I thought I might be able to refrain from commenting on last nights presidential debate. Alas, no. But where to begin?
I guess I should say that I was happy that this debate actually bore some resemblance to a real debate. I think it may be the first in my voting life to do so. I also think a closer examination of high school debate may be in order for the organizers of these events. But overall, I believe this was a (tiny) step forward for American politics.
McCain was a disappointment. He did manage to show off his foreign policy knowledge; but I didn't like his attitude. He has a tendency to get cocky. I find that unattractive in general, but downright inappropriate in a presidential candidate. Especially at this time in our history. We are already viewed as cocky abroad. We do not need another administration to reinforce that.
I was also surprised that McCain muddled his way through the beginning of the debate. I have to wonder what he spent the last few weeks doing? Clearly, he did not resolve the crashing economy problem (or, by some accounts, even participate all that much in trying to resolve it). But it looked as if he didn't spend the time preparing for the debate either.
This really was highlighted by obama's uber-preparation. Honestly, I think he must have been that kid in school whose hand shot up first, and who gave the correct answer, plus all the related information you never wanted to know. But there's something to be said for that. Obama at times seems to have an encyclopedic knowledge base, from which he is able to draw very quickly. That's got to be a good trait in a "world leader."
McCain seemed to be appealing very heavily to voters emotions. Obama presented as very rational. I think they both went a little too far. Obama needs to find a comfortable level of personalization. He strikes me as someone who has learned to guard his reactions and not give away too much. Nice feature for a politician already at the table, but a bit hard for the voters to see through. McCain, I thought, was too emotional. And sort of condescending. But the thing that actually angered me about McCain was his refusal to look at Obama, or to address him directly. That is ugly, unacceptable behavior. Obama has surprised a lot of people (including Hillary) by bringing a serious game. He is a worthy and prepared opponent. If McCain has nothing else positive to say about the guy, he should at least be able to acknowledge and respect that. So once again, I have to say McCain's behavior was sophomoric. And that's not very presidential in my book.
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