I have a strong bias and won’t even try to be objective. Barack obviously won. But, if I was Republican, I’d think McCain won. Which means Obama won because McCain didn’t bring it home for anyone outside his base.
Here’s my lefty opinion:
All of this jibber-jabber that town halls are McCain’s forum was a bunch of hot air. Obama was a freaking professor. Um, he has experience speaking in an instructive manner to a group of people less than 20,000 – though he doesn’t do it much these days. Even with the sound off, Obama took last night like he was on a runaway train to McCain Smackdown 2008.
McCain looked decrepit, was chirpy and uncontrolled. His attempts at humor had him simply coming off as bitchy to Tom Brokaw (who was incessantly annoying when pointing out the time limits – let the men talk for chrissakes!). He repeated the same ol’ Republican line that Washington is broken and continued the “Obama you don’t know” crap that doesn’t pass the smell test. Calling Obama “my friend” and then “that one” made it clear that McCain had his holier-than-thou suit on, a failed strategy in the context of a Republican campaign trying to fight the “elitist” left.
What was really amusing was his repetition that he would be “steady hand on the tiller” as if we all have political amnesia and haven’t been paying attention to this manic, disorganized and reactionary campaign he’s running. “Steady” he’s anything but. And the viewers know it. Which is why the line shouldn’t have even been included. It just highlighted his jacked up attempt to run for president.
Obama managed to get some zingers in – something he’s not known for, included the “bomb, bomb Iran” everyone keeps talking about this morning. Relating alternative energy development to the advent of the computer was excellent – I’ve been relating the energy crisis to Sputnik, but might start using the computer comparison as well. It’s quite clear that Hillary was good practice for Obama because he’s sucking way less than expected at these face-to-faces with McCain.
There were a few times – as opposed to a lot of times in the last debate – where I wished Obama had answered McCain differently. When McCain brought up health care mandates, I wish Obama had corrected McCain by saying the old man was confusing him with Hillary Clinton. It wouldn’t have been a good line for Democrats and might have pissed off the bitter Puma crowd, but it was the first thing I thought since Obama railed against Hillary during the primary for her call for mandates. When McCain described himself as “a cool hand at the tiller,” I wanted Obama to say, reminiscent of Bentsen to Quayle, “Senator, you are no cool hand.” Again, that probably wouldn’t have garnered Obama any points – but plenty of us out here in leftyworld would have high-fived each other and clinked our beers.
Much of the pundit exchange following the debate focused on the presidential debate negotiations which allow the candidates to carefully explain their policies without really challenging their ability to articulate them. It is such a shame that easily could have been rectified by the inclusion of Nader and Barr, as I’ve said in my reaction to the first presidential debate. Obama and McCain repeated themselves and their stump speeches and prepared lines the entire duration of the debate, which was disappointing to say the least. The questions were slow-balls, pithy and triggered my gag reflex. We saw much more candor and operating from the gut during the primary debates. Alas, our world is imperfect.
It was fun, if a little boring and forgettable. On goes the march.