Responding to the Third and Final Debate

Okay, so I had nothing better to do last night than to watch the final debate between Barack Obama and John McCain.  During this hour and a half nothing new was revealed, the same accusations surfaced and the status quo was never questioned. So nothing new there, and of course nothing new was expected.

What was interesting to me, however, was the extent to which Barack Obama just sat there and let himself get attacked.  It may be that he has a comfortable enough lead and figured he could just ride through the debate.  Yeah, he “clarified” some accusations that the McCain campaign had leveled.  He kept his hands relatively clean by not leveling equivalent accusations at McCain (though there were a couple lame jabs).  And I couldn’t really care less about this mindless side of politics.  Obama was speaking for me in this instance when he stated that the American people do not want politics as usual.  I hope he’s right.

The problem for me was that when pressed on the issues, Obama really didn’t respond the way…well…the way I would like to think that I would have responded.  For many points made by McCain I could think of a number of factual responses that would have been devastating to his argument.  I know that Obama is aware of the same facts that I have.  So why didn’t he use them?

For instance, when discussing the prospects for expanding oil drilling, including off shore drilling, Obama made the claim that he supported drilling on existing leases (which I am against, by the way).  McCain stated that we should start off shore drilling and start it now.

Why didn’t Obama turn to McCain and say, “John, you know that off shore oil drilling will not get us out of our current fuel crisis.  Even if we start new off shore drilling projects right now it will take ten years before any oil from these wells ever come to market.  By that time the oil crisis will be well out of hand.”   Obama did say that the United States has four percent of the world’s oil reserves and uses twenty-five percent of the world’s production.  But this claim by itself contradicts both candidate’s support for expanded drilling.

It was moments like this that reminded me that despite his charisma, Barack Obama is still the status quo candidate.  Granted, the argument can be made that the Obama status quo is less objectionable than the McCain status quo, but neither candidate is offering the radical change required for this nation.

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