After watching the 1st presidential debate last night, I feel that, overall, John McCain did rather well. But sadly he missed his opportunity in the first 30 or so minutes where the main focus was on the economy. I think McCain would have done well to talk more about his decision to suspend his campaign in order to return to Washington to focus on the economic issues facing our country. This was a big move for him, and I think the action he took was something most Americans, including those on board with Obama, could appreciate as the American thing to do considering the current economic condition.
Instead he talked about earmarks, which are indeed an important issue. No one needs to be told that there is a ton of wasteful use of taxpayers money on Capitol Hill that needs to be stopped.
But what I, and I think the majority of American people, were waiting to hear about were job creation, stabilizing the credit markets, and specific plans to stimulate the beleaguered economy, including how we will deal with foreign oil going forward. We also wanted to hear specific plans McCain or Obama would put to use on their first day in office in January 2009 to bring to a head the worst financial crisis our country has faced in nearly 25 years. Jim Lehrer even asked the candidates to lay out their thoughts and ideas regarding the proposed $700 billion bailout plan. Neither candidate really told us much at all, except to say that we would need bipartisan cooperation to get something done.
Don't get me wrong. Not that I think that Barack Obama has the better plan for the economy. In fact, I'm not so sure I agree entirely with either candidate on that issue.
Personally, I think that there is much chaos and shenanigans going on on Wall Street that needs to be looked at, and while I support giving tax breaks to corporations, I feel that they must be conditional. We need to make sure that those tax breaks we offer are conducted in a manner that ensures job creation and encourages higher wages for the average American, and better access to benefits. Not higher CEO salaries. We need to make language like this clear when we offer the tax incentives. You pay your workers more and we'll give you more. You pay more of a worker's health care benefits, we'll give you more. And on and on.
Where McCain did well, and not surprisingly, was on matters of national security and foreign policy. Both areas I feel McCain is best equipped to lead. In this area he blew the socks off Barack Obama, and very clearly so.
As to who won? I'd have to go with John McCain here. But I do think it was close.
And so, we move on to the next presidential debate which will be on October 7th. Until then we have the vice presidential debate to look forward to, which will take place October 2nd. We can only hope that debate will stand as yet another defining moment for Gov. Palin of Alaska.
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