Round 2 tonight

Guernica "Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama have revealed certain debating styles over the last year or so, and those approaches are likely to be evident again tonight. Watch for Mr. McCain to present a hotter, more confrontational persona, while Mr. Obama will show his cooler self, both in the sense of remaining unruffled and in staying at more of a remove from the audience."  Seeley – NY Times


This is going to be about style.  McCain looked medicated last time out of the barn.  That might be a good idea this time also.  One of his boyhood nicknames was "McNasty."  OK.  Bring on the tranquilizers.  Washington abounds with first and second hand stories of McNasty’s outbursts.  I hear them every day here "inside the beltway."  (I actually do live about half a mile inside the beltway in the "People’s Republic of Alexandria")   A face to face with Obama is going to be a real test for McCain.  We will see how well he can tolerate anyone he sees as competition.

Those who think that Obama should display a lot of "passion" and aggression tonight are going to be disappointed.  The man is what he is.  He has spent many years becoming a dispassionate intellectual.  He is a thinker, first, last and always.  If he tries to be something else on stage it will look false.  We should want a president who thinks rather than emotes as a way of doing business. Think about the possible consequences of unbridled emotion in the White House.

I think Obama will do very well tonight.  pl

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27 Responses to Round 2 tonight

  1. lina says:

    Geez Lou-eez, you and your predictions make me nervous.
    I, too, thought McCain looked a bit sedated in the first debate. As the evening wore on, however, he got sarcastic and condescending, which he paid for in the polling.
    If he tries another tack tonight, he might just end up looking like someone who should be retired by now.
    Obama has to stay cool, sound smart, and stick with the short answers he used last time.

  2. Cato says:

    I’m usually lousy at political predictions, but I’ll bet that McCain brings his “Mr. Cranky” act to the debate again tonight. I think he’s so mad at Obama for interfering with his right to be president that he can’t behave any other way. I agree with you that this wouldn’t be a good move politically on McCain’s part.

  3. Dave of Maryland says:

    You’re in the teaching trade. What kind of teacher makes the best administrator?

  4. Bill W, NH, USA says:

    I listened to an absurd ad on the radio today while driving. McCain is saying that Barack Obama will destroy the economy with record deficits and tax increases. What planet is he living on, how can one destroy what’s been long dead?

  5. Ormolov says:

    “Those who think that Obama should display a lot of “passion” and aggression tonight are going to be disappointed.”
    Your point, Colonel, makes me think of yesterday’s headline:
    OBAMA SLAMS MCCAIN ON KEATING FIVE — Barack Obama Finally Drops Bomb
    More discipline. A less politically savvy candidate would have blared that one early and often in the general campaign, and it would be old news by now.
    His base pleaded and begged for months to attack McCain for his record. But the Obama campaign waited… waited… They most likely pegged the date for the release of the Keating Five as a major campaign issue months ago in a meeting.
    With discipline like this and an opponent like that, who needs passion and agression?

  6. Ever since the JFK/Nixon 1960 debates the TV personna of cool calm and collected appears to be the mark of the overall debate winners.

  7. zanzibar says:

    I am really confused why anti-intellectualism has become such an important yardstick in the election of our Presidents and Congressmen.
    When our child is ill do we look for the doctor that can’t speak a sentence coherently and barely made it through med school but we feel we can have a beer with?
    This whole thing is so ridiculous. I don’t get it. Can someone please explain it?

  8. Will says:

    from the latest Krauthammer column
    ” Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. famously said of Franklin Roosevelt that he had a “second-class intellect, but a first-class temperament.” Obama has shown that he is a man of limited experience, questionable convictions, deeply troubling associations (Jeremiah Wright,William Ayers, Tony Rezko) and an alarming lack of self-definition — do you really know who he is and what he believes? Nonetheless, he’s got both a first-class intellect and a first-class temperament. That will likely be enough to make him president. ”
    Apparently Axlerod, Emmanuel, and Biden have vouched enough for Obama so the Sith Lord Darth KrautHammer can be somewhat generous to him.

  9. Matthew says:

    McNasty must show that he has a right to be angry at Obama. (Because?)
    Misplaced anger reeks of weakness.
    McCain’s fate may be sealed by fear: Some white people are more afraid of losing money than they are of having a Black President.
    And that is pure poetry to me…..

  10. Jose says:

    “Sometimes you don’t know if you’re Caesar about to cross the Rubicon or Captain Queeg cutting your own tow line.” – Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy
    McCain is almost there…

  11. Cold War Zoomie says:

    For years, we all have been plagued by the same questions you ask.
    The best explanation I can come up with is that most Americans view our president more as a leader than an executive manager. Leadership is a funny thing. What makes someone a great leader?
    My view is that our lizard brains have more control over selecting our leaders than anything else. If someone wants our president to be a leader, then the lizard brain rules the day.
    At times I want our elected officials to show leadership – mostly when trying to accomplish something I believe in. But on a personal level, I don’t have any desire to see them as my leaders. My suspicion is that many of us here at SST are similar.

  12. Binh says:

    I want to see McCain flip out on Obama, sing “Bomb Bomb Iran,” and call someone who asks a tough question a “little jerk” like he did much earlier during the primary season at a town hall. But for McCain too much is riding on this for his hot temper to get the better of him. It seems that his temper gets out of control in the backrooms away from the TV cameras and the press that he so loves.

