Saturday, September 27, 2008

Who won?

Some pundits will say Obama won last night’s debate because he “held his own” against McCain. That depends on what you mean.

Watching the first presidential debate was like watching one of those UFC bouts in which the main objective of one fighter is not to beat his opponent, but to remain standing after five rounds by avoiding his opponent as much as possible.

Obama got off a few well-placed jabs, but for the most part his objective was to stay clear of McCain. Don’t get hit too many times or taken down. If you defining winning by the fact that he survived for five rounds, then he won.

Like most savvy politicians, Obama has mastered the art of deflecting questions rather than answering questions.

McCain missed many opportunities while Obama talked a lot of nonsense. Neither candidate sounded like he has a clue about economics.

For potential voters who haven’t zeroed in on the campaign until now, McCain may have done himself some good. He’s an old man, and there are concerns that he’s over-the-hill. Last night he demonstrated his mastery of national security issues. Obama is a rookie—and it shows.

McCain sounds like a Command-in-Chief while Obama sounds like a man who plays one on TV.

Since Obama was ahead in the polls coming into the debate, he had a lower threshold for success. He needed to maintain his advantage. Do no harm.

Whether McCain did well enough to offset that advantage remains to be seen. It’s possible that, with the Palin factor, the Vice Presidential debates will be more influential than usual.


  1. "Who won?"

    FWIW, I think McCain won this battle, but Obama remains ahead in winning the war and its conclusion on Nov. 4th according to polls.

  2. I was surprised by how often Obama smiled, laughed, and interrupted when McCain was speaking, given how much Al Gore was criticized for that sort of behavior in 2000. I expected Obama to be more disciplined about that sort of thing. McCain came across as more experienced, more knowledgeable, more confident, and more self-controlled. Obviously, as a conservative Republican I would give the debate to McCain on issues, but I’d also give it to him in terms of performance, though by a smaller margin. I doubt that first debate will have much effect on the polls. I expect the Vice Presidential debate and the last Presidential one to be more influential.

  3. Steve Hays writes:

    "Some pundits will say Obama won last night's debate because he 'held his own' against McCain. That depends on what you mean."

    I love how the pundits set the bar low for their pet politician, as if Obama's inexperience is somehow erased if he manages to win rhetorical points in a debate shorter than a football game.

    I wonder how many in the liberal press would give the same gracious treatment to a young and inexperienced Republican debating an experienced Democrat.

    In fact, it will be interesting to see what the pundits will say about just such a match up after the VP debate.