2008 US election, Barack Obama, John McCain

Debate post-mortem

Just some quick points on last night’s presidential debate.

  • The fireworks I expected were largely not present. The mud-throwing that erupted in the last few days did not carry over into the debate. There were frequent references to their opponents’ record, but the personal stuff was kept out of it.
  • I didn’t like the debate format – there was no allocation of time for rebuttal, except when the candidates basically broke the rules. This means that fabrications and BS could remain as the last word unless the other candidate responded as part of their response to the next question, which Obama did a couple of times.
  • Brokaw did nothing to reign either candidate in on time, aside from whine about it once or twice.
  • Like Gwen Iffil last week, Brokaw did nothing to see that the candidate actually answered the questions asked. For the majority of questions, the response tactic was to repeat the question, emphasizing it’s importance, and then segue into standard policy points, related and relevant or not. It’s too bad, because some of the questions were pretty good. I would love to see a real discussion of policy between the candidates, but I realize that in this day and age where every word is parsed, digested and weighed for nuance, real discussion is impossible.
  • sigh
  • For some reason, the media seems okay with the candidates not answering the questions, as the commentary afterward seemed to ignore that as de rigeur.
  • I’m not sure whether it’s open disdain for his rival or just the heat of battle, but it’s pretty obvious that John McCain does not like Barack Obama.

What did you guys think?

-kvd out


6 thoughts on “Debate post-mortem

  1. I didn’t catch the whole debate, but here’s my thoughts:

    I’ll agree with you that there weren’t any fireworks, I think the debate format was set up to prevent any from flaring up.

    I do however think that McCain’s use of ‘that one’ was a mistake that’s going to return to bite him on the ass.

    My general take is that Obama came across as calm and collected, while McCain appeared old and erratic, and in these troubled times, voters are going to gravitate to calmness, erratic is going to scare them.


  2. One other point I’d forgotten to comment on was McCain’s listing of a $3 Million dollar ‘overhead projector’ as a wasteful earmark – actually, John, that would be a 3 million dollar *planetarium* – so glad to see you’re continuing the proud Republican tradition of being anti-science and anti-education…


  3. I didn’t get to watch the debate live (no cable at work) but I hit the internet when I got home to check the reactions. McCain is really getting hammered on the little things. Not shaking hands with Obama, his use of the term “That One”. If his plan was to look like a bad-tempered old man with focusing problems he’s succeeded wonderfully. His performance seems to be based on how well his campaign is going. The next debate is going to be a mauling if this is in fact the case. All Obama needs to do is smile and stay poised and confident. At this point, McCain can’t do either.


  4. I’ll agree with you, Doug, on the fact that all Obama needs to do is stay quiet – if I can continue Kevvyd’s hockey metaphor from a previous post, when it’s the last 5 minutes of the 3rd period, and you’re up by a goal, the last thing you want to do is try and do anything risky.

    Looking back on the debates from the intertubes, there’s a couple of other points, as Doug’s pointed out, it’s the small things that are hurting McCain – things like his overuse of the term ‘my friends’, which works well in a partisan setting, but otherwise makes you look like a used-car salesman. And his repeated use of ‘I know how to’ – once again, made him look nervous…


  5. Yeah, I’ve noiced that McCain is claiming that he knows how to fix a lot of the problems currently besetting the USA. Here’s a question for the next debate. Senator McCain, if you know how to win the Iraq war; find Bin Laden; solve the economic crisis, then why the fuck haven’t you? Are you saving these things for a slow weekend?


  6. Yeah, he’s reminding me of a 2nd Lieutenant who thinks he has all the answers, but really doesn’t know what they’re talking about (okay, actually that’s about 90% of the 2Lt’s I’ve dealt with). The only difference is that usually a 2Lt has a Warrant Officer or Sergeant Major who’ll rein them in, McCain has….Sarah Palin. Oh dear……


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