Saturday, September 27, 2008

Well, that didn't go as well as I would have liked

Edited along the bottom to add that I'm not a pundit, and just play one on the internet, so as it turns out I'm wrong but here was my take:

I worried quite a bit that Obama's background as a con law type would interfere with his ability to debate an angry liar, and I was right. I'm afraid that Obama let McCain deliver Josh Marshall's "bitch slap" quite effectively last night. He, and Lehrer, allowed McCain to talk over Obama, and to deliver personal insults, in a way that wasn't shocking but was sobering. I suggest that Obama's debate prep next time be done with Steven Colbert--he simply didn't grasp that there wasn't going to be a "trier of fact" or a "judge" out there who cared about the details, that the audience and McCain were simply out for blood.

Its not Obama's style. He's all sweet reason. But I personally think he needed to cut McCain off at the knees. Things I would have liked to see him say were things like this "Bipartisanship? John, you can hardly bear to share the stage with me, let along work across the aisle. You just flew in to Washington to broker a deal on what you called the most important legislation since the great depression. When you got there the deal had already been struck, after you left the deal was broken. Is that bipartisanship?"

When McCain said that he would "cut spending on everything except the military and the vets" Obama should have turned to him, witheringly, and said "That's as ridiculous as your assertion that you "wished the central bank loaned everything out at 0 percent interest." Here's a fucking clue--the "vets" have something called "families--mothers, fathers, wives, husbands and children" who rely on all those things you think are unnecessary and that have tanked under your stewardship with Bush: good schools, safe roads, hospitals, health care." The vets aren't a separate class of person from the rest of us, they are in our lives and in our families. "

And man, I can't believe he wasn't prepared to be hammered on the earmarks and to come back with some of mccain's pork from Arizona. All he had to say was "John, you can't have it both ways--youv'e spent 26 years in washington and the record is clear: you requested _______ in earmarks and most of them were boondoggles. The people in Arizona loved it, and then sent you back for a reason."

And when he said "I'm not miss congeniality" Obama should have said "we just had eight years to two guys in the white house who cursed the press corps, cursed out fellow senators on the floor of the senate, lied to the american people, and comported themselves with the utmost arrogance---even getting into a shotting incident and then trying to cover it up--frankly, I'm ready for a little congeniality.


Oh, well, Nate Silver and TPM's polls say I'm wrong: More...

Why Voters Thought Obama Won

TPM has the internals of the CNN poll of debate-watchers, which had Obama winning overall by a margin of 51-38. The poll suggests that Obama is opening up a gap on connectedness, while closing a gap on readiness.

Specifically, by a 62-32 margin, voters thought that Obama was "more in touch with the needs and problems of people like you". This is a gap that has no doubt grown because of the financial crisis of recent days. But it also grew because Obama was actually speaking to middle class voters. Per the transcript, McCain never once mentioned the phrase "middle class" (Obama did so three times). And Obama’s eye contact was directly with the camera, i.e. the voters at home. McCain seemed to be speaking literally to the people in the room in Mississippi, but figuratively to the punditry. It is no surprise that a small majority of pundits seemed to have thought that McCain won, even when the polls indicated otherwise; the pundits were his target audience.

And here, just for laffs, is why even REPUBLICANS thought he won (quoted in full in the comments section). Jay Nordlinger on the debate:

What’s depressing, to a person like me, is that Obama has mastered the trick of coming off as perfectly moderate — even when your career and thought have been very different. Listening to Obama last night, you would have taken him to be a Sam Nunn, David Boren type. No ACORN, no Ayers, no Wright, no community-organizin’ radicalism, no nothing. He certainly knows what it takes to appeal to people in a general election. Then, once he’s in — if he gets in — he will govern as far to the left as possible.

Man, they set the bar so low for Obama that since he didn't come out drinking the blood of a christian baby he basically won right then and there.