Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Last debate reaction

I thought it was mostly a draw, meaning that Obama did what he had to do. He didn't take the bait on criticizing Palin, didn't take the bait on getting upset, and he remained himself -- calm and steady. Some pundits criticized him as "professorial," but I think Sullivan nailed it -- a black man has to be "boring" at times in order to win an election.

McCain scored some good individual points, and his punchlines were more memorable than Obama's (as they had to be). But I think where Obama won the debate was on general tone and approach. As Sullivan said, McCain was totally unable to show any grace toward Obama -- a "lack of generosity of spirit." McCain generally attacked well, but all he could do was attack. I think that attitude comes across as, and probably is, angry and desperate.

Bob Schiefer did a great job of moderating, asking direct questions and follow-ups. My only criticism was his acceptance of the "moral equivalence" myth in his question about the negative attacks "by both sides." There is simply not a moral equivalence between criticizing a health care plan and "palling around with terrorists."

The instant polls are just coming in as I'm watching CNN, and it sounds like the general tone of the debate came through. Who did better in the debate? Obama 58%, McCain 31%.

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