The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight


October 8, 2008

9:35 — ….. zzzzzzz ………. zzzzzzzzz …… huh! wazaht? Oh, yeah.

Isn’t it amazing how each year the campaigns come up with an even worse format than they used the last time?

9:40 — Obama gets animated… on tax policy.

9:41 — My big question is whether McCain’s constant references to the 1980s make him seem Mavericky, or just really old.

9:42 — Oh, Peter’s already doing this. I guess I’ll stop now.

9:44 — The candidates fiddle while Iceland melts.

9:45 — Given that they both want the same things, it all boils down to the details of their proposals….

9:46 — Got you at 9:45, didn’t I? It probably boils down, sadly enough, to who radiates more empathy or something.

9:47 — Go Brokaw! Who needs a more detailed discussion if it’s against the rules?

9:48 — McCain: “That one.” Hmmmm.

9:49 — If the markets react to the possibility of more oil years in 5-10 years, then they’re even more hair trigger than I thought.

9:50 — Why is McCain wandering around in the background? And why is Obama not answering the “is health care a commodity” question? It’s a gimme for discussing McCain’s attempt to push everyone into the market as individual purchasers…

9:52 — Okay, Obama’s sorta doing it now.

9:53 — Does the Obama plan have an employer mandate? Gotta check.

9:54 — It looks like it does. Well, you need either an individual mandate or an employer mandate.

9:59 — That was actually a pretty good health care debate. Color me surprised. Of course, on this issue I side with Obama, and I’m saddened that McCain’s proposed a plan that’s actually worse than the status quo.

10:01 — I hate to sound like just about everyone else with a keyboard and push-publication capability, but the problem for McCain on the Iraq issue is that most people don’t agree with him. I think he needs to stop framing this as a judgment question–“Obama opposed the surge”–and instead frame the issue as “Obama wants to leave before the mission is done.”

10:06 — Okay, he did… but not in a very effective way.

10:08 — The Cambodia analogy is actually a pretty good one to put in a question about crossing Pakistan’s border. Bet Obama ignores it.

10:10 — What would Teddy Roosevelt do?

10:14 — Ouch. Will Obama get under McCain’s skin with that dig at his stability? Alienate undecideds? McCain’s response depends on the strength of his brand, which isn’t in the best shape ever right now.

But this is pretty much a distinction without a difference.

When McCain says he’ll get Bin Laden, but he won’t “announce” he’s going to do it, he “telegraphed” that he would.

10:20 — We are all Georgians now. Misha Saakashvili won by losing.

10:22 — Doesn’t Obama know we already gave Georgia a billion dollars with no strings attached? And what does Misha do? Crack down on the press.

10:25a — I suppose it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the best moments of the debate came when they ignored the rules.

10:25b — McCain’s patting of that guy on the back probably helped him more than anything he said tonight.

10:28 — They both go out looking strong.

10:33 — The known unknowns or the unknown unknowns? … Now we get the biographies. Obama kind of stumbled on his. McCain definitely has a better swan song.

10:34 — I’ll bet that McCain blocking the script becomes the most replayed part of the debate.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.