Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Debate

No big zingers, no big gaffes, no cheap shots. They both looked and acted like professionals, although McCain did paste that frozen, uncomfortable grin on his face when he wasn't speaking. Obama didn't say where he'd cut spending, but McCain gave Obama lots of material for future ads when he said that he'd freeze spending across the board except military and entitlements. O RLY? No education? No alternative energy? No health care reform? No disaster relief? No infrastructure? Just freeze everything the way it is right this second? Yeah, good luck with that. That had the feel of another McCain "shoot from the hip" moment.

In the long run, though, this was the area where McCain was supposed to be able to put Obama away: security and foreign policy. And he just didn't do it. Obama looked serious, calm, well-prepared, and above all Presidential. With no clear McCain win, Obama accomplished what he had to do.

9 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Seconded. I think the next two will be easier now that his demeanor, knowledge, and credibility are established. I don't think ferocity, as some seem to want, is a good way to go. Too out of character.

Gerard said...

Yeah, but you already like Obama and sexism. Did B.O. do well enough to sway undecided voters? Will Obama's non-answer on spending cuts overpower his presidentialness?

I'll bet McCain's staff jumped in shock at his "Freeze all spending" comment. When questioned on that he'll put any sticky questions on spending under the broad blanket of "entitlements".

Gerard said...

I forgot to mention: Plenty of people still remember McCain of 2000. That McCain was a likable and electable dude. Obama needs to defeat both 2000 McCain and 2008 McCain.

Now I sound like an apologist and a defeatist.

Celine said...

I saw an interesting comment elsewhere. A researcher who studies primate socialization said that McCain's refusal to look at Obama made him look like a low-ranking monkey. Low-ranking monkeys don't look at high-ranking monkeys.

This may be a more important point than you'd think. That reaction pattern is still very strong in human interactions; for example, in the antebellum South, blacks weren't supposed to look whites in the eyes -- that was "uppity". And body language goes straight to the hindbrain, especially with people who haven't studied it. There are going to be a lot of folks out there who will be left with the indelible impression that McCain has already acknowledged being low man on the totem pole.

Gerard said...

I too noticed that refusal to look at McCain. It was odd.

JD Rhoades said...

I hadn't actually noticed McCain refusing to look at Obama, but several others have pointed it out. Most of them thought it just made McCain look like an asshole.

John Dishon said...

The debate was pretty even. McCain was a bit more direct with his answers. Obama couldn't say where he would cut spending, which is a big issue. McCain may have had some radical ideas, but at least he answered the question.

Spending is Obama's big weakness for me. He wants to invest here and there, and healthcare and cut taxes, but where is he getting the money for all this? His campaign promises seem to me to be a lot like "Read my lips: no new taxes" in that I don't think he'll be able to deliver.

McCain wants more intervention, but so does Obama. McCain wants more Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama wants more Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Both blame Russia and fail to acknowledge that Georgia started it all.

So, more than anything, the debate showed how similar these candidates are, and that's not a good thing.

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