Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Debate II

I went to bed feeling good about the debate and woke up feeling even better. Barack Obama came across as a poised and independent thinker who has considered the issues and developed cogent policy responses. McCain -- especially on domestic policy -- often spoke in fragments and non sequiturs until he could steer the response to stump remarks, and as a result often sounded incoherent. While he may have known what he was talking about, it's not clear to me that anyone else did. 

Obama, on the 0ther hand, took the same approach to this debate as he has to his campaign. He reminds me of the Bjorn Borg, the Swedish tennis star and five-time Wimbledon champion. Borg remained unflappable at all times, pounded away relentlessly from the base line, and collected points as industriously as an ant laying up supplies for the winter. Suddenly and imperceptibly, he was in control of match. To say Obama "hasn't closed the deal" or didn't land a "knockout punch" fundamentally misunderstands how he has gone about his campaign. Last night was no different: He answered the questions respectfully and articulately and let his persona sink in while his lead accumulated. It's no surprise that the post debate snap polls had him winning handily (here, here, and here)...

The format supposedly favored McCain, but after watching his performance it's hard to see why. His strongest moment came when he answered the question posed by the former Chief Petty Officer. McCain was in his element and his appreciation of the man and his service was obviously sincere. However, the more removed the questioner was from a white male with military service, the less certain McCain appeared. It occurs to me that he may have performed better in previous town hall-style debates because the attendees were mostly Republican...

The early CW is that tonight's debate was not a game changer and that the polls will remain the same. I disagree: I think this was a strong night for Obama and that he will continue to build on his lead. This is now Barack Obama's election to lose...

Top moment: A presidential candidate (Obama, natch) stating directly and unambiguously that health care in this country is a right...

Most irritating moments: McCain repeatedly using Joe Lieberman as an example of his capacity to work with Democrats. One of my fondest hopes for Election Day is that Democrats win enough Senate seats to drum the Benedict Arnold of the Connecticut out of the party...

Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight thinks its time to start wondering what Obama's ceiling might be...

The New York Times reflects on the debased state of the McCain-Palin campaign: "It is a sorry fact of American political life that campaigns get ugly, often in their final weeks. But Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin have been running one of the most appalling campaigns we can remember." The rest is here...

Finally, the great Ralph Stanley -- a national treasure if there ever was one -- endorses Barack Obama for president. Listen here...


3 comments:

Foxessa said...

He seems to have forgotten who is running mate is and thinks it's the guy he wanted, his rock, old Joe.

One of the weirdest moments was during a time when Obama was responding to a question addressed to him, and the mc wandered up to stage front and then just stood and stared at the audience, like nothing so much as a basilisk attempting to freeze the members with its baleful eye.

Or -- maybe it was a moment of "Who am I? Who are you? Why are we here?"

Obama and Michelle together after the event, and with the audience, together and individually, that was marvelous and I'm so glad the CNN cameras continued to roll and CNN continued to allow the live streaming for so long afterwards.

Cindy never talked to a single member of the audience, she did not shake a single hand, she trailed about three paces behind mc, and he shook one hand, period. And then, within about 90 seconds they were gone.

Whereas the Obamas stayed for at least 20 minutes.

I loved the photo slide show on the HuffPo of Michelle and Barack after the event as well.

Love, C.

Sylvia K said...

It was great and Obama did all that I hoped he'd do and McCain -- well, when you've been behaving like a jackass it's hard for people to see anything else.

Molly said...

This is not McInsane's best forum. He's best when he can actually move around and into the audience. This format highlights his war injury and his age. He looked stiff with his body waddling back and forth and he looked like a toad.

Saying "My friends..." 23 times (yes, I counted) is like someone scratching their fingernails on a chalkboard.

When he left right after the debate, all I could think is he's so old he had to get out of there and pee.

Oh how I envied those who were there with Barack and Michelle at the end...