First a little background about me and my family. Those of you who have ready my previous diaries know that I'm from Michigan but have been in living and working in Australia for the past 4 years and a bit.
I returned to Michigan last weekend for a 2 month break from work to visit family and to help Obama get elected.
Up untill I heard about Obama (early last year) I wasn't much interested in Politics and have never voted before (though I'm only 24). Since then I've been deeply engaged in all things political and have gained tremedous appreciation for Public Service.
Now I've a story about last night's debate and how it changed everything in this election (especially w.r.t 60+ voters)
I invited my Grandparents and a bunch of their friends to watch the debate with me. A concious effort on my part to try and alleviate some of their concerns about Obama.
As of last night, before the debates all 10 of them had some form of preconcieved dogma against Obama, simply 'cuz he has funny name, he's black, etc. The usual stuff the Republicans have peddled about Barack.
Pre-debate 6 were firmly McCain and 4 were leaning McCain and I knew simply calling on them about the absurdity of their claims would do no good. I simply stated my beliefs told them exactly what was wrong with the GOP and what a mess they had created.
After that I talked about John McCain's plans for health care, social security and taxes. I gave them pro's and cos's of his approach. Their reaction, well with health care they weren't too concerned. They all have decent coverage and they frankly couldn't care less about those who don't. They seemed to be naive enough to think that if employers didn't pay for health care they would simply increase the wages of workers by that amount. Social security, again they all have saved enough to not rely on social security at all. Besides SS wouldn't be a problem for another decade or so and they are aware of it. When it came to taxes, they are all for low taxes but it hit them when I pointed out the disparity of the tax cuts and how skewed McCains tax cuts are towards the top 10%.
After going through McCain's plans I went through Obama's plans and discussed the pro's and con's of his plans for the same 3 things. Health Care, they were a little taken when they realised how Obama is not nationalizing Health Care simply reforming it to work better. But they worried about increasing costs, yet when I told them how doing nothing has resulted in health care going up atleast 30-40% since Bush 43 took office. So they were convinced somewhat that Health Care can be reformed to work better without considerable cost increase.
With Taxes they were concerned that Obama was simply redistributing income, but when I put the figures fwd and told them that Obama was simply repealing tax breaks for those making 250000 or over to be inline with pre-Bush Clinton levels, they felt better.
With SS I'm not aware of what Obama plans to do to fix it so I simply told them how risking it on the Stock Market (a.k.a privatization) is simply not the right answer. SS is 1 fall back that even they agreed could not be put at risk (even if by pvtizing it would lessen the burden).
Also from all this I got that their concerns about Obama the man were:
He is not Ready
He is not one of Us
He is not who he says he is
He only got to where he is because he can give speeches, but can't hold a conversation (debate) on issues
So after all that intense political back and forth we sat down and waited for the debate to begin. And they liked what they saw from Obama. They clearly got the impression that he is a humble man, he is ready, he is one of Us and he certainly has command over all issues. He passed the test. Thats what they all seemed to think after it was all over.
Part of the reason I think was because they both shared the same stage. In many respects it legitimised Obama simply because first they were there together secondly because he earned it with his performance. So the whole he is not who he is, he is not one of us argument just simply evaporated. And i think a lot of reasonable people who are for change 'cuz Bush has royally screwed us up are for McCain simply because they are against Obama. Thats the argument GOP has persisted with, and it will not work this time as long as Obama holds his own.
I expect a lot of 60+ voters to move towards Obama. They simply need convincing that Obama is not a foreign element and thats exactly what Obama did. You might think that Obama should've attacked more, but I believe these people need re-assurance. If Obama attacks too much then the story line remains the same. Because Obama is who he is he cannot convince these swing voters to vote against McCain the man.
This was my impression and I was shocked to see find out at the end of it all that 8 of the 10 people present were now moving towards Obama. The other 2 were come off still leaning McCain and they aren't sold on Palin after they heard her recent interviews. I simply mocked Palin, not on her qualifications but her understanding. Believe me they are concerned, and they should be!!! She does not come off as her own person, and its all too transparent.
From here on out I plan to make sure Michigan stays blue. I start volunteering for the campaign from tomorrow right up till Nov 4. I think we'll win and win this big!!!