How would you grade it? I ask because I didn't see what most of the talking heads apparently saw. Immediately after the debate, I started flipping channels, and to my surprise, literally no one said that McCain's performance was dismal.
I was yelling at the TV right from the opening question, and I only stopped near the end when I ran out of energy. Not only did I feel that McCain wasn't nailing Obama on the obvious, he hardly ever mentioned Obama's name. "'Obama' should be in every sentence," I screamed, "Then you detail why his positions, his prior comments, his proposals and his naiveté make him utterly unfit.
Not exactly in those words, you understand.
To be fair, McCain did some of that near the end of the evening, but he missed so many opportunities to attack it made one wonder what he learned in the military? In fact, he rarely even defended well. For example, when Obama tried to blame the current financial problems on Bush and the Republicans, I thought surely McCain would have had a prepared answer that devastated the rookie and pointed out that the Dems are about 90% responsible, give or take ten percent.
Instead, McCain talked about reaching a bipartisan agreement. I barely avoided a stroke.
When Obama said right at the beginning that he was going to cut taxes for 95% of Americans, I expected that would be the start of a long evening for the Senator after McCain casually mentioned that it was unlikely Obama could reach that goal since forty percent of Americans don't even pay taxes.
And that sort of thing happened over and over until finally I thought, is it possible that I think McCain is doing terribly because I know more about these subjects than the average American? Maybe, to him or her, McCain seems knowledgeable and in control?
Another thing I wondered is whether only I was noticing that McCain couldn't bring himself to even look at Obama? I can certainly understand why McCain would have trouble doing that, but you've got to suck it up and not look as if Obama is worse than a Vietnamese prison guard… which I agree, he is, but most of the audience probably doesn't see that.
The most memorable line for me was not a devastating punchline, it was a reply by Obama to McCain's story about wearing a bracelet in honor of a fallen soldier. "I'm wearing a bracelet too," If the subject hadn't been so solemn, I would have lost it. As it was, I sat there in disbelief at how juvenile that sounded.
When the festivities finally concluded, I was shocked to find most everyone felt that McCain did from OK to fairly well, and that Obama seemed to mildly exhibit a lot of the negative traits he's become famous for. Even as I listened to the various commentators' reasoning, I wondered if I'd seen the same debate. And that led me to further wonder that if this was the best McCain could do, the Vice Presidential debate would be a train wreck for Republicans.
I saw Biden later, and he seemed cool, calm and collected. He even had a stunning comeback when Chris Wallace asked him if he could avoid being condescending to Sarah Palin?
"No, I won't treat her the way John treated Barack."
Ba-rum-bum! Good night, America, drive safely.
On the bright side, if McCain loses, I'll finally have a compelling reason to do what I've wanted to do for a long time – get rid of cable…