Quick Post-Debate Gumbo

Steve M. spared me the trouble by writing the following...

Seriously, I don’t know who won. Obama was solid, vigorous, knowledgeable, direct, and fearless—but McCain was engaged and scrappy. I guess it’s a question of whether you favor sharp-witted maturity (Obama, the grown-up) or the sneering contempt of a wily old bastard (McCain). My guess: McCain gains a bit, just because he’s been looking like a buffoon lately and he didn’t look like one tonight, but any bounce dissipates soon.

This was my favorite part [hat tip udjo y.], but I think Obama could have used a few more zingers.  It’s too bad this will be the last debate about national security because I think this one that I just wrote for him would have killed...

And, Jim, you know while we’re talking about our current financial crisis and national security in this debate, I think it’s time that we considered saving the taxpayers money by rolling back production of some of the armaments that went out of style with the end of the Cold War. And judging from John’s sleeve length over there, I’d say he’d probably support arms reduction, too.

Okay, now I’m going to encase myself in plastic before I head out to the chile pepper fiesta. Wish me luck.

MORE: What happened to the old Joe Klein and can we make sure the hostage release money is never delivered?

UPDATE: Wow, Luntz’s focus group weighed heavily in favor of Obama. I guess while there were high expectations for Obama (and low ones for McCain), Barack also had to convince a lot of undecideds that he was “presidential” last night and he clearly did that.  Good roundup by the Politico staff here. This pretty much says it all:

Declared Obama the winner: ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, pollster Frank Luntz on Fox, Slate’s John Dickerson, TIME magazine’s Mark Halperin, CBS News instant poll and CNN post-debate poll.

Declared McCain the winner: Politico’s Roger Simon (“The Mac is back”), Fortune magazine’s Nina Easton, The Weekly Standard’s William Kristol and Fred Barnes, Fox News Texting Poll and Drudge online poll.

MORE: Okay, we decided not to go. Too far of a walk in the rain. Just read this great post by Nate Silver.  You should, too. [hat tip Allan in comments]

LOL: “Condescending Bitter Old Coot Afraid to Look Directly at Composed Presidential Black Man”

Posted by Kevin K. on 09/27/08 at 08:43 AM • Permalink

Categories: New York CityBrooklynPoliticsBarack ObamaElection '08St. McSamePoliblogsPolisnarkTelevisionYouTubidity

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I think Obama was wise not to lurk on the numerous misstatements and outright lies of John McCain.  That will be blasted after the fact by all of the news organizations that are beginning to truely detest the McCain campaign’s technique…and “we think you’re stupid” posturings.  It seemed like everything he did feeds into what most real americans hate about most people.  I was there so I know better than you.
I can also see respectable an assimilated Pakistanis in the US raising their voice against John with that “failed state” non-sense.  In short McCains LIES left himself extremely open to a week full of attacks.  The question is, will news organizations continue to be used for McCain’s own desperate needs.  Because just because anchors and pundits are afraid to say his ass was lying, doesn’t mean that hundreds of thousands won’t wash their hands of him. 
I mean the simple after the fact posturing of Kissinger and his crew is flagrant and truely transparent….seriously the fact that he’d stand there and say he knew the guy for 30+ years only makes him look even stupider when he SERIOUSLY know nothing about diplomacy…or terminology…the difference between tactics and strategy…and to speak with such certainty and be so wrong will SO FAMILIAR to Bush.  And Americans, I’m pretty sure don’t want to be lied to anymore.  And he’s still in the business of telling American what he THINKS they wanna hear.

silly codger….

Wow, it’s amazing that the include as “declared McCain the winner” 

A text-in (no doubt for a charge) “poll” on Fox

and

A Drudge Online “poll”

They had to sink to utterly unscientific and selection-biased “surveys” to come up with support for McCain winning?

Why didn’t they include the McCain Family Straw Poll in there, too, if they wanted to artificially bolster McCain’s performance?

Politico is pretty damned dismal.

Kevin, what counts in debate reactions is not the partisan responses of people who are already in the tank for their candidate, as I am for Obama.

The measure is among independents and undecideds, and the polling results are pouring in.

Obama obliterated McCain among these groups.

Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com:

The CBS poll of undecideds has more confirmatory detail. Obama went from a +18 on “understanding your needs and problems” before the debate to a +56 (!) afterward. And he went from a -9 on “prepared to be president” to a +21.

John McCain:  He blinks for all of us.

McCain not only never looked at Obama during the debate (making it look like he was afraid of him) but he never looked into the camera (making it look like he didn’t care about the viewing audience).

Obama talked directly to McCain and he talked directly to us.

John McCain:  He blinks for all of us.

Including Sarah Palin, because she don’t blink.

