Sunday, September 28, 2008

Debate Note

I know I'm biased, but debate #1 goes to Obama. McCain was full of bluster (as well as other things), COMPLETELY misrepresented Obama's position, continually called him naive DESPITE Obama's very deep understanding of EVERY issue presented during the debate, and, worst of all, McCain NEVER ONCE ACKNOWLEDGED Obama and NEVER ONCE spoke DIRECTLY to Obama. He showed Obama ABSOLUTELY NO respect, while Obama DID directly address McCain SEVERAL TIMES during the debate.

So, along with losing his honor in Vietnam, McCain also lost his manners.

BUT, it IS the Republican way: NEVER acknowledge the existence of your opponent. It makes him less human, and therefore easier to degrade.


Kylopod said...

The debate was at a much higher intellectual level than I expected. Maybe my standards have been lowered from seeing the Bush debates in 2000 and 2004. It was substantive...and boring.

I was amazed at how much Obama was able to manage. He came off confident but not aggressive. McCain seemed angry and condescending. Obama sounded like he had a broad vision while at the same time was specific. McCain just seem focused on particulars.

Obama did a good job of shooting down McCain's lies--or at least that's the way it appeared. I'm not sure the subsequent fact-checking will help Obama. For example, his citing of Kissinger is risky. I don't know if Kissinger really used the words "without preconditions," and of course he's now just going to claim McCain was right, because he has to, politically.

In terms of who "won," I'd say it's basically a draw. But presidential debates are almost never judged by normal debating standards. They're judged by appearances and expectations. Obama moderately won the expectations game (which always occurs before the debate). While both Obama and McCain were expected to do reasonably well, many people had doubts about Obama's debating skills based on his performances during the primaries. So that lowered the expectations more than it did for McCain, and obviously Obama exceeded them.

The CBS and CNN polls show an overwhelming win for Obama according to immediate viewer reactions. These snapshot polls don't always linger. I remember Gore being declared the winner, then becoming the loser after media scrutiny. But my feeling is that whatever happens, the overall effect is going to be either a win or a draw for Obama. The debate is overshadowed, of course, by McCain's serious blunder from last week. The debate was his chance to recover. He sort of did, but not strongly enough. He needed to win decisively, and it's obvious he didn't.

Maxiebaby and Wife said...

Huh. I guess we weren't watching the same debate. In the one I watched, the Republican candidate repeatedly addressed his opponent as Senator, but was not afforded the same courtesy in return.

Kylopod said...

In 1992, Clinton was criticized for failing to address the elder Bush as President, even as Bush did address Clinton as Governor. Dole raised this issue again in 1996. Considering that Clinton won both elections, it is safe to say that few voters care strongly about such matters.

Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People said...

McCain called Obama Senator, but never addressed Obama DIRECTLY. It was always in the third person and he spoke exclusively to Lehrer.

Kylopod said...

Also, since both of them are Senators, they're probably on a first-name basis. To call a fellow Senator "Senator" isn't courtesy, it's formality.