Since I started doing this, might as well do a quickee general analysis on tonight's presidential debate. My analysis: Obama was better, but he wasn't all that great. McCain played the role of the cranky geezer quite well. In some ways ol' McNasty was terrible, but I actually thought he fared better in this one than the first.
The race isn't over.
(Well now. The CNN numbers just came out on the instant poll and it shows Obama crushed McCain 54-30. That surprises me. There's no doubt about it: The big forces working in this election -- most prominently the anti-Bush and economic tidal waves -- are helping to lift Obama high right now.)
I'm not going to get too heavy into details, but I'll say Obama is going to win almost all the health care voters. If McCain's "plan" was a thing, it would be a stinking brown paper bag full of buffalo crap. His idea to buy up everybody's mortgages won't be popular to many people in either party. The CNN poll shows Obama destroyed McCain on the economy, but I find them both weak on the overall credit crisis. There's no leadership coming from either one of them.
I thought Obama was skillful but dull. Unfortunately dull often trumps skillful. Ask John Kerry (though he also had an unhappy penchant for faux pas). Obama didn't inspire.
McCain was just plain mean. He basically tried to blame Fannie and Freddie on Obama and, rather jarringly, his "cronies." It was an early attack that fell flat. He called Obama, a U.S. senator deserving of some respect, "that one." He acted like Obama getting a $3 million projector for a Chicago planetarium was a crime of corruption, when all I could think was, "That sounds pretty cool." And I want to say this directly to McCain's advisors: Tell him to stop saying "my friends." Tell him to never, ever, under any circumstances, utter the words again.
Apparently most people, if the CNN poll is to be believed, found McCain to be as likeable as a bridge troll. But I thought he was a lot more charismatic in this one. You could sense the energy that helped make him a senator and got Cindy and her $100 million to marry him. And some of his attacks seemed more promising than the examples above. But dammit, Obama beat him back at every turn. Barack just wouldn't let the old guy get one over on him.
Case in point came when McCain started talking about Teddy Roosevelt's "speak softly and carry a big stick" philosophy, which happens to be the most phallic political axiom ever uttered. McCain said Obama has a big mouth because he said he would "attack Pakistan." Sounds like the old guy is teaching the greenhorn a thing or two, right? Nah. Obama clarified what he meant -- that he would hunt down and destroy bin Laden and al Qaeda with or without Pakistan's permission -- and then pointed out McCain's infamous "Bomb Iran" ditty and other imprudent and stupid things he's said.
That's called a check. But there was no check mate. Not yet.