First reaction: those drinks were strong.
Second reaction: toss-up, maybe a little bit of Obama lean. McCain came out of the gates strong with the Joe story, but it lost its impact when he kept riding the point – it stopped being a compassionate story and started looking more and more like a talking point as the debate wore on. Reagan told stories like this but switched them up and kept moving on as in casual speech; McCain is no Reagan.
Obama fell behind in verbal talking points, but kept still. By that I mean that McCain was a blinking, figidity, interrupting mess while Obama spoke, which hurts McCain on the new key Obama talking point -that McCain is ‘erratic’ and out of control of his campaign (himself).
Third reaction: Obama made a coherent and cogent defense of a women’s right to choose in a Presidential debate. That is very nice. I think that’s the biggest impact his campaign has made – that he articulates intelligent defenses of progressive ideals, like he did on healthcare in the second debate (“I believe healthcare is a right”) and in his acceptance speech.
However, the danger is that he undermines many of those values elsewhere: I don’t believe coal power is good, tort reform is downright evil, and Obama NEVER ONCE TALKED ABOUT WIRETAPPING TORTURE OR PRESIDENTIAL POWERS. Seriously folks. This campaign cements the fact that torture, wiretapping and an imperial presidency will be part of American politics for years to come. And that is terrifying.
I’ve decided to keep up my criticism of Obama even as I campaign against McCain because I don’t think people should be caught unprepared for the sweet talkin’ back stabbing President Obama might become. And this debate only made me more wary.
That being said, Obama is one of the most interesting and compelling symbols in the history of American politics, and I don’t want to lose track of the important things he’s doing for our political discourse. He is advocating progressive ideals, he is talking on the grossness of the way Bush ran the last 8 years (rhetorically at least), and doing it all in a way that makes people feel empowered.
I just hope they really are.