Well, it was touted to be Friday Night at the Fights at the September 26, 2008 McCain vs.  Obama debate.   The only thing missing was Jimmy Lennon Sr. as the  center ring announcer and Gillette as the sponsor.

At least that what was what I was hoping for.

Who are these guys?   Both candidates have truly amazing life stories that each will bring into the ring tonight.   Talk about differences, these two are really fire and water….

The wide open format that has been selected  sets the stage for what one hopes will be a real battle.   Jimmy Lennon Sr. has been replaced by Jim Lehrer  from PBS and fills in as the referee  as well.   There was even a coin toss somewhere in the mix.   Football, boxing, whatever, this should surely be a sporting event of some kind.   Eight is enough say the Dems. I couldn’t agree more.   After 22 debates by Obama and 15 from McCain so far, here we go again.

Instead, here’s what really happened…

#1 The Financial Recovery Plan was  up first for discussion and Obama quickly throws the first light jab at McCain and the Republicans for their lost accountability and rewarded greed.

Unbelievably, McCain counters with the news that Senator Ted Kennedy has been hospitalized tonight.   What’s that all about? Talk about a performance from an old politician.   It had no place here in my opinion.   When McCain finally gets on track he says, “We have to fix this crisis”.  Well DUH!

I believe that whether it’s Wall Street or Main Street, we should all be on the same street.   They danced and danced for the first 15 minutes but referee Jim couldn’t get them to go toe-to-toe.

#2 Fundamental Differences On How To Get Out Of The Crisis– McCain says if he gets elected he’ll be the new Sheriff in town.   Pork barrel sending will stop.   He’ll veto it all.

Obama agrees! But not on tax cuts for the rich. He further rambles that we need to get the middle class back on track and that if he’s elected, 95% of Americans will get a tax cut.   He promises that those making less than $250K per year will not be hurt.

Diplomatic finger pointing continues in full swing;  accusation, denial, accusation, denial, on and on and on.

#3 Whatever Financial Rescue Plans Come About, What Are You Going To Have To Give Up? – Obama says, “He will only delay programs, not give them up.”   He  goes on to say that, “We need an new energy plan, we need  to fix health care, invest in science, technology, education and  finally  rebuild our infrastructure.”   Spoken like a true Democrat, he wants it all with no clue as to how to pay for it.

McCain the Sheriff says, “The government is out of control with its liberal spending policies. We need to do away with cost+ defense contracts that are so prevalent in  our military spending policies.”

Now 30 minutes into this boxing match that sounds more like a lady’s tea and neither candidate has broken a sweat. It certainly isn’t much of a fight so far and I’ve yet to hear anything new.

Good news! Obama finally throws a punch at McCain about his voting record  and his siding with the Bush administration 90% of the time.

#4 Jim The Referee Asks, What Are the Lessons of Vietnam vs. The Lessons of Iraq?– McCain says that, “Our strategy in place in Iraq in 2003 was fundamentally wrong. Now however, with the great  General Petraeus, we are on track to win the war.”

Obama counters with “NO WAR in Iraq.   Get out now! With almost a trillion dollars spent in Iraq so far and with over 4000 US lives lost we didn’t use our military wisely.”

Yadda, Yadda, Yadda, they go on and on and at one point McCain tells Obama that he doesn’t understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy.  It’s almost a debate now.   They continue to go on rehashing the same old stuff on Iraq.   Obama says “end it,” McCain the warrior says “win it!”   I think we win it by ending it!

#5 On To Afghanastan! More Troops? Asks Referee Jim – Obama says “Yes! we’ve got to stop that poppy trade.”   I’m sure we will all be more secure without the dope.

McCain chimes in and says, “He regrets that the US didn’t help the Afghans drive the Russians out.”   At least we can be sure that old John has hindsight. Obama comes back with the news that he thinks we should take the Taliban out even if it’s in Pakistan.  Back to McCain who says “He knows what it’s like to be with an Army that’s been defeated and that’s why we must win in Iraq.” Obama retorts  with a  statement that McCain has not been consistent in his support of our efforts in Afghanistan. McCain says, “I’ve traveled here and I’ve traveled there and Obama has not.” Ok, so what.

Referee Jim Lehrer finally chimes is and says that the two candidates are virtually even on time after the first hour.   I guess Jim will now get his merit badge for “Fairest Moderator in the Land”. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty weary at this point.   Nothing new so far and the next half hour doesn’t look any more promising.   I wish they’d kept this to an hour.

#6 What Is The Threat From Iran?–  McCain – “We cannot allow a 2nd Holocaust” and then goes on to propose the creation of a “League of Democracy”, whatever that is. Here we go again, imposing our values on the rest of the world.   Give it up John, it’s not working.

Obama goes on to agree with McCain in that we cannot have a nuclear Iraq and says, “If it happened it would be a big game changer”.

“Israel is in play again” says McCain. “We cannot condone those that would want to eliminate Israel.” He goes on to say that “Obama will meet with anyone at any time without pre-conditions.” Obama quickly counters by saying that “He will meet with the right people at the right time.”

The whole meet and greet thing with world leaders seems to jump into center stage for a while.   Henry Kissinger, my least favorite negotiator/statesman even gets dragged into the debate by McCain and Obama.

#7 Jim  Asks, “How About Our Relationship With Russia”? – Obama quickly jumps in and says that “We need to re-evaluate our position with Russia and that we do not want another cold war.”

McCain jabs and says that “Obama is naive in his response to Russian aggression against Georgia.” He further says that “We will support the inclusion of Georgia and the Ukraine into NATO and that we will work with the Russians but that we expect them to behave.”

#8 Jim asks, “Will There Be Another 9/11 Attack On The US?–  McCain says that “an attack is much less likely since 9/11 but that we need better human intelligence and absolutely no torture”.

Obama says, “Yes, America is safer today than before 9/11 but we have a long way to go until America is truly a safe place”. “Our biggest threat,” he says, “Is a suitcase nuke and that missile defense is useless against Al Queida.

McCain says that, “Obama simply does not have the knowledge or experience to be president.  I on the other hand “will take care of the veterans out there and  I have the experience to keep the country secure”.

Mercifully, it’s over– After an hour and a half there were very few punches thrown and no low blows. Ultimately a very boring match.   The two candidates behaved like the gentlemen they are and the judges will have to decide the outcome.

The talking heads at the network now chime in with their “shock and awe” commentary and we can all go on to something else.

As for me, I’m going to skip the next debate.