Van Loan told me, sorry, but there’s little heroic about getting shot down and captured”.
    Wow. Any POW is a hero, plain and simple. Can’t speak to Jack’s experience but we can see the hell McCain went through first hand. Will that make him a good President? No, but it can’t hurt. Kind of like why all policeman get tazed and maced before they can carry the same. It helps to know what you’re in for before you can wield that power.

  10. Jon

    You apparently didn’t hear the rest of the last question asked. You got the first part right (“what don’t you know?”), but there was a second part: “and how will you learn it.” You say that “[McCain] answered . . . the main thing he does not know is what the future holds, and suggested he believes he is ready to deal with what will come.” That didn’t answer the question any more than Obama’s answer did.

  11. bud

    McCain looked stiff and uncomfortable. The mortgage proposal had a hint of desparation about it. Given McCain’s recent history of going off half-cocked this idea came across as more of a campaign ploy than a well vetted proposal. And it runs counter to McCain’s campaign theme that he’s fiscally responsible. It was a typical McCain moment where we really don’t know what to believe. Talk about talking out of both sides of your mouth. But Obama didn’t counterpunch well on that question. He probably was caught off guard.
    But what really stood out was the breathtaking condescension throughout the debate on the part of McCain. Saying to Obama “that one” was really quite petty. Then he suggested to an African-American questioner that he had probably never heard of Fannie/Freddy. That came across as flagrantly elitist.
    Frankly this was no contest. Obama was poised, calm, and in command of the facts. McCain looked stiff, old and not a man with the energy needed to guide us through the 21st century. He kept repeating his campaign mantra about how he reaches across the aisle to work with Democrats. Given his recent voting record that is in agreement with Bush 90+% of the time that claim seems disingenuous. At least he didn’t call himself a maverick or claim he’s not miss congeniality.
    Obama’s best moment was when he countered McCain’s claim that he’s reckless with his dialogue regarding Packistan when he pointed out McCain’s bomb, bomb Iran “joke”. Clearly Obama is the ‘safe’ choice now. Obama didn’t come out with anything new. That was a good thing IMHO. Obama knows his stuff and he is obviously well qualified to lead this country. His overall excellent performance during this debate shored up his credentials as a leader.

  12. James D McCallister

    Jimmy, I consider the perseverance the POWs showed to be demonstrably heroic (and I’ve researched this extensively). Exploiting said experience for electoral gain? Meh, not so much.
    And as for race baiting, how about fear baiting? “That One” = “the other.”

  13. bud

    Obama came out swinging with the usual stuff about “eight years of failed policies” causing the current financial crisis, as though John McCain had been president the last eight years (as he SHOULD have been, I might add), rather than McCain’s old rival, W.
    You miss the point on this. Obama is pointing out how McCain generally supports policies that deregulate the economy, agreeing with Bush most of the time. He doesn’t have to be president to be wrong. That is illustrated with huge red flags by his association with Phil Gramm. Obama correctly makes that connection. And the voters seem to understand that as well. If anything Obama was too easy on McCain’s economic policy history.

  14. Lee Muller

    The debate was boring.
    The audience, supposed hand picked as “independents”, where threatened with removal if they made any overt response to either candidate.
    Tom Brokaw, who admitted after retiring from NBC News that he was a life-long Democrat, screened the questions down to a replay of the first debate, and removed any that could raise the ugly issue of Obama’s poor judgement and character in so many close friendships with murderers, terrorists, radical Muslims, haters of Jews and Christians. McCain failed to raise that very important issue.

  15. Jimmy

    “And as for race baiting, how about fear baiting? “That One” = “the other.” ”
    I didn’t say those things and I didn’t say Obama was race baiting. You said it and you were race baiting.

  16. bud

    Lee, it’s interesting that you keep accussing (falsely) Obama of close associations with “haters of Jews”. Apparently your gal Palin was in attendance while a guest preacher in her church in Wasila, on 2 separate occassions, suggested that we need more Christians to replace the corrupt Jewish CEOs on Wall Street. He also stated that Jews were largely responsible for being on the receiving end of terrorist activities in Isreal. Did Palin leave the anti-semetic tirade? NOOOOO. She stayed until the end.
    Lee’s rants do something important here. They illustrate just how little the McCain campaign has to offer the voters. They’re reduced to fear tactics of the lowest order. Everyone recognizes Lee’s nonsense for what it is. Sadly, McCain’s campaign is starting to sound more like Lee every day.

