One conclusion from the debate

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piston
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One conclusion from the debate

Post by piston » Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:48 pm

Both candidates are superior to our last two candidates......
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:57 pm

Experience and Inexperience... :wink:
The Orator and the Mumbler... :mrgreen:
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Ralph » Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:05 pm

McCain did very well. While nothing he said would make me want to see him win the election, he handled the questions and his opponent skillfully. Obama was sharper on specifics while McCain did fall back on generalities too often.
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Barry » Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:21 pm

piston wrote:Both candidates are superior to our last two candidates......
As I said to Chalkie earlier tonight, this is the best choice we've had for president in the past several elections.

And to those who were putting out the notion that McCain was afraid to debate Obama, I think that's been put to rest.
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Barry » Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:35 pm

Ralph wrote: ... Obama was sharper on specifics while McCain did fall back on generalities too often.
A focus group Frank Lutz watched the debate with came to just the opposite conclusion. They said if they wanted Obama to do one thing differently, it was to give more details.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Agnes Selby » Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:37 pm

Obama reminded me of a high school debater. I used
to tell my son to learn his lines well before a debate.
Just like Obama, my son did, but he never became president. :wink:

Of course, I did remind my son to never, ever resort
to smirking. Someone forgot to give this advice to Obama. :shock:

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by GK » Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:44 pm

The smirker was McCain not Obama.

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by anasazi » Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:10 pm

While I don't agree that this years' candidates are better than either Senator Kerry or Vice President Gore, at least McCain seemed to be on good debating ground. Perhaps his abilities were underestimated? While I felt that McC scored more points, for me, they were often the wrong points. But if I were a truly independant viewer, I would probably say the McCain had won the first debate.

I'm not sure that Obama can afford to allow the next debate go this way if he wants to win the election. What was this anyway: be nice to an old guy week?
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by RebLem » Sat Sep 27, 2008 12:32 am

My general overwhelming impression was that McCain was insulting, condescending, dismissive, and frequently, especially toward the end, interrupted Obama and refused to allow him to make his points. This was what got George H.W. Bush in trouble in 1992. He kept saying Clinton's accusations and views were ridiculous, and was very insulting. Voters intervened, and said, "Hey, buddy, not so fast. WE'LL decide what's ridiculous and what's not," and elected Clinton.

OTOH, Obama allowed McCain to interrupt him. He tried to get back to his points on what was supposed to be his response time, but McCain kept charging ahead, talking over him. It made McCain look rude, but it also made Obama look weak, and Jim Lehrer, too, for failing to enforce the time rules and insist that Obama be allowed to respond.

Most frustrating of all, for me, was what Obama didn't say. When McCain told his heartwarming story about attending a re-enlistment ceremony in Baghdad, for example, and how he felt all the troops encouraged him in his campaign, Obama should have pointed out that people vote with their dollars in campaign contributions, and the two people with the largest contributions from the troops themselves are Barack Obama and Ron Paul, both of whom oppose the war in Iraq.

So, IMHO, it depends on what voters decide they want most in a president. If they want someone who is assertive, aggressive, and domineering, they will vote for McCain. If people want civility and collegiality, they will vote for Obama.

I checked out all three cable networks and even Charles Krauthammer on FAUX News, no water carrier for Obama he, said as a debate it was a draw, but since it was on a subject that was supposed to be McCain's strong suit, he felt he'd have to say Obama had a slight edge.


Posted on September 26th, 2008, the 1,976th day after Shrub announced that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, the 40th day before the November 4th US general election, and the 117th day before the end of the Cheney Kakistocracy. RebLem
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by TopoGigio » Sat Sep 27, 2008 5:01 am

McCain & Obie are a bad dream for US.They are bad for EU,also.
And its bad for them,also two... :? (improvising)

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Teresa B » Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:27 am

I saw only half the debates last night, but I would tend to agree with Robb's post. I was unimpressed with the substance, as far as details, from either one of them. I did think McCain looked more rested and energetic than he had in the video the other day, but I got an impression of grumpiness from him, and of too little passion, too much acquiescence from Obama.

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Agnes Selby » Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:51 am

I think they both did fairly well within that limited scope.
McCain came across more aggressive as though he expected
a concentrated attack from Obama. At times Obama
seemed flustered calling McCain Tom and Jim. Obama
gave a good rendition of himself but McCain came across
as the more savvy of the two, posibly due to his age and
experience. The next debates may be more revealing.

