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McCain’s Debate Performance


Earlier this evening, I posted what I wanted to hear John McCain discuss tonight. Now that the debate is over, I wanted to comment on how well he addressed my concerns. For those of you who want my full debate reaction, it’s forthcoming.

McCain’s economic plan: I wanted specifics. I got a reiteration of the $300 billion mortgage buyback plan which I don’t support at all. I was disappointed in that regard. Although I was glad McCain finally hit Obama on spending, even saying that Barack Obama’s answer to everything is to spend more. Unfortunately, McCain stuck to the ludicrous assertion that he can balance the budget in four years. If he’s going to make that claim, I need details but didn’t get them.

McCain did well on taxes. While “Joe the plumber” was an odd addition to the debate, McCain came off very strong regarding small businesses and taxes. I came away believing McCain won’t try to tax us out of our economic doldrums and think he raised real concerns about Obama’s plan, which seems very off-base during an economic downturn. Full disclosure: my wife owns a small business, so those taxes are a concern and I simply trust McCain more to protect our interests.

On healthcare, McCain whiffed again. I don’t have a problem with the tax credit, but even when you add in his regulatory changes, it’s just too little. It won’t work. I don’t like Obama’s plan but McCain gave me no reason to think he has a more workable solution.

I don’t believe McCain discussed the makeup of his cabinet, which was a shame. He did discuss Supreme Court nominees but, unlike some, Supreme Court nominees don’t drive my vote. Vice Presidents, on the other hand, do influence my vote and McCain’s defense of Sarah Palin was about as good as he could do given the material. But she is still a poor choice, no matter how McCain spins it.

I wanted to avoid anything outside policy. But Bill Ayers entered the conversation. As did Rep. Lewis. As did the hateful shouts at McCain/Palin rallies. That wasted a lot of my time and McCain seemed to try to extend it. He could have been making a case for himself but he spent the time dredging up issues that just aren’t important enough for a 90 minute debate.