Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

On Tonight’s Debate

Things I noticed watching tonight’s presidential debate.

  • Obama began many answers by talking about where he and McCain agree, whereas McCain started many answers with “what Obama doesn’t unserstand.” I want a president who seeks consensus, not condescension.
  • Obama looked at, and spoke directly to, McCain many times. McCain did not look at, or speak directly to, Obama. Not once. McCain literally gave Obama the cold shoulder. His body language betrayed his contempt.
  • There was no talk of race, but how can it not be present in every conversation these two men have? Obama has to talk tough without looking like a stereotypical “angry black man” and scaring white voters. McCain was born in 1936 – the Civil Rights Act didn’t become law until he was 28.
  • One core difference became evident: McCain thinks talking to foreign leaders that you disagree with legitimizes their views. Obama thinks that there is no peace without dialog. I’m with Obama on this one. Bush scapegoated China, Iran, and North Korea, and look how well that went.
  • Here’s what I wish Obama had said: “Unlike my opponent, I’m not afraid of sitting down to have tough talk with all world leaders – not just the ones that agree with us.”
  • Come to think of it, there are a lot of things I wish Obama had said.
  • Obama is known for his powerful personal storytelling, but it was McCain who told all the personal stories tonight. The difference is, when Obama tells stories, he’s inspirational. When McCain tells stories, he sounds like Grandpa Simpson.
  • Confidential to Senator Not-Miss-Congeniality: If you tell a joke that bombs, don’t tell the same joke again.
  • Jim Lehrer’s attempts to get the candidates to talk to each other seemed clumsy and out of place. He might as well have tried to get them to kiss.
  • God I miss Bill Clinton. He could wipe the floor with both these guys.
  • What I learned from election.twitter.com: McCain supporters like McCain. Obama supporters like Obama. Fascinating.
  • Both of these guys can put a sentence together better than our current president. Of course, so can my cat.
  • There are two more presidential debates. I wish they were moderated by Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart.
  • Debates are like wars: there are no winners, only losers.

American democracy. Ain’t nothing like it.


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Hi, I’m Derek. I make awesome community-centric web stuff. I sometimes post things to Flickr and Twitter. I’m mostly harmless. More.





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