I do not think much more could have been said about the
fiscal problems at this point in time when nothing has been
resolved. At least we have not heard of any resolution here
in Australia.

Agnes.

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by piston » Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:53 am

I checked out all three cable networks and even Charles Krauthammer on FAUX News, no water carrier for Obama he, said as a debate it was a draw, but since it was on a subject that was supposed to be McCain's strong suit, he felt he'd have to say Obama had a slight edge.
A look at today's polls, including instant polling from last night, indicates that it's pretty much a tie between men but Obama has the edge among women and the uncommitted. It does not look like McCain gave Palin a running lead for the next debate but perhaps she can make a significant difference among last night's women supporters of Obama.
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:33 am

Teresa B wrote:I saw only half the debates last night, but I would tend to agree with Robb's post. I was unimpressed with the substance, as far as details, from either one of them. I did think McCain looked more rested and energetic than he had in the video the other day, but I got an impression of grumpiness from him, and of too little passion, too much acquiescence from Obama.

Teresa
The problem with these debates is that they are a lose/lose situation for the candidates, who can (and this is not specific to these two) misrepresent each other for the sake of picking up a few more votes until kingdom come and only leave thoughtful voters more confused. They can't refuse to debate (though McCain almost managed to) because that looks bad automatically, but modern presidential debates have become a case of not who wins but who loses less.

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by stenka razin » Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:42 am

RebLem wrote:My general overwhelming impression was that McCain was insulting, condescending, dismissive, and frequently, especially toward the end, interrupted Obama and refused to allow him to make his points. This was what got George H.W. Bush in trouble in 1992. He kept saying Clinton's accusations and views were ridiculous, and was very insulting. Voters intervened, and said, "Hey, buddy, not so fast. WE'LL decide what's ridiculous and what's not," and elected Clinton.

OTOH, Obama allowed McCain to interrupt him. He tried to get back to his points on what was supposed to be his response time, but McCain kept charging ahead, talking over him. It made McCain look rude, but it also made Obama look weak, and Jim Lehrer, too, for failing to enforce the time rules and insist that Obama be allowed to respond.

Most frustrating of all, for me, was what Obama didn't say. When McCain told his heartwarming story about attending a re-enlistment ceremony in Baghdad, for example, and how he felt all the troops encouraged him in his campaign, Obama should have pointed out that people vote with their dollars in campaign contributions, and the two people with the largest contributions from the troops themselves are Barack Obama and Ron Paul, both of whom oppose the war in Iraq.

So, IMHO, it depends on what voters decide they want most in a president. If they want someone who is assertive, aggressive, and domineering, they will vote for McCain. If people want civility and collegiality, they will vote for Obama.

I checked out all three cable networks and even Charles Krauthammer on FAUX News, no water carrier for Obama he, said as a debate it was a draw, but since it was on a subject that was supposed to be McCain's strong suit, he felt he'd have to say Obama had a slight edge.


Posted on September 26th, 2008, the 1,976th day after Shrub announced that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, the 40th day before the November 4th US general election, and the 117th day before the end of the Cheney Kakistocracy. RebLem
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by slofstra » Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:46 am

I only watched the 3.5 minute version on WSJ.COM. Obama looked really good selling the economic stabilization plan. Put the whole business in a few simple terms; his ability to convince is very impressive. And he earned credibility by saying some tough spending decisions would have to be made. Then McCain looked like a nincompoop in directly contradicting what Obama had just said, telling us that Obama would increase spending. This is the problem with indexing into your standard talking points, they can play out in unexpected ways.
After that the split screen showed McCain looking like his back was bothering him while Obama linked him with Bush. McCain came back very strong and quite effectively by mentioning 5 or 6 specific policies on which he had opposed Bush. He concluded by describing himself as a maverick, which was fine, but deflated his point slightly by then praising his running mate.

I'm glad everyone was impressed by both candidates; looks like you're going to need a great President.

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Donald Isler » Sat Sep 27, 2008 12:34 pm

I agree with Piston's and Barry's first comments.

