Thursday, October 16, 2008

The final Presidential debate

So how did it play out? After the debate, I visited twitter and followed the “tweets” that people had made during the debate. The most sensible thing I read was that we need to judge the candidates on basis of character and strategy.

I commend Obama for citing the risks of borrowing from China (which holds billions in U.S. Treasury notes) to pay Saudi Arabia for oil. For someone like myself who sees an ascending China, a resurgent Russia, and the Middle East as at least major challenges, if not evolving threats, to our national security, I found Obama’s awareness refreshing. However, he provided no specifics on getting the U.S. out of that dilemma.

On energy independence, McCain came out on top by referring to existing proven sources of energy such as nuclear and natural gas. Obama referred to a 10-year plan to make the U.S. energy independent through unproven “green” technologies. He has drawn parallels to JFK’s challenge to put a man on the moon in 10 years. It is a flawed analogy. In JFK’s time, we were engaged in a space race with an identified competitor: the Soviet Union. Having an identified competitor galvanized the U.S. to realize its goal of putting a man on the moon. Will Obama identify an external competitor that will challenge us to become energy-independent? Moreover, I don’t share his faith in ethanol, and chalk that up to the fact that he represents Illinois: corn farmers there have a vested interest in ethanol. Diverting acreage from crops such as wheat and soybeans to corn for ethanol has lead to higher prices for commodities and a world food crisis. I do commend Obama on canceling leases for companies that don’t drill offshore.

On the economy, Obama galvanized prospective voters about the profits made by Big Oil and challenged McCain on cutting corporate tax rates. McCain did not, but should have, answered the issue of Big Oil profits directly. He did make a good case about tying jobs to corporate tax rates, as companies will locate to countries that have lower corporate tax rates.

Evaluating Obama’s and McCain’s health care plan is beyond my “grade level,” except to say that Obama successfully debunked McCain’s assertion that people could go across state lines to buy health insurance in the last debate by saying that insurers would relocate to other states that have less oversight. His analogy was the fact that many companies incorporate in Delaware for the same reason. He didn’t say that last night: wonder why? :)

So there you have it. Debate, please!

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