Comments on the second presidential debate

The transcript can be found at CNN.

Comments on McCain:

  1. When asked to prioritize health care, energy, and entitlement reform (Social Security and Medicare) he did not prioritize them and instead said we can do all three.  Everyone realizes that.  We want to know what’s more important to you.  Obama prioritized his concerns (placing education third and omitting entitlement reform) so we have some indication of the relative importance of certain issues in his mind.
  2. When asked what sacrifices (besides the blood of soldiers) he would require the American people to make he said he would cut government programs that are not working and some that are working.  Keeping taxpayer money away from unfruitful government programs is not a sacrifice, it’s a benefit.  Moreover, cutting government spending does not require Americans to do anything.  On the other hand, Obama thought Americans would have to cut energy use and he mentioned he would like to double the Peace Corps.  He actually calls on Americans to serve others.
  3. The fact that you did not die on a Navy ship that ran on nuclear power does not mean nuclear power has no associated safety concerns.
  4. I don’t see drilling for oil as being a bridge to a future where we use alternative energy.  Barring a miraculous oil find it is simply impossible for the U.S. to meet its oil needs by drilling for oil in its own territory (and off-shore).  Drilling for oil should be the last thing mentioned when discussing energy, not at or near the top.
  5. He did an excellent job of stating that our forces should be used only when there is a just cause and when we have a good chance at success.  Obama noted the just cause but did not fully explain the necessity of having a good chance at success.

Comments on Obama:

  1. I like that he said health care, in a nation this rich, is a right and that we have a moral commitment to provide it.  But he should have addressed how much he would fine for the lack of health insurance in some cases.
  2. He seems to think we should support democracy in Pakistan.  What will he do if and when a democratic Pakistan elects Islamic extremists as leaders?

The last question of the night was:  What don’t you know and how will you learn it?  Both candidates failed to give a real answer.   The fact is we are all ignorant about far more than we are knowledgeable about.  Each candidate could have shown some humility but also some wisdom with a good answer to this question.


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