Good heavens that was the most boring townhall debate I’ve ever seen. No “moments” to it. Both the Kerry/Bush and Gore/Bush townhalls were a great deal more informative and persuasive. Brokaw needed more input from the audience and less from his gasbag self. I am told it was better on radio, but to me neither one of the candidates brought their A game, tonight. Both seemed like they needed a cup of Mystic Monk Coffee
Vodkapundit says McCain won, just barely. He might be right…but I think Obama did nothing good for himself tonight by sounding like a policywonk going-on-80, and failing to bring the charisma or even a modicum of humor. Obama made himself seem like any other politician. With his youth, he should have shown a brightness, a bounce to the step, even a cockiness; he should have walked all over the 72 year old McCain, and he didn’t do it. Instead, he was wonkish and grim to the point of coma, and he almost seems like he has to be prompted (in rebuttal) to say anything good about America. I think the nation needed to see a bit more Obama Ommph. They don’t expect it from McCain, but a little energy from Obama was really necessary. So, all in all, I think more than McCain winning “a little,” Obama actually lost “a lot.” He handed the “youth, energy and charisma” ball to Sarah Palin.
It wasn’t, except for Obama’s utter lack of energy; his ability to seem distinct from any other politician. That is what I meant, when I said the debate gave the most help to Sarah Palin.
The Townhall was turned into a podium debate without the podium. Didn’t serve either candidate well.
Vanderleun seems to agree with my assessment!
Question: Does anyone think Obama sounded like he was being prompted, almost word-by-word on his answers re Russia and Israel? He was so halting and dull it sometimes…sounded…like…he was receiving…each…word…through his left ear…
But maybe I just have a very active imagination. And when one is bored, the imagination DOES take over.
I note that John McCain showed none of the oomph, vigor and fire that he showed just two days ago. I wonder if he is unwell?
UPDATE: YIKES!! Ann Althouse thought she saw an earpiece in Obama’s LEFT ear…I kept asking my kids if it didn’t sometimes seem like Obama was looking LEFT and giving halting answers, as though he was being prompted. The yawned at me, of course, but some of Althouse’s commenters also thought the same thing. So, I ain’t totally crazy. Update II: Okay, Ann is “reconsidering” the earpiece. But I still think it’s funny that she saw something in his left ear, and I’d been wondering about his looking to the left when his answers plodded. Oh…that works on so many levels, too! Heh.
Both of them had their best moments on their closings, with the only interesting question of the night: “what don’t you know?”
Althouse liveblogged and her commenters were very busy. All I know is Ann switched from tea to cognac by the end of it, and I wish I had, too.
Also…I’m sorry but the Palin/Biden debate was more interesting and entertaining. What has happened to Obama’s energy and charisma? He seemed lethargic. McCain seemed old. Nothing vibrant or new or fresh about either of them. Neither of them managed to display much humor, self-deprecating or otherwise. Don’t they understand the power that one has in the ability to laugh at oneself?
Instalanch! Thanks, Glenn!
Reactions to the debate below, most recent links first:
At Pajamas Media: A Podcast full of heavy hitters worth listening to: Reynolds, Rubin, Green & Lileks Seriously. It’s fun with the morning coffee, from the first line. I wished I was part of the gabfest. Thoughtful and funny. Listen to Glenn Reynolds talk about McCain’s best and worst moments.
Jeff Jacoby: McCain won and Obama needs to get straight on genocide. I think, in retrospect, McCain did better than I thought, but the Townhall venue is generally a showcase for him and he did not take advantage of that, last night. Although, in fairness, last night was not really a “townhall.” It was a podium debate without podiums, thanks to Tom Brokaw, who likely kept it that way for Obama’s sake. It is well known that Obama does not like free-for-all style debates.
Ed Morrissey: Tom Brokaw had a soft, non-obvious bias. I’ll buy that. He’s an old-school newsman. He knows not to be obvious.
Confederate Yankee writes about some “constitutional subversion” outta Obamaland.
AJ Strata: thinks McCain helped himself and he had a comment with a good slogan; “McCain wants to change DC, Obama wants to change America!”
Gabriel Malor has a very helpful chart summarizing the debate. Pierre says it is helpful for keeping one away from the ledge. I’m not at the ledge, but I found it helpful, too.
Betsy Newmark: “We’re in deep trouble”. Not sure if she means the whole nation or just the GOP, there, as I am unimpressed and uninspired by either of these men.
More Slightly O/T: Yes, Obama did keep palling around with Ayers after finding out who he was.
Slightly O/T: President Bush is leading a summit on the economic crisis. I’d like to point out one thing. Obama loves to say that “the world” hates America, now. But “old Europe” and Canada like and work with Bush, and America much more in 2008 than she did in 2001. Think about that.
Lorie Byrd emails that, watching on TIVO she sees McCain hitting all these points she’d hoped for. She feels more positive than many.
Camille Paglia: Do not underestimate Palin. As ever, she is a delight and a blast to read, even when one disagrees with her. On Palin, she is clearly having fun throwing darts at the provincial left. Don’t miss it – including the letters.
In an email, a friend noted that McCain left the stage quickly after the debate, rather than working the crowds, and she wondered if he was unwell? Anyone know?
Racism: It’s becoming the word that doesn’t mean anything anymore, because it is being so overused.
Sundries Shack, says he wasn’t planning on buying a house soon, anyway
ACORN Office busted in Nevada: Apparently using the names of NFL players to create fake voters is umm…a giveaway.
Reuters: McCain camp has a sense of humor. Obama camp clearly does not. You gotta be able to laugh, guys.
Ace: Barack is a liar but McCain needed to change the game, so Barack wins by a hair and here’s sixty seconds of truth. 60 seconds ain’t enough time.
Andy McCarthy: Why won’t Obama talk about Columbia? Maybe because he didn’t write so well, back then?
Rod Dreher: What appalling candidates!
Jim Geraghty: “another hour and a half of my life I won’t get back”.
Mark Steyn: This debate a horrible travesty.
Stanley Kurtz: Obama’s Seeds of Disaster
Mary Katharine Ham catches Chris Matthews cooing about Obama. Ick.
Michelle Malkin liveblogged, snored and woke up when Obama called 9/11 a “tragedy” that “most remember”. Yeah, that was an eek. They both made eeks.
Palin watched the debate in a pizzaria. Pubs and pizzarias. I think I know this gal!
Jimmie Bise on the weaknesses going in