I just finished watching the first Presidential candidates debate tonight. It actually aired on Friday, but by the time M and I had a chance to watch it (we had it recorded) we were passing out halfway through.
The change in format was good. The encouragement on the part of Jim Lehrer to have the candidates address one another directly was a great idea. I vastly prefer that over the talking only at the moderator of times past. It took the two men a little while to adjust to that idea, and frankly McCain never really bought into it.
Which brings me to a big beef I had with McCain: his constant condescension. Now, I will admit to watching the first half while drinking a cheap bottle of wine. But had I not been imbibing spirits on my own volition and I wanted to roll out the barrels quickly and decisively, all I would have had to do was make a game to drink anytime McCain called Obama naïve or say that Obama doesn’t understand something.
It vastly preferred Obama’s approach of saying where he agreed with McCain then pointing out where he disagreed and listed the reasons for his stance. However, I fault both men for occasionally going on very wide tangents that usually led to some schtick on energy independence. It comes off as, brilliantly coined phrase I just came up with, Palinesque. And, while I’m on it, I resent anyone who brings up offshore drilling as part of a solution to anything. It’s a red herring that even oil companies say isn’t viable.
Now, as my readers may or may not be aware, I am an Obama supporter. I think he nailed the debate and that the longer we think about it, the more we’ll realize just how far he hit it out of the park. I may not agree with the man on a number of his policies, but I do see him as the sole candidate who can restore our reputation in the world, which in turn increases both our power and our security.
I would like to point out here that some good things did in fact come out of McCain’s mouth. The big winner for me was that he finally up and declared he would end the policies of torture. It’s been a huge part of what kills us all morally and politically, and as a victim of the very same brutalities, it’s about damn time McCain said it.
Let me reiterate that I say Obama won the debate by quite a margin. And to top it off, he won the television angle of the night. McCain looked like an old man. Not good or bad, but definitely old. I have watched a great many grainy YouTube clips of him. Tonight though, in all its high-definition glory, television showed him as old. His hands were shaking, his posture was off (something M pointed out repeatedly though I didn’t really see it), and his whistled sibilant consonants just made him seem not quite up for the task of the coming years.
By contrast, Obama came off looking perfectly Presidential. Cool and collected, clear and concise, stern and forceful, but never looking even slightly angry even when his opponent was spouting misnomers and lies about him.
Obama won the night, and he will win the election.