Friday, September 26, 2008


"You don't scare me. I've got chunks of guys like you in my stool!"

Seriously, I don't know who won. Obama was solid, vigorous, knowledgeable, direct, and fearless -- but McCain was engaged and scrappy. I guess it's a question of whether you favor sharp-witted maturity (Obama, the grown-up) or the sneering contempt of a wily old bastard (McCain). My guess: McCain gains a bit, just because he's been looking like a buffoon lately and he didn't look like one tonight, but any bounce dissipates soon.


McCain goes for cheap sentiment:

MCCAIN: Well, thank you, Jim. And thanks to everybody.

And I do have a sad note tonight. Senator Kennedy is in the hospital. He's a dear and beloved friend to all of us. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the lion of the Senate.

Christ, I thought Kennedy was near death. In fact, he "was examined and released from a Massachusetts hospital" after a mild seizure probably brought on by a change of medication. He "was awake and alert when the ambulance arrived," and he "returned home and planned to watch the presidential debate."

Tacky to bring that up, John. You were squeezing drama out of this as a cheap stunt to gain a leg up at the outset of the debate.


Um, does this really work?

A brief golf clap to the McCainiacs for getting this out two seconds after the debate ended but, um, we saw the debate -- we know that Obama, showing some manners, and showing that he's not a snarling mad dog who hates his opponent, conceded certain points before explaining where he forcefully disagreed with McCain. And now McCain responds to what seemed steadfast but civil in the debate by saying, "Neener-neener-neener, you said I was right!!!"


I'm sure it's impressing the pundits (on TV the talking heads were discussing this point even before the ad appeared, which means they were hearing about this from the McCain spinners), but I'm not at all convinced it would impress the public. I bet it never airs except on the Net.


Nate Silver notes that Obama seems to be winning every snap poll and focus group; here are results he cites from CBS and Media Curves.

Part of this, I think, was McCain's nastiness. But here's a thought: For a couple of weeks we've been watching Sarah Palin -- and everyone in America knows that she's supposed to be the analogue to Barack Obama, i.e., allegedly no less experienced and therefore no less qualified. But we've seen her, and she's a jittery, ill-informed gibbering idiot. By contrast, the Obama we saw tonight was a calm adult who knows his stuff inside and out. He knows what he needs to know and he has ideas that aren't just Mad Lib catchphrases. Maybe people think he won the debate, in part, because he's clearly not her. It's clear that he is ready to be president.

Also, of course, when the Republicans and the PUMAs and the spammers are portraying you as a half-crazed America-hating terrorist from hell, reality is obviously going to be a vast improvement on disinformation.

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