I don't think either candidate scored a knock-out punch, but I think the debate may have helped McCain because:

1) He was more aggressive, and many people like that,

2) He looked good, not tired or particularly old, and

3) He's white! We have never before seen a black presidential candidate confronting a white one in a debate, and it IS part of the situation, and it WILL make the difference for some. I am sorry to say that some of the Jewish community is not free of this attitude. I talked with a friend the other day whose parents are liberal Jewish Democrats, and they cannot abide the thought of a black man as president. It is much more discrete than years ago, but I am sure many will not vote for Obama for because of his race, but will not admit this.
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Bro » Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:29 pm

I listened to it on XM radio. A lot nicer when you don't have to look at the candidates. :(

I was impressed with McCain. Obama is starting to sound like a rather dull professor. Of course, they both promise the American people they can have their cake and eat it. And Americans want to be lied to. Looks like bigger deficits and more hard times ahead.

On the bright side, that Palin sure looks like a tasty dish, don't she ? :lol: (Sorry, couldn't resist)


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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Guitarist » Sat Sep 27, 2008 4:03 pm

RebLem wrote:My general overwhelming impression was that McCain was insulting, condescending, dismissive, and frequently, especially toward the end, interrupted Obama and refused to allow him to make his points. [/color][/i][/b]
Absolutely! McCain was also the first to attack his opponent. I wish there were a stipulation that neither candidate can even mention the other one: they should focus solely on their own views. Maybe then we'd have fewer distortions, manipulations, and lies.

Obama handled the attacks and outright lies with grace and aplomb, something we hear precious little of from McCain.

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by slofstra » Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:33 pm

Donald Isler wrote:I agree with Piston's and Barry's first comments.

I don't think either candidate scored a knock-out punch, but I think the debate may have helped McCain because:

1) He was more aggressive, and many people like that,

2) He looked good, not tired or particularly old, and

3) He's white! We have never before seen a black presidential candidate confronting a white one in a debate, and it IS part of the situation, and it WILL make the difference for some. I am sorry to say that some of the Jewish community is not free of this attitude. I talked with a friend the other day whose parents are liberal Jewish Democrats, and they cannot abide the thought of a black man as president. It is much more discrete than years ago, but I am sure many will not vote for Obama for because of his race, but will not admit this.
From watching past debates in Canada, I've come to realize you always over-rate your own person. I think it's because you naturally discount the points of the opponent and think your candidate's points are the best ones.

That aside, there is the question which you mention here, of who a good showing would help more, McCain or Obama. From what I've read in the press, McCain would be helped more because the expectations for Obama were already much higher. I'm not sure if I agree with that. Although Obama's pure speaking ability is recognized, there is more uncertainty about him as President, that lack of experience factor. So even an "okay" showing is going to dispel the FUD factor in Obama's case. What do you think?

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Madame » Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:49 pm

People ... these were NOT debates ... if you were pro-Obama going in, he won ... if you were pro-McCain going in ... he won. There wasn't enough time for substance on any topic, it was more about style.

As far as attacking ... interrupting ... sadly, that's part of the territory in 'debates' like this. I watched ... I don't think either won ... but I do think McCain did better than many expected. I think he maintained his composure better than Obama, said more in fewer words. Obama does smirk, and he doesn't know when to shut up.

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Sep 27, 2008 7:10 pm

slofstra wrote:Although Obama's pure speaking ability is recognized, there is more uncertainty about him as President, that lack of experience factor. What do you think?
Not having seen him speak without a Tele Prompter before, I felt the same as the BBC Reporter who wondered why he has so much trouble putting together a coherent sentence, I was shocked by how bad he was actually...made me think it was all over, then I remembered that the Other Guy, the Experienced One, who knew all those People around the World, and had been to all those Places with Funny Sounding Names was a Rebublican... :lol:
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by slofstra » Sat Sep 27, 2008 7:30 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
slofstra wrote:Although Obama's pure speaking ability is recognized, there is more uncertainty about him as President, that lack of experience factor. What do you think?
Not having seen him speak without a Tele Prompter before, I felt the same as the BBC Reporter who wondered why he has so much trouble putting together a coherent sentence, I was shocked by how bad he was actually...made me think it was all over, then I remembered that the Other Guy, the Experienced One, who knew all those People around the World, and had been to all those Places with Funny Sounding Names was a Rebublican... :lol:
I certainly didn't see any evidence of that in the 3 minutes I saw. :)

