I didn’t bother live blogging this debate because frankly, I wasn’t all that interested. I’m watching anyway, because I’m an addict.
My general impression of this debate is that Senator John McCain should really have sat down more, because he looks old when he walks around. That, and he’s not making much sense. He’s not really speaking in complete sentences most of the time and he’s bobbing and weaving from topic to topic in a very, . . . well, eratic. . . . way. This was supposed to have been his venue, as indeed the last debate’s topic of foreign policy was supposed to have been his subject.
One thing about this format which is not helping John McCain is that he’s used to actual town hall meetings where humor is rewarded with laughter. In this case, reaction is not allowed. Thus his jokes fall flat, even if they might have worked in other situations. It’s also worth pointing out that his town hall meetings are filled with his supporters, which is not the case with this debate.
I found it interesting when they got to the “McCain Doctrine/Obama Doctine” silliness (what the hell is up with Tom Brokaw, anyway?) that McCain kept trying to project himself as the “cool hand,” when that is far from his current impression with the American people. That doesn’t seem to be a winning position for John McCain and it takes away from him his chief strength in the campaign, which is his foreign policy experience.
Another strategy which has come to a level of silliness is the whole “you don’t tell people you’re going to bomb Pakistan” business. Implicit in that discussion is that John McCain also accepts the premise, but thinks you shouldn’t talk about it. Then why is he bringing it up again and again in the debates? I find it equally strange that he doesn’t want to talk about what he’ll do in Pakistan but he is willing to call out the Prime Minister of Russia as a cretin. Russia, you might remember, is one of those more powerful nations.
I think this debate once again comes down to a basic draw which benefits Barack Obama once again. There’s really nothing about this debate that hurts either candidate, necessarily, but there’s also nothing that benefits John McCain at all. Barack has once again done his calm, cool and collected best, while John McCain has seemed a bit rash at minimum and definitely old.