  17. Lee Muller

    Pick one and defend them:
    Jeremiah Wright – hater of whites and Jews
    Obama’s mentor and pastor for 20 years.
    Father Hagee – hater of whites and Jews
    Longtime supporter of Obama, and fundraiser.
    Kahlid Monsour – hater of whites and Jews
    Paid Obama’s way through law school.
    Robert Malley – denouncer of Israel.
    Obama’s official foreign policy advisor.
    Obama’s father – communist, hater of whites and Jews.
    Frank Marshall Davis – communist, hater of whites and Jews.
    Helped raise Obama.
    Cornell West – socialist and hater of whites and Jews.
    Obama believes and parrots his “Afro-centric Socialism”.

  18. Doug Ross

    I listened to the first hour of the debate on the radio and thought Obama was clearly the winner (even though I don’t agree with his policies and will not vote for him).
    McCain came off as chippy, unfocused, and scripted. And if I heard him say “My friends” one more time, I probably would have driven off the road. Even on the radio, the “that one” comment stuck out as a sign of McCain’s obvious contempt for Obama.
    The other thing that struck me was that McCain kept talking about all the various things he had attempted to do as a Senator over 20+ years but he never talked about actually getting any of those things done. Do we really want a President who can’t even convince his own party that he’s right on an issue? And he invoked the names of Ted Kennedy, Tip O’Neill, and Joe Lieberman more than any conservative legislators. Maybe instead of being a “maverick”, McCain is just a loose cannon.
    Now that it is apparent that Obama will
    win the election (perhaps in Clinton-Dole blowout proportions), I would suggest that true conservative voters send a message to the Republican party by either sitting this one out, voting for a third party candidate, or writing in “None of The Above”. Your vote for McCain will do no good at this point. Unless you think Sarah Palin is the savior..

  19. KJ

    The mortgage ‘buy back’ talk by McCain threw me from the very beginning. I didn’t like the talk by Biden last week of allowing bankruptcy court to determine the principle that a borrower owes.
    The question I have with this is how will it be applied? If two people bought houses on the same street for a similar inflated price, but the current ‘value’ of each has declined, will they both be eligible for re-evaluation if one is making the payments and the other is not? If the person who is making the payment on a house that they overpaid for, but could afford, should the government pay them the difference of the purchase price and the current ‘value’? Should the government pay the difference to the person who bought an equivalent house but couldn’t afford it? Should this only apply to homes bought as a primary residence? If the delinquent buyer’s mortgage is renegotiated, and the ‘value’ of home return to their high points and they sell, who gets the profit? The responsible buyer will still not be able to sell the house without taking a loss. Is this fair? There are too many questions with this for it to be floated as a ‘solution’ by either party.
    As usual, the ‘debate’ was full of empty talk and repetition and no good answers to hard questions. It seems that, at some point, all of the questions and comments that get made ‘off the record’ by surrogates should be presented directly to the candidate to be addressed. That will never happen though it seems.

  20. bud

    Somebody needs to coach John McCain about that annoying “My Friends” comment. The condesending tone of it really grates after a couple of times. After the 10th time my brain simply refuses to acknowledge anything further McCain says. He could be brilliant but I’d never know it.

  21. Lee Muller

    Clinton won only because of large 3rd party votes taking votes from the GOP candidates.
    I agree that the GOP needs to be taught a lesson, but they seem to be unable to learn from their mistakes. They will just rationalize away the lost votes, because the dimwits who run the campaigns would otherwise have to admit they had no strategy, or the wrong strategy and couldn’t execute a plan.
    Right now, I am trying to communicate to Republicans and the McCain campaign at all levels that the Democrats would be extinct if the GOP was at all competent, and let them know who I am supporting, and why, and who I am not, and why not.
    However the election comes out, non-Republican conservatives and libertarians need to take over the GOP, just as the socialists and communists have taken over the Democratic Party.