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:14 pm

slofstra wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
slofstra wrote:Although Obama's pure speaking ability is recognized, there is more uncertainty about him as President, that lack of experience factor. What do you think?
Not having seen him speak without a Tele Prompter before, I felt the same as the BBC Reporter who wondered why he has so much trouble putting together a coherent sentence, I was shocked by how bad he was actually...made me think it was all over, then I remembered that the Other Guy, the Experienced One, who knew all those People around the World, and had been to all those Places with Funny Sounding Names was a Rebublican... :lol:
I certainly didn't see any evidence of that in the 3 minutes I saw. :)
It was pathetic, how on earth he amassed this many supporters is totally beyond me, The Messiah, no way, the Choir Boy maybe... :mrgreen:
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by SaulChanukah » Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:57 pm

One thing that I don't get from both candidates is the whole business of cutting the taxes, especially I don't get Obama's stance on the tax cut. Is he for it or against it?
He flipped on and off this question, rotating around it, he's for it but then against it.....

Why cant we hear a clear position?

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by piston » Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:20 pm

From watching past debates in Canada, I've come to realize you always over-rate your own person. I think it's because you naturally discount the points of the opponent and think your candidate's points are the best ones.
Mr. Slofstra, haven't you read the first post at the beginning of this thread, followed by Barry's and Donald Isler's? People can remain objective. Now, where do you stand, given that you watched three minutes and were predisposed to call McCain with bad names even before the debate?
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by slofstra » Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:06 pm

were predisposed to call McCain with bad names
Really? When?

Also, you might have missed my earlier post at 10:46 in which I complimented Mr. McCain.

While I think one can assess each speaker as a rhetorician, given that both are reasonably skilled in that department, and given that at this stage they both better be, then yes, it's hard to say who won. I think what one hopes for is that 'your' candidate does justice to 'your' point of view, and if that is accomplished you always think 'your' side has won.

I suppose if you were apolitical or apathetic, a reed blowing back and forth in the wind, you might be objective enough to be able to call a winner.

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by piston » Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:10 pm

Henry:
Your reference to a lower part of the anatomy we all have in common came before the debate.
Or am I missing something about the English language and it's a common expression, such as putting lipstick on a pig.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Steinway » Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:45 pm

Donald Isler wrote:
I agree with Piston's and Barry's first comments.

I don't think either candidate scored a knock-out punch, but I think the debate may have helped McCain because:

1) He was more aggressive, and many people like that,

2) He looked good, not tired or particularly old, and

3) He's white! We have never before seen a black presidential candidate confronting a white one in a debate, and it IS part of the situation, and it WILL make the difference for some. I am sorry to say that some of the Jewish community is not free of this attitude. I talked with a friend the other day whose parents are liberal Jewish Democrats, and they cannot abide the thought of a black man as president. It is much more discrete than years ago, but I am sure many will not vote for Obama for because of his race, but will not admit this.

Your comments about some Jewish voters not voting for Obama because he's black is sickening and shameful, if true. How any Jew can take that stance in the face of the all of the vicious anti-semitism in this country is beyond belief.

I hope you're wrong, Donald.

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Sep 27, 2008 11:19 pm

Maybe Obama should bring this up next time...

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/28/us/po ... aVtQ363Vyg
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by slofstra » Sat Sep 27, 2008 11:40 pm

piston wrote:Henry:
Your reference to a lower part of the anatomy we all have in common came before the debate.
Or am I missing something about the English language and it's a common expression, such as putting lipstick on a pig.
Mmm. If I recall my reference was in relation to him becoming involved in the Bail-out issue, and with particular reference to viewing a tape of how McCain said he would straighten out the situation, in which he appeared to resemble, through his remarks, a certain relative of the donkey family. It wasn't meant to apply generally. And I probably shouldn't have singled out McCain, although Obama's participation did not seem as damaging.

The Globe this morning expressed a similar apprehension. The main headline, "AN ECONOMIC CRISIS DESCENDS INTO FARCE".

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Sep 27, 2008 11:45 pm

RebLem wrote:If people want civility and collegiality, they will vote for Obama.
I don't want an Obambi, a hale fellow well met. I want someone capable of making decisions. Obama ain't that guy with 130 "present" votes.
Henry wrote:While I think one can assess each speaker as a rhetorician
,

I don't want one of them either. Sure, moving the public to do unpleasant things is part of the modern president's job description, but give it to me straight, plain and unadorned. Just tell me what you want me to do and why. That takes less rhetorical skill than clear thinking.
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by slofstra » Sat Sep 27, 2008 11:59 pm

I don't want one of them either. Sure, moving the public to do unpleasant things is part of the modern president's job description, but give it to me straight, plain and unadorned. Just tell me what you want me to do and why. That takes less rhetorical skill than clear thinking.
I'm not sure that 'straight, plain and unadorned' and 'skillful rhetoric' stand in opposition. And 'clear thinking' is the foundation of rhetorical clarity. Rhetoric is a time-honored art; it's not about sophistry or being manipulative.

