The First Debate

Someone I talked to today said:

“I’ll also say that a “tie” in this debate, a foreign policy debate which is supposedly McCain’s specialty, means that Obama won.”

Yes you would. And you did. And everyone you know has said the same thing. This morning in many columns, in many newspapers, reporters said the same thing

I’ve been thinking about the debate, as I’ve gone about my day.

Now I happen to think that last night was, simply put: McCain being McCain and Obama being Obama. Really… I don’t think its any more simple than that.

But laying in that sentence might be victory for McCain and loss for Obama.

The people that will decide this election are not you and me.

I let that statement stand alone… please read it again… it is key.

The people that will decide this election are about 100,000 voters in each of just a few of states:

OhioPennsylvaniaMichigan Maybe VirginiaMaybe New Hampshire

These voters will not be Black… 95% plus are already voting for Obama

These voters will not be Hispanic… these states do not have large Hispanic populations

These voters are going to be white, have two years or less of college, work a blue-collar job, and live a very middle-class life.

Many will be Scotch Irish…

Who might those voters think won last night?

McCain repeatedly put Barack Obama on the defensive throughout the debate. Obama did little to ease voter concerns that he’s experienced enough to handle foreign and defense policy. That was his number one task last night and I suggest that wit these voters he failed.

The fighter and the college professor that in fact Obama has been. Obama often meandering, unable to state a quick, forceful position.
McCain called Obama “naive” at a couple points in the debate, like an old master lecturing a young understudy. Obama never seemed able to attack back.

Current events have Americans a bit rattled and between the two, McCain came off as the most reassuring. The crabby, grumbling, hotheaded McCain was nowhere to be seen.

Instead we saw a calm, seasoned, [b][u]forceful[/b][/u] commander. If you looked at your television and squinted slightly, you could better picture him addressing the country during a time of national crisis than Obama. Obama was often left flashing his smile and shaking his head at McCain. McCain never got rattled or flustered, he just constantly stayed focused on the attack.

Some pundit on the left bemoaned that when McCain pressed his attack, Obama should have countered; ‘are you going to talk down to a leader like Putin like that?’ Obama’s supporters should be glad he let that one go by… for these voters would have answered ‘oh hell yes!’

Whether or not these voters have had a rough life, they view themselves as fighters… taking of life rather than being handed it. Who do you think they view as a better President? A college professor or a scrappy old fighter with just his guts and experience going for him?

If…if this was all planed and tested by Team McCain and if they can keep the narrative going, Obama will have a very tough time. Obama needs those voters, he’s going to have to find a way to win them over. Last night was not the way to do it.

If, as I suspect the two men were just being themselves? Then Obama may have already lost. We need only to count the votes.