  22. p.m.

    Well, it’s good to see everybody feels the same way coming out of the debate as going into the debate. Duh.
    I think James McCallister referring to Barack Obama as “clean” and “articulate” is about the most tragically funny revelation of racism since the “Was anybody hurt?” moment in Huckleberry Finn.
    Some people’s feet (most liberals’, in fact) fit marvelously well into their mouths.

  23. Lee Muller

    Obama supporters can’t even come clean and articulate why they really support Obama: the money they expect to get, taxed from someone else.

  24. p.m.

    The best moment of the debate was when McCain said that trying to nail down Obama’s tax plan was like trying to nail jello to the wall.
    Obama’s positions have much quiver,
    And a lot of slip and slide.
    He’s an elusive fellow
    To whom the vote should be denied,
    Else he’ll take us all for a ride.

  25. Mattheusmei

    At no point was this more in evidence than in response to the first two questions, when McCain responded directly, including offering a new proposal to buy up bad mortgages.
    But that’s not new! In fact it’s already a part of the bailout. See here.

  26. azsue

    I don’t believe the audience were undecided. After the debate almost every person there was taking pictures of Obama. They were getting pictures of themselves with Obama and asking for autographs. The debate was boring. Brokaw only picked generic questions that both candidates have memorized answers for.

  27. Hoodwinked

    McCain has three talking points:
    1) Cut earmarks and taxes
    2) Cut spending
    3) Fight, fight, fight
    Sorry. I need a little bit more from a president, and I need to hear it BEFORE the election.

  28. Hoodwinked

    “The best moment of the debate was when McCain said that trying to nail down Obama’s tax plan was like trying to nail jello to the wall.”
    That’s a load. What’s difficult to nail down? Senator Obama and his surrogates have stated his tax plan ad nauseum, and it’s on his website.
    Don’t be a lazy voter, get info:

  29. Jimmy

    Mattheusmei, here is a good explanation of why McCain’s proposal is unique and not included in the bailout. Next time, how about not going to a liberal blog for information unless you are just trying pump sunshine up your own behind.
    And hoodwinked, your first post contradicts your second as your post of McCain’s talking points is beyond lazy. It’s simply uninformed. But you are correct is is easy to nail down Obama’s tax plan. Here’s a link to the story about the brilliant man who first developed the plan:

  30. Bergibbes

    It was boring from start to finish. Both candidates just regurgitated campaign talking points ad nauseum. Brokaw didn’t help with his choice of questions selected from the crowd and Internet, but mainly I was disappointed that neither candidate gave anything to make me feel better about the prospect of having either one as President. I’ll vote for McCain but as the lesser of two evils at this point.

  31. Hoodwinked

    As far as I’m concerned, any newspaper which endorsed and anyone who voted for George W. Bush, especially in 2004, owes the country a HUGE apology.
    I won’t hold my breath.

  32. Jimmy

    Still waiting for you to admit you are dead wrong on this:
    At no point was this more in evidence than in response to the first two questions, when McCain responded directly, including offering a new proposal to buy up bad mortgages.
    But that’s not new! In fact it’s already a part of the bailout. See here.
    Posted by: Mattheusmei

  33. Ish Beverly

    Some of the people that to vote for Obama seem to be intelligent and successful. I socialize with some. They have a blind allegiance to the Democratic Party with no questions asked. Whoever or whatever is nominated is what will be voted for. That is a cult. That is dangerous in any society. There are a lot of bad things we know about Obama and there are a lot of things we don’t know about Obama. This guy just ain’t the one. The news media has picked another loser.

  34. Phillip

    Ish, blind allegiance to a party is not the exclusive property of Democrats. In fact, Democrats crossing over to vote for Republicans was a big part of Ronald Reagan’s success, and the John McCain of 2000 was attracting a lot of Democrats as well.
    Why is it that if the nation seems to be looking to Obama to be its next President, that’s the result of some “cult”-like power? Why would that be any different than the successful runs for the Presidency by George W. Bush?
    You’re suffering from the delusion that only folks of your political persuasion are independent thinkers, rational, etc. That in itself is partisan and irrational.
    I voted absentee ballot early here last week, and my “blind allegiance” to the Democratic party led me to vote for both Barack Obama and Lindsey Graham.