Personally, I think it is the most important part of what the President does, and it's what distinguishes men like Lincoln, Reagan and Clinton.
When Obama talked about the financial crisis he did it in such a way that any reasonable person could understand what he was saying, and could not help but be influenced to support the process and the plan. This is a skill that very few individuals possess. Hillary Clinton did not, that's for certain.

But I think my larger point was that the art of speaking does not win televised debates; the viewers' preconceptions are a greater determinant. As per Colleen's comments, I might add.

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Sep 28, 2008 12:32 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
RebLem wrote:If people want civility and collegiality, they will vote for Obama.
I don't want an Obambi, a hale fellow well met. I want someone capable of making decisions. Obama ain't that guy with 130 "present" votes.
Henry wrote:While I think one can assess each speaker as a rhetorician
,

I don't want one of them either. Sure, moving the public to do unpleasant things is part of the modern president's job description, but give it to me straight, plain and unadorned. Just tell me what you want me to do and why. That takes less rhetorical skill than clear thinking.
Agreed... :mrgreen:
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:06 am

Nora Ephron wrote: Ringside...

There was a moment, when the debate ended and the wives came up on stage, where I actually knew, or thought I knew, who had won. I'm sorry to say it, but it was John McCain. McCain had come into the debate having spent the week as the King of the Loose Screws, but he got through the night without a sign of his irrational behavior, and that seemed like a big win for him.

I was, by the way, the least pessimistic person in the room where we watched the debate, a room full of blue-state pinkos, and our hearts had collectively sunk as we watched Obama miss opportunity after opportunity to score a knockout punch -- as the men in the room tended to put it. (Women are at a decided disadvantage in conversations of this sort: we have no interest whatsoever in the resemblance of presidential candidates to people like Rocky Marciano and Archie Moore.) Because everyone in the room was so depressed and simultaneously full of manly boxing references, I felt guilty even mentioning my concerns about Obama's shirt, which was too loose around his neck, and which was another reason why I thought he had lost the debate -- that, along with his incredibly irritating habit of closing his eyes while standing up.

Anyway, as I say, the impression that McCain had won lasted about a minute, when we began flipping through the stations expecting all our fears to be validated by the dozens of commentators ready to offer their views. To our amazement, the only overlap between our room and the pundits were the boxing references. Obama had won. Even the people who thought McCain had won more rounds than Obama thought Obama had won. McCain had been patronizing. He'd referred to Pakistan as a failed state, which turned out to be untrue. Even Charles Krauthammer thought Obama had done fine. A focus group of undecided voters in Nevada on the Fox Channel (Fox!) had responded more positively to Obama than to McCain.

Could this possibly be true? I don't know. But I decided to do the only thing I could under the circumstances: stop watching the pundits on television for fear it would all change again. They will be on all night discussing the heavyweight championship of the world, but I am going to sleep.
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:55 am

