I’m struck by history repeating itself. What strikes me substantively is how little time they spent discussing the most pressing issue of the day — The Bailout (talking about cutting spending was a smart anecdote, but not a serious policy discussion). I also think it will be impossible to credibly say that Obama doesn’t have command of foreign policy. He more than held his ground.
It will be shocking to see the difference between the initial reaction and the impression that settles over time. I strongly urge everyone to read the transcript Glenn posted and watch the debate. Like Kennedy-Nixon, I think most people reading the transcript will say that McCain held his ground, like Nixon did. If you listen, you may say it’s a draw. But if you watch with the sound off, or put another way, once you get past what you intellectualize and take in what you “feel” about the candidates, there’s no way you can ignore McCain’s fascinating body language. Even Nixon had the intutive smarts to look Kennedy in the eye — something McCain amazingly couldn’t do. McCain’s anger and Obama’s relative calm under pressure, his firm yet steady demeanor, will win voters over.
I don’t know much, but I’m willing to bet the farm on this one: the analysts will initially call this a draw — McCain seizing ground on the economy, Obama more effective on foreign policy, but the delayed reaction, and history, will view Obama as the clear winner.
P.S. If McCain thinks Obama doesn’t “understand,” and can’t appreciate things because he hasn’t traveled places, what in the world is he going to say about his running mate’s fitness for office now?