George Graham

Presidential Debate Was the Same Old Story with the Same Old Spin

What a colossal waste of time! To think that I stayed up past my bedtime to listen to the two major-party presidential candidates “spin” facts and repeat chunks of old stump speeches! Then, I dutifully listened to a bunch of so-called analysts tell me I heard what I didn’t hear and didn’t hear what I heard.

debateFirst of all, anyone who heard anything new last night must just have returned from a prolonged trip to outer space. Second, why doesn’t anyone give a simple answer to a simple question any more? After listening to those two speechify for an hour and a half, my vote goes to Calvin Coolidge, who was known for his laconic replies.

Tom Brokaw (with a straight face!) asked: Do you or don’t you think Russia is an evil empire? Answer yes or no. What a dumb question! But the answer is simple: No. Russia is not an empire. Russians are not evil. Rasputin was evil. Stalin was evil. Putin is kind of evil. The way he had that former KGB guy poisoned was not nice. And the ham-handed attack on Georgia was overkill, even though it was provoked – partly by American intervention in the dispute between South Osettia and Georgia. Somebody needs to have a heart-to-heart chat with that guy.

I won’t go into all the inaccuracies in the debate. Read some of them for yourself at:

At least, McCain didn’t have the gall to repeat the nonsense his running mate has been spouting recently about Obama “palling around with terrorists.” If he had, he would probably have been booed off the stage. If there’s one thing we voters know by now (even the troglodytes who think he’s a Muslim)¬† it’s that Obama is no radical. To some folks in the “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party, he’s a bit of a wuss.

So, what did we learn last night? Not much. My impression of John McCain as a cranky old codger was confirmed. He came off like a shuffling, cackling villain¬† from a Stephen King horror story. As Keith Olbermann duly noted later, his smile was “menacing.” And when McCain pointed disparagingly at Barack Obama, dismissing him as “that one,” he blew whatever chance he had of winning the election. He also came up with some socialistic plan to buy up all the homes that are in foreclosure and turn them into public housing (there goes another three hunded billion dollars). And, oh yes, he wants to make some woman from eBay the next secretary of the treasury.

As for Obama, well, by now his smile is the stuff of which legends are made. I’m surprised some smart entrepreneur hasn’t bottled it and sold it. But what did he say that he hasn’t said over and over and over and over? (Except that he would consider Warren Buffet as the next secretary of the treasury. Let’s hold him to that.)

Neither candidate told us what he plans to do to stop the world economy from falling into an abyss. The answer, of course, is nothing, nada, zilch. By the time the next president gets into a position to do anything, the die will have been cast. With almost three months left in George Bush’s term, we will all be living under an overpass by the time the next president is inaugurated – unless the G-7 comes up with a rescue plan in the meantime.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Obama would be a fine president. He looks good, he wears nice clothes, he carries himself well and speaks good English – and he seems to be a reasonable person. And, most important, he doesn’t just chatter on, bragging and swaggering like his opponent and that silly goose from Alaska. He listens. And he is intelligent enough to understand what he hears.

But he has to learn to answer a question and shut up. As the old saying goes, when you ask him the time he tells you how to build a watch.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for