slofstra wrote:I'm not sure that 'straight, plain and unadorned' and 'skillful rhetoric' stand in opposition. And 'clear thinking' is the foundation of rhetorical clarity. Rhetoric is a time-honored art; it's not about sophistry or being manipulative.
After 4 years of Latin, especially the year I studied Cicero, familiarized me with rhetoric as a concept, I would have been inclined to agree with you. That would have been before I had occasion to learn of the second definition of rhetoric, i.e., language designed to persuade or impress (often with the implication of insincerity or exaggeration). Webster's Syn/An discusses rhetorical thus: Rhetorical describes a style, discourse, passage, phrase, or word which, however skillfully constructed or chosen and however effective, impresses the reader or hearer as not natural or effortless, but the result of conscious endeavor to produce an effect. Rhetoricians have a rep as slick snake-oil salesmen, i.e., sophists whose success depends on verbal and logical tricks of apparent substance but empty upon examination. You never heard Lincoln or Truman or Reagan or Clinton referred to as "great rhetoricians" for a reason.
Personally, I think it is the most important part of what the President does, and it's what distinguishes men like Lincoln, Reagan and Clinton.
I know you think you are praising these men, but you aren't. The most important thing a president does is decide. When the people are with him by virtue of what he decides to do, he doesn't have to persuade him to follow. They do it gladly. Persuasive ability only comes into play when they don't want to go where he leads. We've had 8 years of a president who often decided to do the unpopular, and then behaved as though he had a right to public support without doing anything to earn it. He wasn't. But his view of the media and his singularly inept speaking abilities left him more bereft of public support than he needed to be. He had only to "play like" the public's good will mattered.
When Obama talked about the financial crisis he did it in such a way that any reasonable person could understand what he was saying, and could not help but be influenced to support the process and the plan.
I dunno. I didn't listen. I do know he wouldn't have persuaded me. But I gotta ask: Were you already in favor of doing something, anything, in the financial market situation? In the interest of full disclosure, I've been in favor of some kind of deal because the public already thinks Republicans are the cause of the current state of the economy however it is perceived (the MSM have been "talking it down" for 7 years despite evidence to the contrary, but who in the general public looks at the statistical abstract?) and for Republicans to be the cause of "no deal" at all would invite voter retribution would be swift and awful. If I were undecided, I wouldn't take Obama's word for it.
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by slofstra » Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:47 am

Chalkperson wrote:
Nora Ephron wrote: Ringside...

There was a moment, when the debate ended and the wives came up on stage, where I actually knew, or thought I knew, who had won. I'm sorry to say it, but it was John McCain. McCain had come into the debate having spent the week as the King of the Loose Screws, but he got through the night without a sign of his irrational behavior, and that seemed like a big win for him.

I was, by the way, the least pessimistic person in the room where we watched the debate, a room full of blue-state pinkos, and our hearts had collectively sunk as we watched Obama miss opportunity after opportunity to score a knockout punch -- as the men in the room tended to put it. (Women are at a decided disadvantage in conversations of this sort: we have no interest whatsoever in the resemblance of presidential candidates to people like Rocky Marciano and Archie Moore.) Because everyone in the room was so depressed and simultaneously full of manly boxing references, I felt guilty even mentioning my concerns about Obama's shirt, which was too loose around his neck, and which was another reason why I thought he had lost the debate -- that, along with his incredibly irritating habit of closing his eyes while standing up.

Anyway, as I say, the impression that McCain had won lasted about a minute, when we began flipping through the stations expecting all our fears to be validated by the dozens of commentators ready to offer their views. To our amazement, the only overlap between our room and the pundits were the boxing references. Obama had won. Even the people who thought McCain had won more rounds than Obama thought Obama had won. McCain had been patronizing. He'd referred to Pakistan as a failed state, which turned out to be untrue. Even Charles Krauthammer thought Obama had done fine. A focus group of undecided voters in Nevada on the Fox Channel (Fox!) had responded more positively to Obama than to McCain.

Could this possibly be true? I don't know. But I decided to do the only thing I could under the circumstances: stop watching the pundits on television for fear it would all change again. They will be on all night discussing the heavyweight championship of the world, but I am going to sleep.
This has happened to me countless times. Generally, I have cheered on the Conservative or Reform candidates the last 25 years or so. I always think they "won the debate" and the MSM here never do. Thus, my comments above on the highly subjective trajectory one engages in when following a debate. (Note that structured, academic debates are an entirely different matter; as Colleen noted these are not really debates.)

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by slofstra » Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:51 am

slofstra wrote:
I'm not sure that 'straight, plain and unadorned' and 'skillful rhetoric' stand in opposition. And 'clear thinking' is the foundation of rhetorical clarity. Rhetoric is a time-honored art; it's not about sophistry or being manipulative.


