Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Third Debate

Once again, I found that I tend to be too cautious in assessing the outcome of this season's debates. I thought John McCain was doing reasonably well, though a draw would not be enough for him.
But debate watchers again gave it to Barack Obama.
CNN's snap poll, voters thought Obama won by 58 to 31 to percent.
In CBS's poll, uncommitted voters found that Obama won 53 to 22 percent. The William Ayres nonsense didn't work for McCain. The percentage surveyed who thought Obama shares their values rose from 54 percent to 64 percent.
Obama wasn't rattled by McCain's attacks over Ayers or ACORN or John Lewis or letting babies die. When McCain brought up Ayres, Obama responded that it "says more about your campaign than it says about me."
Maybe pundits looking for excitement would prefer more sparks from Obama, but most Americans want someone who looks like he can deal with the country's problems. McCain used the word angry repeatedly in the opening minutes of the debate, but folks don't want an angry president.
Michael Grunwald of Time concludes that Obama "was cooler and clearer; he didn't laugh at his own jokes, and he didn't look like his head was about to explode."
Harold Meyerson of the Washington Post agrees:
John of the Grimaces met Barack the Unflappable in Hempstead tonight, and the guy with the arctic cool, not surprisingly, prevailed.
Now we know why Obama’s aides were goading McCain earlier this week to raise the Bill Ayres issue in the debate. They wanted to play McCain’s rage against Obama’s measured, judicious, statesmanlike, even a bit boring presidentiality. And McCain obliged them big time.
His colleague, David Ignatius sums up why Obama is winning:
What these debates have shown America is that Barack Obama, the skinny guy with the funny name, is a calm and coherent voice in a frightening time. He has been leaderly, reassuring, respectful of his opponent but tough in making his case. Let’s just say it: In the three debates, he has sounded presidential.
Barack Obama is winning the campaign for president because he again showed himself to be the stronger candidate.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Obama came across as tired, justifiably, and not on his game. I would have called it a tie, or slight edge to McCain for doing the better job. I was really surprised to see the snap poll numbers with a decisive call for Obama. Despite McCain's "I'm not Bush" declaration, his later comments showed exactly how much he's in sync with Bush "trickle down" policies. McCain blew it when he talked about "not spreading Joe's wealth" around. "Joe America" has no wealth, that's his problem. "Joe" can't own a house. He can't afford medical care. "Joe" has been living on credit and the roof has caved in. Viewers picked up the disconnect between what McCain said about not being Bush, and what he said 30 minutes later. I admire him, but the "maverick" myth fell apart last night.

10:18 AM, October 16, 2008  
Blogger TommyWonk said...

Good points re Joe having no wealth and living on credit with the roof caving in.

As for the maverick myth, that has been cracking over the last six months under the weight of the McCain campaign's inherent contradictions. It's just hard to run as a reformer and the candidate of the Republican Party this year.

10:41 AM, October 16, 2008  

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