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...a sweatshop of moxie

Monday, August 18, 2008

Before McCain Hit That Grand Slam

A relatively underreported quasi-debate between the two presumed candidates for the Presidency took place on Saturday.

That it took place at Saddleback Church, an evangelical megachurch in the heart of Orange County, was surprising to a lot of us, but even more surprising was that the format included:

1- The reverend, Rick Warren, asking identical questions of each candidate

2- Each candidate received a full hour of scrutiny, and a chance to answer each question at length

3- No journalist asking "gotcha" questions, in a constant rehash of bullet points on Iraq, the economy, America's deteriorating this-that-or-the other

It was so refreshing to see this forum, that one almost forgot this was an important political stop in a campaign that has stalled nationally since Senator Clinton declared defeat.

For almost 3 months afterwards, we've only had national ads as our lone chance to compare candidates directly, plus a foreign tour where one candidate decided he'd rather court plaudits in Berlin than in America.

Frankly, I was wondering when the campaign would begin in earnest, and I'm happy to say, it finally began on Saturday.

Those of you who watched this forum already know that Senator John McCain impressed. He is not a religious man, nor is he particularly an evangelical-approved Conservative Republican.

But in his rapid-fire responses, Americans once again heard what a relaxed Commander-in-Chief would sound like -- and not an embattled, defensive man always thinking two steps ahead to the inevitable gotcha question like President Bush has sounded for, oh, about 7 years now.

Actually, as I was composing this post about the Saddleback forum, I was suddenly reminded I had seen a very similar performance from President Bush, and it wasn't dated sometime in early 2001.

Moreover, it was a performance which showed him earnest, affable, answering questions without a single hesitation or mangled sentence, and further, had been full of probing questions -- but lacking in the usual tense animosity towards him.

Do you recall it?

It was none other than at the NBC studios with Bob Costas, sports geek extraordinare, having a 3 minute chat with President Bush during the a break in the Beijing Olympics coverage.

Don't take my word for it. Here it is below.

If McCain hit a grand slam at Saddleback, it can be said that Bush got on base, and even stole 2nd when they least expected him to.

I can't recall when there was such a fantastic week for Republicans, as this mid-week boon in August '08.

It may be the most significant moment before the Democratic Convention, which promises to be more controversial than anything the Olympics have coughed up so far.

I can't wait.

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  • Vic, I think you scrambled the "watched this forum" link.

    By Blogger JSU, at Mon Aug 18, 10:28:00 am GMT-4  

  • I'm actually amazed that Obama and his supporters are breaking the First Rule of Holes after this event. The campaign's "McCain cheated!" insinuations and Sullivan's attack on McCain's most resonant moment are only serving to draw more attention to what happened.

    What would be interesting is if McCain used the "cheating" accusations to rope Obama into another forum. I'm sure he wouldn't even mind going first this time.

    By Blogger JSU, at Mon Aug 18, 12:45:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Bob Costas might be a good replacement for Tim Russert, no? And he's already on the payroll. I will definitely miss Bush 43. The Anchoress has written about this and I heartily concur. I do genuinely like the man. His daughter's wedding was a good moment, too. Him throwing out the first pitch at the first game after 9/11 was boffo. He is a sports nut and loves being around those folks. Soldiers, too.

    The last good week for Republicans that I can remember was the week of Reagan's funeral in June of 2004. It had to have helped the reelection. [John Paul II's funeral in April 2005 was also helpful, IIRC.]

    I liked the format, too. It's obvious from both these fellows winning highly contested nominations that they have political savvy. Now let's see about who they are, how they think, delegate and make decisions, and what vision they have for America. Armed with information, Americans usually get it right.

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Mon Aug 18, 04:37:00 pm GMT-4  

  • GWB did have a good debate moment - against Kerry, I think. So good that the Lefties insisted that he had to have cheated. That's how it works. Republican candidates are stupid. Thus, for them to beat a Democrat - intelligent, by definition - they must cheat. I think that was the "WiFi" complaint debate. "Bush was wearing a WiFi! He cheated!"

    Obama reveals himself increasingly as devoid of any substance. Any at all.

    By Blogger benning, at Mon Aug 18, 07:02:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Just to let you guys and Benning know, we're okay down here. Fay was a bust. I've seen more rain on a lazy June SoFla afternoon than what we got last night. It's breezy right now, but no big whoop.

    Now, I'm concerned about Benning! How are you up there??


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Aug 19, 11:42:00 am GMT-4  

  • It's gusty, cloudy, but the gubmint is saying to just stay aware that things could change.

    We're no longer expecting to get much in the way of rain and big winds.

    Good to know you had an easy time of it, Vicks!

    By Blogger benning, at Tue Aug 19, 12:20:00 pm GMT-4  

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