First off, this was most certainly the best of the debates. It was the first time it actually felt like a debate, the first time the candidates actually challenged each other, and the best moderated of the three. Last time was a bit of a snoozer with the first being a feeling out process, so I felt this was a nice cap to it-though I would love to see a couple more.
What actually shocked me about this one was not the attacks, those were expected, but the uncertainty in victory. While the polls are still being run, I was surprised to find that when surveying people I knew afterwards, they tended to think the other won. The big Obamaphiles I know thought McCain had won it and were doom/gloom, meanwhile the McCainiacs I know thought Obama won it. Strange, really.
Me? I thought Obama won it handily. In fact, I thought while this might not have been his best performance (as Paul pointed out, he stumbled over his words quite a bit) as an orator he did the best job yet of refuting the McCain criticism and laying out plans. I thought the only clear victory for McCain was in the way he twisted Obama's vague syntax to make him appear more like a politician. Meanwhile, I thought he completely dropped the ball on the abortion question (don't kid yourself, pro-life crazies are a huge swing vote for the GOP), refused to get into specifics in most cases, and while he tried to play the Ayers card was rebuffed.
In the end though, I think it comes down to this. I don't make $250k a year, nor do you most likely....nor do most if not all of the people we know. When Obama says he's going to give us all a tax break, McCain responds with saying it will affect small business, and Obama then responds that it won't affect 98% of small businesses....well....how can he not win? And McCain sounded so muddled and pro big business in his responses, while CNN thought McCain won the first half hour I thought it sunk him. Then again, we shall see what the polls say, in the meantime my notes;
-Fucking John McCain blinks every other second. Is that a medical condition? Because it's driving me insane.
-A few minutes in starts the Joe the Plumber nonsense. Obama originall dodges it, then roundaboutly addresses it-thing is, the dude is buying a business....he's increasing his income. Since when do our taxes not go up when our income goes up?
-McCain then goes hardcore at painting Obama is a socialist. All the FNC conservatives are fist pumping and pelvic thrusting in their living rooms. The rest of America heard what Obama just said about, you know, lowering your taxes.
-This MacAllen 10yr old Scotch I bought for tonite is fucking orgasmic. Seriously. The honey on the palate is completely unexpected.
-McCain dodges the specifics of what he will cut, and while Obama did a partial dodge, McCain dodges it and then brings it back to energy.
-I can't recall a case where a candidate trashes his party's incumbent President like McCain has. Crazy to me how low the public support for Bush is, and how the candidates are distancing. Being associate with the President right now appears to be akin to being a pariah.
-McCain shows support for the Cowboys losing. I regret my vote for him in the 2000 primary.
-McCain states that Sarah Palin "understands that autism is on the rise." What the fuck does that even mean? Who doesn't understand that, and why does that make her qualified?
-Obama finally broaches the Ayers topic himself (previously he'd only mentioned ACORN). Obama does a great job refuting the Ayers connection, but a very poor job regarding ACORN, never addressing why money went to them. The former was a win Obama, the latter McCain.
-I understand amongst intellectuals, or atleast those involved in politics, the litmus test regarding SC judges is somewhat an issue. Thing is, to the majority of America I don't think they give two shits. McCain prattles on about litmus tests and experience instead of taking the clear victory amongst pro-lifers given to him. Mind you the pro-lifers are never going to support Obama, but their lack of support for McCain is alarming for him, and his bobbling of that question appalling. He needed to come out hardcore in support of pro-life SC judges, and he muddled it.
-McCain talks about "gold caddilac insurance plans" and then moves on to cosmetic surgery and.....transplants? Yes, he said transplants. I really fucking hope that was a mis-speak, because I'm not sure a heart transplant counts as luxury surgery.
-It's amazing how healthcare, education, and abortion have become ancillary issues. Money talks, and people are losing it.
-Over the past decade there's been this strange shift to where we think people are entitled to college education. Why is that? Obama mentions people graduating college with debt...and while I personally was blessed, I'm really not sure what the problem is. Why is it the governments job to help you get through college? They offer you education through high school, why is that being extended to college?
-I've never heard about this Troops To Teachers program, but it scares the hell out of me that McCain says a soldier can become a teacher without any training or certification. That sounds like a terrible idea.
-And finally, McCain tried to pull the heart strings of the American woman with his silly Sarah Palin understands special needs children thing. The woman has a six month old child with Downs, and yet she's now supposed to know "more than most" about special needs children? She's supposed to be an expert on Autism? That's as absurd as his claim that she's an expert on energy. A baby's a retard at 6mos old regardless of disease, if she thinks that's given her some special knowledge on special needs children then she's in for a rude awakening when the kid turns 2 or 5 or 15.