Modern day debates have devolved into one line zingers and memorable attack lines instead of actual policy discussion. People's attention spans are too small to digest a 90 minute discussion on issues. It was evident that while interesting, the first debate was disappointing due to its lack of memorable lines or a clear winner. Sen. McCain needs to sharpen his attack with short sentences that cut and see through Obama's soaring rhetoric.
Ten talking points that McCain and Palin might consider using in the next debates and ads:
1. Sen. Obama has a tendency to stay on the sidelines on tough issues. There is an overt effort to avoid ruffling feathers. May it be in the Illinois state Senate where he voted 'Present' on tough issues such as punishment for gang members or may it be the gang of 14 to resolve the gridlock over judicial nominees or the recent bailout negotiations where he could have easily gotten involved to forge a bipartisan deal. Instead he chose to stay outside the loop and make statements from his teleprompter while McCain was in the midst of things - for better or worse, that is what a President is supposed to do. Take the lead and be in charge.
2. Sen. Obama is in the enviable position of saying whatever he wants with minimal risk of being proven wrong because there is no paper trail or a record to match his words and actions. He has voted to raise taxes 94 times and yet now he says he will cut them and Americans are supposed to take his word for it. There is the slimmest of records of bipartisanship and no record whatsoever of standing upto his party and yet we're supposed to accept his words at face value that he will work with both sides.
His 'bipartisanship' includes a law to 'keep lose nukes out of the hands of terrorists'. What does that even mean? It is as controversial and tough as congratulating Michael Phelps on his Olympic achievement. Who would be against keeping nukes out of the hands of terrorists? Bipartisanship implies working with the other side to do what is best for the country and in that process you invariably alienate people from both parties. It can be safely assumed no feathers were ruffled when this loose nukes bill was forged.
3. On taxes Obama says he will cut taxes for 95% of Americans. This is an interesting concept since not all working Americans pay Federal income tax. So his tax 'cut' is essentially a welfare program where he will handout rebate checks to people that don't pay any taxes. This is a clever way to hide yet another spending program.
4. On Iran and other rogue nations, Sen Obama wants to talk to them directly. He owes an explanation about what he will say to them. What is the brilliant argument he has in his arsenal that will convince these despots to give up what they're doing? What will he say face to face that cannot be conveyed through high level diplomats or allies that have relations with these countries?
5. There is no proof that he keeps his word on his promises. Sen. Obama was opposed to offshore drilling until the political winds changed and now he is for it. He was against nuclear power and now he is for it with reservations. He was against FISA until he voted for it. There seems to be a pattern of shifting with the polls and public opinion. It shows lack of conviction and raises the issue of trust (not patriotism but trust). Can he be trusted to keep his word when he keeps changing his mind to tell people what they want to hear?
6. Sen. Obama wants the government to take over healthcare and eliminate choices for consumers. He wants to hand over something as vital and important like healthcare to the government that took five days to get water to hurricane victims or the government that can't secure our borders or even handle toll booths efficiently.
7. Sen. Obama has voted with the Democrat leadership 97% of the time. This means he has voted with Harry Reid almost every time - the same Reid who said the war is lost long before the new strategy was even implemented. He voted with the same Nancy Pelosi who has taken over the Congress and run it into the ground. The current Congress has accomplished practically nothing and is even more unpopular than Bush. It is concerning that Obama agrees with such overt partisans every single time. It also proves that bipartisanship is only a punch line for Sen. Obama.
8. Sen. Obama has yet to answer for his running mate's plan to divide Iraq into 3 countries. That would have been disastrous and yet no one has asked them about it. Is that the kind of judgement we need? Obama has also to provide an explanation for asking almost a million dollars for everyday he has been in the Senate in earmarks and Joe Biden's ties to lobbyists and MBNA bank. We still don't have a clarification about Obama's ties to Fannie Mae and the donations from Fannie to his campaign. Both Obama and Biden also owe an explanation on the vote to keep the bill that included the infamous 'Bridge to nowhere' alive.
9. Obama has consistently avoided being pinned down on social issues and no one knows what kind of judges he will appoint to the Supreme Court. He has said that certain questions are above his pay grade. This shows yet another unwillingness to take on tough or controversial issues. There is no 'Present' button on the President's chair and there is no paygrade above the President's.
10. He has promised to take on the politics as usual and change things, yet there is no record of Obama taking on anyone in Illinois or trying to change things there. His political mentor is under an ethics could, the Governor is under investigation and the Mayor of Chicago is a walking mascot for cronyism and corruption. Sen. Obama has no record of standing up to any of these people.There is also no evidence of him taking on the Democrats in Congress. He never called for Congressman Jefferson or the Mayor of Detroit to resign after their respective scandals and neither has he called for Charlie Rangel to step down from his position after his recent embarassment over tax evasion (even the New York Times called for him to step down). Yet he promises to change things once he is President - sorry if we don't take his word for it.
The times are too challenging, too tough and too complicated to give over the reigns of the country to a freshman Senator with no major legislation, no executive experience and no perceivable convictions that stand the test of time. This is no time to try something new without knowing what that new will do once in office. Are you willing to roll the dice, take the risk and find out?