After 4 years of Latin, especially the year I studied Cicero, familiarized me with rhetoric as a concept, I would have been inclined to agree with you. That would have been before I had occasion to learn of the second definition of rhetoric, i.e., language designed to persuade or impress (often with the implication of insincerity or exaggeration). Webster's Syn/An discusses rhetorical thus: Rhetorical describes a style, discourse, passage, phrase, or word which, however skillfully constructed or chosen and however effective, impresses the reader or hearer as not natural or effortless, but the result of conscious endeavor to produce an effect. Rhetoricians have a rep as slick snake-oil salesmen, i.e., sophists whose success depends on verbal and logical tricks of apparent substance but empty upon examination. You never heard Lincoln or Truman or Reagan or Clinton referred to as "great rhetoricians" for a reason.
I never studied rhetoric, but I once used the phrase "empty rhetoric" in conversation with one of my English profs, and got a thorough chewing out, and a brief lesson on the kind of history you describe. Unfortunately, "rhetoric" now has that connotation, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't work to restore its more noble past. (Not that I'd know anything about how to accomplish that).

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by slofstra » Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:55 am

Quote:
Personally, I think it is the most important part of what the President does, and it's what distinguishes men like Lincoln, Reagan and Clinton.


I know you think you are praising these men, but you aren't. The most important thing a president does is decide. When the people are with him by virtue of what he decides to do, he doesn't have to persuade him to follow. They do it gladly. Persuasive ability only comes into play when they don't want to go where he leads. We've had 8 years of a president who often decided to do the unpopular, and then behaved as though he had a right to public support without doing anything to earn it. He wasn't. But his view of the media and his singularly inept speaking abilities left him more bereft of public support than he needed to be. He had only to "play like" the public's good will mattered.
Well, let's pretend the opposite is true, and see how that flies: that deciding is the least important thing. Bush would be an object lesson. Really, a lot of good ideas at the outset. Certainly, decisive and action oriented. But not one who really could 'lead'. That might not be entirely his fault, as the USA is a very divided country.
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by slofstra » Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:59 am

Quote:
When Obama talked about the financial crisis he did it in such a way that any reasonable person could understand what he was saying, and could not help but be influenced to support the process and the plan.


I dunno. I didn't listen. I do know he wouldn't have persuaded me. But I gotta ask: Were you already in favor of doing something, anything, in the financial market situation? In the interest of full disclosure, I've been in favor of some kind of deal because the public already thinks Republicans are the cause of the current state of the economy however it is perceived (the MSM have been "talking it down" for 7 years despite evidence to the contrary, but who in the general public looks at the statistical abstract?) and for Republicans to be the cause of "no deal" at all would invite voter retribution would be swift and awful. If I were undecided, I wouldn't take Obama's word for it.
As much as we've disagreed on some things, I wouldn't be party to blaming Republicans, anymore than I go along with the dichotomy of 'Wall Street' and 'Main Street". The more I think about the problem, the more I perceive it as a moral issue with good guys and bad guys at every point. I'm about to read the Sunday NYT's big piece on AIG, which is looking like an object lesson in what went wrong - the greed cancer infecting one rogue division within a large, successful, basically well meaning corporation with its main business in boring old casualty insurance.
Oops, I didn't answer your question. The bailout proposal came as a complete surprise to me. When the top two tacticians running the economy say this is what you have to do, it's impossible to say no. Because it's so bloody complicated.
Have you run into the following line of reasoning? The 30s depression was the result of lack of govt reaction to the 1929 Crash. Had they acted correctly the Great Depression wouldn't have lasted 10 years. Ben Bernanke is a student of the Depression event, and wanted that to not happen this time. This is why he proposed this massive intervention. Geez, I hope that bit of mythologizing is correct, and that Bernanke has come up with the right answer here.

