Saturday, September 27, 2008

Obama vs. McCain

If you are only going to read 2 million opinions about last night's presidential debate, you might as well make this one of them.

My call: Obama by a length. McCain did better than I would have expected on economic questions, although, as Kevin Drum points out, cutting spending to fight recession is far from conventional wisdom. At the midpoint I would have called it about even. But I thought McCain got worse as the evening wore on, and Obama got better.

McCain was at his worst at the very end, when responding to Obama's remarks about how he would seek to restore America's reputation in the world. All McCain could do was talk about Iraq, Iraq, Iraq.

It pointed out a certain emptiness in all of McCain's foreign policy views. Repeatedly, he emphasized the experiences he has had and the people he knew. Rarely did he indicate what he would actually do, other than threaten Russia and Iran and to stay in Iraq, Iraq, Iraq.

The debate ought to give serious pause to those who have argued that Sarah Palin is as qualified to be president as Barack Obama. It's inconceivable that she will handle questions about the world next week with the assurance and deep understanding Obama evinced.

Obama's performance belied McCain's repeated claim that Obama didn't understand the world (among other things, Obama clearly understands the difference between strategy and tactics better than McCain does). Every time McCain leveled the charge, and every time Obama responded with a precise, nuanced answer, McCain looked a little smaller.

By the end of the evening, only one candidate looked like a president. It wasn't McCain.

5 comments:

jcurmudge said...

Totally agree. To me McCain continuously showed his belligerence and readiness to go to war someplace.

Chuck Rightmire said...

I think that McCain's emphasis on "I have been there" without a subsequent comment on what he did there and what difference his presence made is irrelevant. I have been to both Dublin and London and Paris and Brussels. That, by itself, does not an expert in foreign policy make. Although my reading and listening have made a great deal of knowledge available and I'm better at it than I would have been by just visiting. McBush did not do as well as expected on these issues.

aniroo said...

McCain's dismissive attitude of Obama made Obama look more in controll when Obama didn't rise to the bait. McCain acted as though Obama was just a jr. senator and not of equal rank to his senior status.Obama was unflappable, a good quaility in president who must deal with national and international crises and MCain looked condescending, arrogant and angry, not a quality that plays well with leaders of equal rank.

Eric said...

I think that people see what they want to see - my observation was that Barack Hussein Obama isn't nearly as good without a teleprompter in front of him.

McCain won easily.

Anonymous said...

I agree that McCain did better than expected. Thought he was ahead in the "foreign" area while Obama was ahead in the "domestic" area.