  35. Mattheus Mei

    I’m not apologizing or admitting I’m wrong, but I will say I didn’t go far enough. McCain’s plan would actually cost more. To quote Jason Furman, The economic policy director of the Obama campaign,
    “Last night, in his latest attempt to get it right, he threw out a proposal that appeared to give the Treasury authority it already has to re-structure troubled mortgages. But now that he’s finally released the details of his plan, it turns out it’s even more costly and out-of-touch than we ever imagined. John McCain wants the government to massively overpay for mortgages in a plan that would guarantee taxpayers lose money, and put them at risk of losing even more if home values don’t recover. The biggest beneficiaries of this plan will be the same financial institutions that got us into this mess, some of whom even committed fraud.
    Since this beginning of this crisis, Barack Obama has demanded that any rescue plan must protect taxpayers and ensure that they share in any profit once the economy recovers, and he worked to include that principle in the plan that passed Congress. John McCain’s plan to overpay for bad mortgages by handing taxpayer dollars over to big financial institutions is erratic policy-making at its worst, and it’s not the change we need to strengthen our economy, create new jobs, and keep Americans in their homes.”

  36. Doug Ross

    Phillip writes that he voted for Barack Obama and Lindsey Graham. I’m not criticizing his selection – although I do disagree strongly on Graham – but I think it should give all Republicans (especially the true conservative ones) MAJOR pause to think that a very informed voter like Phillip would Graham.
    President Obama will definitely reach across the aisle to Senators Graham and McCain to re-aninimate the dead immigration amnesty bill.

  37. Ish Beverly

    The debate format was a joke again last night. The liberal Democrats along with the liberal news media make all the rules, determine the questions and content in each debate. The liberal Democrat, Tom Brokaw, made sure everything protected Obama. The Democratic Party is not as inferior as it once was. The Republican Party should demand a level playing field.

  38. Lee Muller

    The plan has all along including buying up bad mortgages, but by Jan 20, 2009, neither Obama nor McCain will be able to let the people who never should have bought the houses, stay in them.
    Most of them will be long gone.
    Henry Paulson will contract with at least 10 large firms to appraise, categorize and liquidate tens of thousands of bad mortgages. That is in the deal cooked up by Pelosi, Barney Frank, and Chuck Schumer to cover up their corrupt hands in this market collapse.

  39. Doug Ross

    And now Nancy Pelosi wants to chip in another $150 billion in “economic stimulus” for “a stimulus package would create jobs by investing in public works, increasing food stamps benefits and extending unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless.”
    Unbelievable. First, we’ll bail out all the banks that were either acting criminally, unethically, or stupidly. Then McCain will bail out all the idiots who got mortgages that they could never afford, and now we’ll give another $150 billion on top of that.
    Instead of trying to apply bandaids, we need three things:
    1. A simplified tax system (go to just two flat rates that kick in at double the poverty level and quadruple the poverty level) – no deductions except for dependents. A tax form that can fit on a postcard.
    Eliminate all estate taxes, capital gains taxes for assets held more than a X months, increase the gas tax to be split between two projects:
    – Building roads
    – Alternative fuel
    2. Cut government spending. Start with abolishing the Dept of Ed and 95% of TSA.
    Decide whether we need energy independence or men in space.
    3. No deficit spending. A completely balanced budget with no gimmicks. If we have to cut to make it happen, then cut.
    Act like a responsible adult would.

  40. Lynn

    On Obama’s tax proposals — there is a difference between individual income tax for those making more than $250,000 and taxes on small businesses that make more than $250,000. Obama proposes reinstating the previous (pre-Bush-cut) tax rates on individuals making more than $250,000. Obama also proposes eliminating capital gains taxes for small businesses (presumably defined according to standard federal definitions of small business). It is difficult to figure out how small businesses would suffer from greater taxes under Obama’s plan.