This gal has got the liar pegged.

Comment by iceberg wedge on 09/27/08 at 02:56 PM

I confess last night I thought McCain won. NOT ON SUBSTANCE, mind you, but because I thought he would play well in Peoria, the way he emoted. America is stupid, after all, or Palin would have been laughed back to Alaska a long time ago.

Yeah, he sounded angry, and yeah, he made stupid faces, but look how well Palin did after shrieking like a hyena at the convention, and what a boost they got from that.

But I am really happy to be wrong.

As usual, coming here makes me feel better.

I confess last night I thought McCain won.

As you can see from what I wrote (or what I copied from Steve M.) I agreed, but all of the focus group stuff I’ve seen indicates that I was wrong.  I guess this goes to show (once again) that Obama and Axelrod (and Rahm Emanuel?) are a lot smarter than I am.

McCain appeared stronger at foreign policy than Donald Rumsfeld.

No shit.

Seriously, I thought McCain looked much more presidential than Commander Codpiece ever did. So I don’t think we were imagining anything that wasn’t somewhat true. And Obama still seemingly wants to find that line between being really, really insulting to McCain, which would please the camp suttlers like us to no end, but could possibly alienate the undecideds, and making his contrast points with grace, without getting close to ad hominem style attacks.

If this is what Obama was trying to do, maybe the poll results are showing it worked.

And Obama still seemingly wants to find that line between being really, really insulting to McCain, which would please the camp suttlers like us to no end, but could possibly alienate the undecideds, and making his contrast points with grace, without getting close to ad hominem style attacks.

I so want Obama to rip the old man a new asshole (he already wears diapers anyway) but he really needs to stay on the other side of the line sadly.  Like everyone else I thought McCain’s antics were going to sway more people than they seemed to.  Maybe the undecideds aren’t quite as dumb this election as they were the last two.

Obama comes off as a real person with enormous common sense in addition to formidable intelligence.  He relates to the average person - the frantic attempts by the McCain campaign to portray him as an “elitist” just show how concerned they are about that and how hard they want to deflect it - get us to look somewhere else (the ELITIST CELEBRITY).  It’s a continuing tactic of McCain.  Look - over there - a giant celebrity!!!  Bigfoot!!!  A flying saucer!!!!  But it’s not working.

I’ve heard many, many people say Obama needs to get tougher, swing harder, slam McCain more.  But that is not who he is.  He believes that by being himself people will come to him.  I believe that too.  Just seeing what a basically good, smart, articulate leader, who wants the best for us and our country that he is, will convince people to put him in the White House.  I don’t want to see him sink to McCain’s level.  I want him to win this by just being Barack.

I conducted an unscientific focus group of my own, hosting an alcohol-mandatory mini-debate party. The fact that I started too early and the debate took place during a key Rays game kind of skewed my results: Only one semi-drunk neighbor and I were focused on the debate: Everyone else drifted off to sleep away their drunken stupor or watch the damned baseball game.

But the neighbor—who doesn’t follow politics closely—had an opinion that mirrored those of independent voters in the CBS poll Allen cited above. She thought Obama seemed unflappable and presidential and that McCain came off as condescending and angry.

I kept mentally urging Obama to respond to McCain’s ridiculous attacks or to skewer him on some of the dumb stump-speech lines he uses even though they’ve been discredited by events. For example, McCain repeated that bear DNA study line (and totally flubbed the paternity vs criminal ha-ha line that always follows it on the stump). I kinda wanted Obama to mention Palin’s earmark requests to study crab mating habits and seal DNA or to observe that Alaska has the highest earmark tequest per capita or call out the Bridge to Nowhere lie.

But Obama has to play by Jackie Robinson rules. It sucks, but there it is. And maybe that strategy is best after all. McCain looked like an ill-tempered lout, and despite his constant touting of his own bipartisan maverickiness, Obama came off as the true non-ideologue.

I thought McCain pretty much contradicted all the points he tried to make. He kept saying Obama “didn’t understand” this or that, and then when it was Obama’s turn, he demonstrated that he had a clear, firm grasp of the issues McCain just accused him of being ignorant on. He didn’t have to call McCain out for his insults directly; his thoughtful responses were enough.

I thought McCain pretty much contradicted all the points he tried to make. He kept saying Obama “didn’t understand” this or that, and then when it was Obama’s turn, he demonstrated that he had a clear, firm grasp of the issues McCain just accused him of being ignorant on. He didn’t have to call McCain out for his insults directly; his thoughtful responses were enough.

My mom was really worried that Obama’s thoughtfulness was going to be his downfall as it was for John Kerry. But, as you pointed out, Obama’s thoughtful responses were a big part of what made the undecided’s go for him.  How awesome is that.

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