It Should Have Been Easy

It really should have been a slam dunk for Obama. Even conservative Pat Buchanan said Obama should have had the upper hand considering the current state of the nation.

The Republican president has approval ratings consistently around twenty percent.
We are in the midst of an unpopular war.
The bottom just fell out of the economy.
Oil prices (and subsequently the cost of living) are going through the roof.
And so on...

McCain is a Republican, has voted concordant with his party almost without fail, and has been a part of the regime which, in all fairness, must take a lot of the responsibility for the mess we're in. All things considered, Obama should have eaten McCain for breakfast, yet he seemed to be on the defensive for most of the debate. What gives?

That being said, he did come off well - so there shouldn't be any complaints from the Obama camp. It's just that it could easily have been a blow out.

Then again, what do I know? I just wrote a post about a shirtless Telly Savalas. I'll try to stick to retro crap in the future, but I just couldn't help myself tonight.


  1. it was such an interesting debate, I was watching so intensely so naturally it would compel you to write about such a historic debate. I always thought the perfect segue from Shirtless Telly Savales into more Retro stuff was some topical political commentary!

  2. Columnist James Fallows writes: When the details of this encounter fade, as they soon will, I think the debate as a whole will be seen as of a piece with Kennedy-Nixon in 1960, Reagan-Carter in 1980, and Clinton-Bush in 1992.

    In each of those cases, a fresh, new candidate (although chronologically older in Reagan's case) had been gathering momentum at a time of general dissatisfaction with the "four more years" option of sticking with the incumbent party. The question was whether the challenger could stand as an equal with the more experienced, tested, and familiar figure. In each of those cases, the challenger passed the test -- not necessarily by "winning" the debate, either on logical points or in immediate audience or polling reactions, but by subtly reassuring doubters on the basic issue of whether he was a plausible occupant of the White House and commander in chief.

    I think that's how this debate will be seen. Neither Obama nor McCain made any serious mistakes (except, perhaps, for McCain's churlish on-stage personal bearing); neither had any moments of surprising brilliance or rhetorical flash. McCain performed closer to the top of his debating range than Obama did.

    But something similar could be said of the three previous encounters I mentioned. The challengers didn't necessarily "win," but they achieved something significant simply by debating as equals -- especially on national security issues. I think in the long run people will say that this is what happened tonight.

  3. jay- Thanks for the comment - I enjoy your work over at the Sexy Armpit.

    buzz- Great quote, excellent comment. My feeble mind had to read it three times to gather its meaning.