Saturday, August 16, 2008

Race for the White House- 8/16/08

80 Days Until Election Day

On a week where many Americans have gotten caught up in Olympic fever and the quest of US atheletes to win medals, for two Presidential candidates, a silver could never be good enough.

Democrat Barack Obama remained on vacation for most of the week while Republican John McCain continued on the campaign trail. Most of the non-Olympic news involved the conflict between Russia and Georgia with attention being paid to how both potential Presidents dealt with the crisis and what that would say about their capacity to be Commander in Chief. Obama was accused at first of not grasping the situation and not strongly supporting U.S. ally Georgia against Russian agression. In contrast, a figure in the Obama campaign accused McCain of being overly belligerent to Russia and somehow worsening the situation overseas. Whether or not the current ceasefire will hold remains to be seen, but this sudden event is likely to continue to play a role in Campaign '08 and a greater attention on foreign policy is likely to benefit the man who said that "we are all Georgians" and who was quoted for that statement by the President of that country in a large rally in Tblisi.

Otherwise, it was another week of futile running-mate speculation, tight national and state polls, new television advertisements, and campaign fundraising reports. After next week, the conventions will begin and the election will return to the forefront. For now though, it seemed like the Olympics dominated much of our water cooler discussions.

Tonight, while both candidates briefly shared a stage at a forum at a large chuch in California, the Saturday evening television viewing of most probably involved baseball, pre-season football, and swimming... yes, swimming. Very likely, the overall tv ratings for the appearances by Obama and McCain with influential pastor Rick Warren will be low, but it was very interesting to those political junkies who watched it.

Obama was fairly good in most of his hour. At times, he looked uncomfortable with questions and he had some politically vulnerable answers to some questions as well, especially when he was asked if evil exits and listed a couple examples, without the mention of Al Qaeda or terrorism. Still though, he spoke well, demonstarted some intellecual acumen, and received polite applause. In this first joint apperance of the general election, expectations might have been lowered for when McCain came out next for his hour. I am of course biased, but I absolutely believed that the Republican candidate absolutely knocked it out of the park and had one of the finest, if not the best, nights of his entire campaign. He was direct in his answers, comfortable, and even eloquent at moments. McCain did a world of good in appealing to Republican base voters, and Evangelical Christians in particular. The applause he received by the church forum attendance was quite significant. The media spin after the event was how good McCain was in the venue and how he may have gotten the best of Obama in certain comparisons. Again, I doubt very many people were watching, but this should perhaps give us a bit of a preview of what the actual Presidential debates (which will all be either a town hall or sit down at table forum) might look like and how conventional wisdom about who would do better could not necessarily be the case.

After tonight, I am more pleased than ever to know that I am voting for the Senator from Arizona to be President of the United States. This was a proud and triumphiant evening for two very deserving Americans; Michael Phelps and John McCain.


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