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Sep 28, 2008 3:14 pm

Henry wrote:I once used the phrase "empty rhetoric" in conversation with one of my English profs, and got a thorough chewing out, and a brief lesson on the kind of history you describe. Unfortunately, "rhetoric" now has that connotation, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't work to restore its more noble past. (Not that I'd know anything about how to accomplish that).
Well, when you use it, you must certainly be conscious of the word's more recent - several hundred years - connotation and realize that you, all by yourself, can't overcome the baggage. Pick another word or term, like "great communicator" or "effective speaker." That gets the job done without having to endure lectures from products of misspent youth like me. :wink:
Henry wrote:Well, let's pretend the opposite is true, and see how that flies.
Let's not, because it isn't. That "let's pretend" is in itself a rhetorical trick. :wink: According to legend, Lincoln was in a cabinet meeting and asked "If we call a dog's tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?" When the others offered up "5", he said "No, only 4. A dog's tail is not a leg." The need for great speaking ability is primarily a function of the tremendous improvements in timely communication enjoyed over the last 100-150 years. The 20th century experienced increases in 1) the numbers of people that had to be convinced of the wisdom of decisions, 2) the pressures from collapsing the time in which those people had to be convinced to act, and 3) the methods by which decision-makers could persuade the people. Back in the good ol' days, before rapid communications, the president had to convince only people in Congress. The public at large wouldn't find out about what had been decided for days, sometimes weeks. That luxury of time disappeared with such innovations as the telegraph, the laying of the transatlantic cable, tickers, news wires, C-SPAN etc. I add the last somewhat puckishly, but the fact is rational government cannot occur 100% in the light of day. I personally think one of the reasons governing has become so difficult in the last 30 years is because with C-SPAN and 24/7 news agencies, the public has been too much involved in what Congress and the president do, while at the same time the public is busy with daily life and doesn't have enough time to be knowledgeable about the issues on which it wants to have a say. It's a terrible conundrum: speed in communications allows more people in a democracy to be involved in the decisions, while the inflexibility of the 24-hr day makes it less likely the people will know enough to contribute reasonably intelligently.
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by slofstra » Sun Sep 28, 2008 6:17 pm

That "let's pretend" is in itself a rhetorical trick.
Well, let's pretend that it's not a rhetorical trick, and then you can actually reply to the point.

As far as the question of "rhetoric", there are good reasons not to bend to the current trend in thinking; I never thought I'd hear you subject yourself to a passing fancy or fashion in popular thinking. Where's jbuck when we need him? :)
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Sep 28, 2008 6:57 pm

slofstra wrote:
That "let's pretend" is in itself a rhetorical trick.
Well, let's pretend that it's not a rhetorical trick, and then you can actually reply to the point.
No.
As far as the question of "rhetoric", there are good reasons not to bend to the current trend in thinking; I never thought I'd hear you subject yourself to a passing fancy or fashion in popular thinking.
What you think is about the word irrelevant. The definitions I sited to you are number two in Oxford's and the first discussion of "rhetorical" in the Webster's. You buck that wide-spread understanding at the risk of not communicating with your audience. Not my problem.
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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by slofstra » Sun Sep 28, 2008 7:17 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
slofstra wrote:
That "let's pretend" is in itself a rhetorical trick.
Well, let's pretend that it's not a rhetorical trick, and then you can actually reply to the point.
No.
As far as the question of "rhetoric", there are good reasons not to bend to the current trend in thinking; I never thought I'd hear you subject yourself to a passing fancy or fashion in popular thinking.
What you think is about the word irrelevant. The definitions I sited to you are number two in Oxford's and the first discussion of "rhetorical" in the Webster's. You buck that wide-spread understanding at the risk of not communicating with your audience. Not my problem.
Well, that's interesting. However, why don't you check the word "rhetoric" in wikipedia. Can't get more up to date than that.
And you would make me go downstairs to get my two volume Shorter Oxford, 5th edition which is somehow different from your Oxford. Definition 1 is "The art of using language so as to persuade or influence others; the body of rules to be observed ...." And a full column inch later, under definition 2 appears your definition, "Orig., elegance or eloquence of language. Later, language calculated to persuade or impress; freq. derog. or joc.
So there. You are number 2, and also, "later", not to mention, derog. or joc. :)

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Re: One conclusion from the debate

Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Sep 28, 2008 7:31 pm

slofstra wrote:Well, that's interesting. However, why don't you check the word "rhetoric" in wikipedia. Can't get more up to date than that.
No thanks. I'm sticking with Oxford and Webster's.
And you would make me go downstairs to get my two volume Shorter Oxford, 5th edition which is somehow different from your Oxford. Definition 1 is "The art of using language so as to persuade or influence others; the body of rules to be observed ...." And a full column inch later, under definition 2 appears your definition, So there. You are number 2,
You must re-read what I said in both posts. I never said the definition was the first offered. I said it was the second definition. So you didn't have to go fetch up your Oxfords, and you aren't "correcting" me or saying something different from what I said.
and also, "later", not to mention, derog. or joc. :)
I certainly hope so. :lol: As the American Heritage Dictionary editors would say, "Hey! I'm just telling you what the current understanding of the word is, based on decades if not centuries of usage." If you want to dispute the most popular understanding of the term, to resurrect the original favorable connotation, good luck, that's your mission, not mine. :D You just need to understand that most people won't understand the term the way you use it.
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