  41. Norm Ivey

    Getting back to the topic of the debate…
    I was disappointed. The town hall format should have led to some unscripted moments, and some unexpected questions. Instead, we got the same questions we had last time except they weren’t written quite as well. McCain’s mortgage buyout idea wasn’t enough to change anybody’s mind in his favor; neither did Obama do anything to bring the undecided voters to him (if there are any truly undecideds left–I am doubtful). I also didn’t see or hear anything that would drive voters away from either candidate. The closest they came to excitement was McCain’s referring to Obama as “that one.” That sort of dismissiveness doesn’t suggest a unifier. I’m glad Obama ignored it.
    They could have created a moment together if they had both remained in front of Brokaw’s Teleprompter during the closing moments. David Letterman’s TV drama opening credits for the debate was more exciting than the debate itself.

  42. Norm Ivey

    One more thing…
    I thought the best question of the night was the one asked about what sacrifice citizens were going to be asked to make to help get us through this financial and war-ridden turmoil. I went back and re-read the candidates’ answers. Obama began to ask for sacrifices, but then pivoted away to developing new energy sources. McCain talked about cutting government spending. Neither answer satisfied.

  43. Anonymous

    I have boycotted y’all due to the favorable slant on Jakie and the Lexington County Republican Party Rift. [10/5.]
    Have y’all missed me? I miss y’all……….
    P.S. I love blogging. It’s better than a shrink, a-n-y-d-a-y!!!

  44. Jimmy

    Mattheus, you are a pillar of truth and inpartiality. You’re comeback is to quote Obama’s campaign. Great job. Nice talking to you, but my six year old want’s me to read some Dr. Seuss with him. I will get a much better sense of the state of our Nation during that experience than I ever could discussing politics with someone as myopic as you.

  45. Lee Muller

    I guess it is easy for Obama to deceive so many people on taxes, who don’t pay income taxes.
    President Bush didn’t give “tax cuts to the rich”. He proposed an across-the-board cut on ALL tax brackets EXCEPT on investment banking and venture capital income. It was only 1/2 of the total tax increases of Clinton, but enough to instantly start bringing the economy out of the last Clinton recession of 2000.
    It was CLINTON to CUT TAXES in HALF on investment banking and venture capitalists, from 28% to 14%, to reward Robert Rubin’s friends for bailing out his dead campaign in 1992. The tax should have been cut long before, but not for a bribe. Now Obama wants to restore it to 28%, which will kill what is left of new business investment.

  46. wtf

    Lee, do you copy & paste from some rightwinger blog or do you make up that bs all by yourself.
    Really dude, it’s called medication. Check into it.
    Not even sane GOP supporters even think that you are even close to being correct and you’re just making them look bad as well.

  47. p.m.

    Lynn, if you would, please explain to me how small businesses would benefit from having their capital gains taxes eliminated.
    What small businesses rely on capital gains for income?

  48. Lee Muller

    I was thinking of you when as an Obama supporter who knows nothing about taxes, because they don’t pay enough.
    Go study up and then you will be able to discuss, instead of sputtering insults.
    p.m. –
    All small businesses that are more than just self-employment stand to benefit greatly from elimination of captial gains taxes. Any business which has assets has to pay capital gains on the appreciation in value. Family farms, rental property, businesses with intellectual property, or income streams from licensing – all can have substantial value when the owners decide to retire, or need to sell to fund another business.
    Obama wants to take between 28% and 48% of the accumulated value of those businesses.

  49. James D McCallister

    Hey p.m., my “clean and articulate” bit was meant as a winking reference to Biden’s gaffe waaaaay back in the primaries. Get a clue.
    Brad, please, a new thread. Maybe something about how the maddog righties are calling Obama “terrorist” and howling for his blood, or maybe how McCain called us all “his prisoners” yesterday, or how KKKarl Rove protege Steve Schmidt (hairless, overfed baby wearing a man’s suit) and his mentor look like the manifestation of characters from Orwell’s Animal Farm.
    Disclaimer: To be fair and balanced, I tried to think of some Obama stuff, but he is running such a clean and articulate campaign I can’t think of anything on which to riff, other than the lack of substantive answers, and that’s not funny, just frustrating. Lee, any new hard and irrefutable rightwing blogpost evidence of Muslim terrorists connections today?

  50. p.m.

