Obama v. McCain: A battle of wits with an unarmed man

Can you *imagine* the debates?

On the one hand, it’s too bad that McCain’s blunder on Iran and al-Qaeda, which completely trashes his contention that in electing him we’d be electing some sort of expert on national security, had to happen the same day that Barack Obama gave one of the great speeches in American political history. The Speech may drive The Mistake off tomorrow’s front pages.

On the other hand, the contrast is pretty amazing. Whatever the polls say now, Barack Obama would destroy McCain in the debates.

Hilzoy again:

People have not yet had the chance to see Obama and McCain go head to head. Today we saw exactly how intelligent and nuanced Obama is. In this series of remarks by McCain (and others; it’s not unique), we can see exactly how unprepared he is to win an argument against Obama.

In terms of intellect, grasp of policy details, nuance, and depth of knowledge, McCain is just not in Obama’s league &#8212 or, for that matter, Clinton’s. When we have a chance to see McCain debate a Democratic nominee, I have every confidence that this fact will become painfully obvious.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com