  13. fnord says:

    I remember writing here some time ago that Obama needed to adopt a boxers stance, and by goodness, I think someone else had that idea too. I hope he manages to keep the gunfighterlook, and some covert ageism might be in place. (With all due respect to the elders in the crowd, the generation-issue is one wich I feel he has underplayed).
    I wonder if McCain will go fullbore negative and accuse him of treason.
    The repubs seem to be working on sticking a traitors mark on him, seems like theyre trying to rouse the loonatic right in order to get him assassinated. At the last rally, McCain flinched but didnt protest as the audience shouted “terrorist” and at the latest Palin rally someone shouted “kill him!”. Now its easy to shrug this off, but in this world of memetics and viral propagation of ideas it certainly seems the far-righters are going allout in their hate-agitprop. Dangerous times.

  14. Twit says:

    “[Obama] is a thinker, first, last and always.”
    If he is such a thinker, where (and what) are his great ideas? I take serious issue with the perception of Obama as an intellectual or even as an intellect. Successfully exploiting the Harvard network does not a philosopher make one be.
    He is to me nothing but the least worst option.

  15. Mustache says:

    And this will be a very close-run thing.

  16. jedermann says:

    It would be a pretty positive indicator, and hard to miss, that McCain is unfit for office if he were to be so indiscreet as to attack Obama in anything like the same manner as his recent campaign adds have done. If that should happen, Obama need only get out of the way and let the man rave.

  17. Patrick Lang says:

    Do you mean the debate or the election?
    I don’t think that post debate polls will show other than another Obama win.
    I increasingly do not think the election will be close. pl

  18. greg0 says:

    I’ve read that this is not going to be like the last debate. It will be more of a town hall with almost no back and forth between the candidates and questions from the audience instead of the moderator.
    Obama was born in Hawaii and spent his formative years there. That may be the source of his ‘cool’. It isn’t an act, it’s why he is what he is – blame the Hawaiian culture.
    With Picasso’s Guernica, are you forecasting a tragic ‘bombing’ at tonight’s event? You never know. The short fused one may again avoid the sight of his nemesis and thereby retain control.

  19. J says:

    Rumors are that McCain received grim news during a recent, secret visit to a top cancer hospital in Los Angeles.
    If McCain is much sicker than what is known, the voter public has a right to know, no?

  20. mlaw230 says:

    The outcome tonight will turn on “jury selection” i.e. the citizen questioners. How in the world do they determine who is or is not an independent or undecided voter?
    McCain must raise the fear factor and that has historically been quite easy to do. If Obama pulls off a “have you no decency” moment, or if McCain comes off as unhinged, the election is over.
    On the other hand if Obama take any of the free advice and counters forcefully, the “angry negro” narrative justifies the nascent racists to vote against their better selves.

  21. Jose says:

    “…you know who voted for it, that one….” – John McCain
    IMHO = gameover, not even close

  22. eakens says:

    if the guys says “my friends” one more time ….

  23. Patrick Lang says:

    I will call the result as “game over.” Why bother with a third debate?
    The GOP should write McCain off as a possible victor and should switch national party funds into congressional races to save as many members as they can.
    IMO Obama will run better in the South than is generally anticipated.
    The destruction in the GOP is likely to be so bad that serious talk of the creation of a new political party may begin. pl

  24. PS says:

    One observation I made is that after the debate was over the candidates went to greet the participants. But after a few minutes McCain disappeared, while Obama and his wife continued to work the room for another 15 minutes or so.
    Possible reasons: (1) McCain was too tired to keep it up, (2) he was too grumpy, (3) he can’t stand being in the same room with Obama, (4) he didn’t want to stay around and be humiliated by the victor, or (5) all of the above.
    Whatever the answer, Obama owned that real estate after the debate concluded.

  25. J says:

    i concur with your latest assessment. the gop needs to put a stake in the mccain-palin ticket aspirations.

  26. david says:

    I thought McCain did rather well last night, although the physical imagery only re-enforced the age difference (I agree with the pundits that there will be an enormous generational split in the coming election).
    It seems to me that Obama is but one of McCain’s tormentors. His disdain for the national republican political strategy is equally apparent. I cannot help but see his taking Palin on the ticket as a personal reminder of his eternal loss to Bush&CO in S. Carolina in 2000.
    Let me say something awful: during my lifetime, the candidate who appeared to enjoy being a candidate has always won.
    McCain is not enjoying himself and it shows. A bit sad, because I have some respect for him, but it is an old Washington story of the follies that attend one’s own inflated self-regard. Indeed, the campaign’s decision to go to war against the media suggests a Greek tragedy-like quality to McCain’s fate.
    In terms of the GOP refocusing resources on Congressional races, it seems clear to me that such an effort will lead to full-scale civil war among the national Republican leadership along rather obvious fault lines. In the short-term that will be disastrous politically, but it is probably beyond necessary at this point. Moreover, minority status has its advantages, especially given the magnitude o the challenges awaiting the next President and Congress.
    Finally, many on the left have chided the Democratic leadership for not being more aggressive in the legislature. It is now clear that ‘the wait for the GOP brand to implode’ strategy was the correct one, politically speaking.

  27. Dimbulb says:

    eakens – JMac must have heard what you said – instead of “my friends” he slipped up today and in an address said “my fellow prisoners” – I think Palin was stunned and looked to see if the teleprompter had been sabotaged.
    Colonel – I agree with you that the game is over, and, although I hope – darkly – that the D’s will overreach in their hubris and create the conditions acceptable for a third party, I want to ask if you think if that future materializes, will it be a third party that materializes, or will the conditions make the graound fertile for more than one alternative – and viable – party?

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