Now that the first debate has taken place, get ready for a weekend of talking heads analizing and making pronouncements over the winner or loser. Whoever said McCain won is wrong. Whoever said Obama won is wrong, also.
Let me explain my view on this. This was the first time in many years that I saw a real debate. I saw stark contrasts in the positions (despite Obama continuously saying John is right), saw the different type of leaders both men would be, and saw how serious they both were and how deep their convictions were. I’ll break this down by giving my own take on each candidate.
you can’t get around his issue of inexperience in elected office. 6 years vs 24 in the Senate is an uphill battle for any candidate, let alone the first African American up for President. If all Obama did was hold his own, that would be seen as a success for him, yet I think he did manage to do that and a bit more. He was a bit too deferential, and if I heard him say he agreed with John, I’d have pulled what little hair I have left, out. He remained calm, precise in his answers and stayed on point. He displayed knowledge of economics and foreign affairs that surprised even me. He was able to refute every grenade McCain lobbed at him with a grace under pressure, which I find comforting. He also was forceful in how he would deal with Iraq, Pakistan and Russia. This was not going to be the easiest debate for him, and the fact he did as well as he did, speaks volumes about his intelligence and capacity for learning. After some prodding from Jim Lehrer, he spoke directly to McCain and looked at him, but Johnny Mac never looked at him once. Not once.
The veteran in every sense of the word, has a long history to draw on, and he did. Many times. That was his strength and drawback. He repeated oft told stories, but never delivered a fatal blow, which was crucial for him. There was a point about an hour and 10 minutes in, when Obama pointed out the Kissinger said he thought a meeting with Iran’s President without conditions would be a good idea. Mccain kept hammering home that Kissinger had never said that, even though he had. When you poll the best based on a lie, you’re in trouble. McCain came off cranky, condescending and at times near the end snarky. He refused to back down on remaining focused only in Iraq, despite the resurgence of the taliban and al queda in Afghanistan. Did not want to discuss any military options regarding Pakistan, in spite of the fact bin Laden keeps crossing the border there. Yes, I’m sure he was too busy grandstanding to practice, but come on-he crows about being a POW, boasts of his experience, and he can’t land a knock out?
I’m not trying to make it sound like Obama had an edge, but I view these brief critiques as a reflection of their personalities. Barack performed as he always does, calm cool and on message. MCCain takes a scattershot approach and gets irritated quite easy. I think that more than anything will decide this election.