Monday, September 29, 2008

The Debate Was A Draw, But Obama Won.

Friday's debate was pretty dry and uneventful, just like I told ya'll it would be. Thankfully, my Debate Party at the crib was cool. Good food, good fam, and good friends tend to make even watching paint dry interesting.

We didn't do any drinking games, but we did keep a scorecard of gaffes, "oh no he didn't" moments, and obscenely repetitive catch phrases like "my friends", "change", "hope" and "Wall Street/Main Street". Try this sometime, it's pretty fun.

I thought the debate was a draw. Obama didn't bury McCain on the economy like he could have. Somehow, McCain ended up turning an earnest discussion about the economic bailout into some nonsense about earmarks. Newsflash! DaddyMac: earmarks aren't even a small part of why we're trillions of dollars in debt. Still, Obama wasn't as dominant on the economy as he should have been.

That said, this was a debate on foreign policy, and I think any rational person has to agree that while this is McCain's (only?) strong suit, he didn't exactly deliver the smackdown on Obama either. His insistence on belaboring the point of "preconditions" more or less made him look petty and annoying, not like an honorable and decorated vet. And he couldn't even pretend to defend his stance on the Iraq war in the first place.

This debate was really Obama's introduction to some odd crossection of the country that somehow knows little about him (seriously, WTH?) and I'd say that by holding his own against McCain, he proved himself to be Presidential. This is the one debate where he was supposed to be clueless and in over his head. Neither of those things happened, not by a longshot.

Obama was (sometimes too damn) cool, calm, and collected. He has definitely worked on formulating shorter answers, although he still does that whole "uhhhmmm, uhhh" thing far too much for comfort. McCain showed why he's becoming increasingly unlikeable. He wouldn't make eye contact with Obama and generally talked to him like he was the hired help. What a jackass!

While I scored it a draw, McCain had more to lose (again, his sole area of expertise) by not separating himself from the crowd. It's like the College Football BCS, McCain may have eked out a victory, but the margin was a last second FG, not a 5 TD blowout, so the net result is a loss in the standings. Today's Gallup poll seems to reflect this.

Barack Obama leads John McCain, 50% to 42% among registered voters in the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday -- just one point shy of his strongest showing of the year.

These results, from Sept. 25-27, span the time period since John McCain made the announcement that he was temporarily suspending his campaign and returning to Washington to work for a bipartisan solution to the financial crisis, and since Congressional leaders first announced progress towards the resolution of a financial bailout bill.

The results also include one complete day (Saturday) after the first presidential debate on Friday night. McCain had reached a point where he was tied with Obama earlier in the week, but Obama has gained steadily in each of the last three days' reports. Overall, Obama has gained four percentage points over the last three days, while McCain has lost four points, for an eight-point swing in the "gap" or margin.
So again, Friday was a draw, but McCain ultimately loses. I'm sure my friends of the GOP persuasion will try and spin this otherwise, so go right ahead.

Question: What are your post-debate thoughts? Did Obama fail to distinguish himself on the economy? Did McCain drop the ball on foreign policy? Was my BCS poll analogy spot-on or what?

Obama Rises, McCain Falls in New Poll [AOL News]

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