Wednesday, October 8, 2008

McCain/Obama debate #2

So some are saying last night's debate was "boring", it was a draw, therefore it helps Obama, or at the least it's not a "game-changer" so that helps Obama, etc.

Gee. I dunno. I thought Senator McCain did a good job of drawing contrasts and, for the most part, drawing them in a conservative direction, from Senator Obama. McCain drew distinctions with Obama on taxes, spending, the candidates' health care policies, and in foreign policy; and he made them pretty clear. In fact, I thought a time or two Obama sounded slightly annoyed at the facts McCain pointed out.

It's true there was no huge "gotcha" moment, or any point that greatly stood out, during the debate. But McCain's a bit behind now. As we all know, if your team is behind in a game, you can't come back all at once. Instead, it's a process. There's nearly a month left in this campaign. There's another debate. I suspect McCain may have begun the process of coming back last night. The same kind of thing happened in 2004. George W. Bush didn't do that well in debate 1 in '04. But he did better in the next two, and I think that all began to pile up in his favor.

But it's a process, and it takes awhile. Here's an idea for the McCain folks: Obama committed a big howler last night. He claimed, in his budget plans, that he's "cutting more than he's spending." Huh??? He has a bundle of new programs and initiatives he wants to push; he hasn't talked much about cuts. No one's denied that his plans add up easily to a cost of over $500 billion (McCain says it's more like $800 billion). No way is his claim true. Indeed, the local news which came on in my area right after the debate immediately identified that Obama claim as one with lots of problems (a "stretch", as they put it). So McCain and co. should pound away on this day after day, and point to how it's yet another reason that Obama can't be trusted, as another reason that Obama is too inexperienced to be entrusted with the presidency.

Who else agrees with me that McCain did well?
Well--some on a college debate team in Indiana agree.

Naturally, many members of the media, who want Obama to win, and want the dominant narrative right now to be that of Obama leading, connecting with voters, and McCain failing to change this, see the debate differently.

But I'm heartened that Rich Lowry largely agrees with my take, too, over at NRO.