    Why no questions for Obama about his destitute half-brother George Hussein Onyango Obama?
    “No one knows who I am,” he told Italy’s Vanity Fair magazine. “I live here on less than a dollar a month.”
    “Here” is a Kenyan shack on the outskirts of Nairobi.
    George has a front page newspaper picture of his famous brother – born of the same father, Barack Hussein Obama, but to a different mother, named just Jael.
    “I live like a recluse,” George told Vanity Fair. “No one knows I exist.”
    Does George mention his famous half-brother in conversation?
    “If anyone says something about my surname, I say we are not related. I am ashamed,” he said.
    George has met his famous older brother twice – once when he was just five and the last time in 2006 when Barack Obama toured East Africa.
    The would-be president mentions his brother in his autobiography, but in just one paragraph, calling him a “beautiful boy with a rounded head.”
    George, 26, is the youngest of the Obama’s half-brothers.
    Of his second meeting with the poor’s latest American champion, George said, “It was like meeting a complete stranger.”

  51. Jay

    Lee, for what it’s worth:
    “Barack Obama and Joe Biden will eliminate all capital gains taxes on start-up and small businesses to encourage innovation and job creation.”
    From Obama’s website

  52. bud

    Doug, your proposals are a good starting point. I would make a couple of changes. Not sure the tax rates should max out at quadruple the poverty level. I would go with brackets of 5, 10, 20 and 30%. The 30% rate would be for very wealthy individuals. I would also raise the SS income limit to $200,000. Eliminating deductions is a great idea. Why do we have mortgage deductions? Seems like that may have contributed to the current crisis by encouraging home purchases based on a false belief that the tax deduction would offset the mortgage by more than it actually does.
    The gas tax should certainly be raised. With gasoline prices falling it’s likely that people will become complacent again. An adjustable tax rate based on the price of crude oil or wholesale gasoline prices would smooth out the sharp ups and downs and allow consumers to know what gasoline will cost in the future. (I believe Brad has suggested something like this). The revenue would help fund alternative energy stuff.
    One thing that is crucial to the ‘bud’ plan is a sharp cut in military spending. The current annual budget, not counting money for our imperialist occupations is about $500 billion. What a waste. We could easily defend ourselves with about a $300 billion outlay, saving 200b/year. Add in the cost savings for getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan and we save an additional 200b. Tada, we’ve balanced the budget without any changes to the tax code.

  53. Doug Ross

    I think it depends on what the tax rates are. The more variables you introduce into the process, the more likely the government will start monkeying around with it to try and “fix” the economy.
    The biggest advantage I see in a flat tax without any deductions is that it frees up all the accumulated energy expended by businesses and individuals on trying to minimize taxes to instead focus on how to maximize income.

  54. p.m.

    Of course, George Obama told CNN “I was brought up well. I live well even now.”
    To be sure — in a 60-square-foot shack in a shanty town.
    Barack Hussein Obama II (his real name) is one of eight children his father helped four women bring into the world.
    The would-be American presidenthas raised $300 million in campaign contributions, but has not offered his brother any help, though he wrote in “Dreams From My Father,” the self-promoting, partly fictionalized memoir that Brad is reading, that he would help if George asked.
    Barack like you, Brad?

  55. p.m.

    Geez, McCallister, McCain’s “that one” was probably a “winking” and suitably derisive reference to Oprah Winfrey’s calling Obama “The One” a long time ago, so get a clue yourself.
    And, now that I’ve read your tax plan, bud, I hope they don’t let you vote a first time.

  56. bud

    Rather than condescending flap-trap why don’t you offer a plan of your own p.m? The standard Republican approach to budgeting is to borrow from China and spend money on useless military crap. And how has that worked out? Seems like 8 years of this economic approach has failed miserably. It’s time for Change.

  57. Jimmy

    “Seems like 8 years of this economic approach has failed miserably. It’s time for Change.”
    Obama . . . is that you?
    Sorry chief, but in regards to the housing crisis, we are reaping the fallout from Clinton’s years right now. Bush’s decisions will be felt in another couple of years.
    If the bailout and correlated fed action works, it will work during the next President’s term and they will take credit for what the Bush administration did to fix this crisis.
    But that’s politics and what will get Obama elected. I hope it works out because if the bailout doesn’t work, his Robin Hood tax plan will be disastrous in the face of a deepening economic crisis.

