Best and Worst of the Second Presidential Debate, in Brief:
Obama’s Worst Moment: No really bad moments or gaffes, but it would be nice if he answered the question and then explained his answer rather than the other way around. Still, looking at how far he’s come, maybe Obama knows what he’s doing after all.
McCain’s Worst Moment: What was with answering a question about who he would appoint Treasury Secretary by saying to debate moderator Brokaw “Not you, Tom”? I appreciate an oddball sense of humor and have one myself, but I could not fathom the wit or point in this ‘joke’ – maybe he should have said “Major Tom” and tried to nab some David Bowie fans. Also, when he approached the bystanders in the bleachers too closely, I got the feeling they were hastily looking for a crucifix to ward him off. Other than that, McCain was the best McCain he could be.
Obama’s Best Moment: When he finally said, harkening back to FDR in 1944, that health care is a right. That one line by itself may have been sufficient to nail down enough votes in the hard-hit Rust Belt states to win him the election.
McCain’s Best Moment: Considering McCain’s never been a great public speaker, he didn’t do a bad job overall, and, to his credit, he assiduously avoided diving to the slimy ‘dark side.’ But that’s not what this election is about anyway; it helps that Obama can speak populist poetry to McCain’s Reagan-GOP boilerplate when necessary, but the election is really about who looks like they’re up to the job of saving the country. The hunched and elderly McCain, lurching around spouting his stump speech Talking Points, did not look like that man; Obama did.
And the Winner Is: Obama. In the final analysis, this all boiled down to appearances: Obama, as in the last debate, once again looked presidential and poised; McCain, partly due to factors beyond his control such as his age and physical appearance, looked old and weary and annoyingly lapsed into his standard “My friends” mode halfway through the thing, indicating that he was running out of gas. Cap’n Crash is going to discover on November 4th that a majority of Americans just aren’t his buddies.
Put the champagne on ice; the last eight years of our history – a rambling Hunter S. Thompson nightmare of treachery, deceit and devastating Republican Doom ‘n’ Gloom as scripted by the two Terry’s, Gilliam and Southern, and Mario Puzo — is about to take a turn for the better angels of our Frank Capra, as Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington to effect a Change We Can Believe In. (Whew! Have another swig, Mr. Tattlehead.)
Is it really all over but the shouting? Barring an October Surprise of unimaginable proportions, some unforgivable gaffe by Barack or Biden, or the presidential preference of computer hackers, it’s all about the ‘O’ now.