  58. Lee Muller

    If Obama eliminates capital gains taxes on “new innovative businesses” and doubles them on existing businesses, like farms, how fair is that?
    Wake up! Obama is aan authoritarian Marxist. He is a liar, telling everyone what they want to hear, and if he can’t, he just avoids he subject.
    James McAlister,
    Since you are unable to discuss any one of Obama’s sleazy communist or radical Muslim friends, I assume you just don’t care about his low morals.

  59. just saying

    Why again is it that profits made just by moving money around should be taxed at a lower rate than money made by actual work?

  60. Ish Beverly

    ITS THE LIBERAL NEWS MEDIA, the cause of all our problems. In 04 they had just lost another election, this time by alarge margin. The news media was MAADDD. President Bush had left some Democrats from the Clinton admin. in several Fed positions. I think he even appointed one or two Democrats. The news media looked at this as a weakness and there they began to bring down the Bush Administration with their distortions, half truths, phoney polls, unbalanced negative news, and out right lies. An example is that shortly after the 04 election, the media put out a poll result as 70% of the people dissagreed with the Bush policy. How could that be? He had just won the election. Did the media mean 70% of the Democratic Party? They repeated things like that daily and of course the Democrats jumped in also. Everything President Bush proposed or did, they said it would not work or had failed. I beleive President Bush began to beleive some of this propaganda. Had the news media supported America and the Bush Administration, all the world would respect us now and the Middle East problems would be solved or at least much better off. Then President Bush could have stopped the Fannie, Freddie and other economy problems.

  61. RBH

    If you want to talk about low morals you only have to look at John McCain and Sarah Palin. They too, have many issues that show no morals, both having committed adultery.
    Let’s not forget about the first dude wanting to secede from the US or Sarah’s impending charge of abuse of power. If she had nothing to hide, then why not let them investigate her. McCain’s involvement in the S&L scandal. Cindy McCain said yesterday that Senator Obama voted against funding for the troops. She failed to mention that John Boy also voted against it.
    MCCain served his country but so have millions of other Americans. That doesn’t make him qualified to be president. The real question is “Who is the real John McCain?” A petty, condescending, disrespectful candidate that is conducting the very kind of campaign that he promised not to run. He thinks that he is better than Senator Obama. He cannot talk about the issues so he has to change the subject. The American people are tired of the fear mongering. I will take my chances with Barack Obama any day.

  62. p.m.

    OK, bud. A flat income tax plus a sales tax on non-necessities. Perfect equality under the law.
    No chance I’ll ever see it happen, but what could be more fair?
    Now, back to what you call flap-trap.
    So you think only the Bush administration is to blame for our recent economic woes? Why? Haven’t the Democrats had control of the House for a couple of years? Aren’t there Democrats in both houses?

  63. bud

    P.M. I don’t agree with your plan but I respect that you provided one.
    No I don’t blame the GOP entirely, but they have been in charge of most things for decades. Seems like they should bear the brunt of the blame.

  64. just saying

    “A flat income tax plus a sales tax on non-necessities. Perfect equality under the law.”
    Decent sized base deduction before the income tax starts, or start it with the first dollar earned? (e.g. the marginal dollar is more valuable to the poor than to the rich, I wouldn’t support a plan that ignored that)
    Sales tax on the entire price of houses and cars, or only kicking in after a certain minimum threshold? (e.g. is a minimum amount of transportation and housing a necessity?)

  65. just saying

    Is a serious discussion of privatizing social security too much to hope for at the next debate?

  66. Lee Muller

    We can talk about HOW to privatize Social Security now, or talk about its bankruptcy very soon in the future.

  67. Lee Muller

    Capital gains are the results of working your brain, and putting your capital to work, at great risk of loss, to create wealth.
    Too many people who receive salary and wage income create no wealth. They are overhead to those who do create wealth by adding value to something.
    That’s why most countries tax the profits of capital at risk at a very low rate, or not at all – because those occasional profits have to be high to average out all the losses on other ventures, and those ventures are the root of all other jobs, public and private.

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