So, who said Barack Obama can’t debate well? And weren’t these debates supposed to be John McCain’s moments to shine?

I’d like to give this debate to McCain. He was at his strongest (although others disagree). And Obama was almost too laidback, too sure of his own staggering intellect and ability to reason his way out of any tight spot. But McCain just never landed the knockout. He spent too much time criticizing minute details of Obama’s plans and not enough time explaining how his plans will make us a better nation.

In a debate, disparaging your opponent’s ideas looks like offense but it’s actually defense. And McCain played too much defense tonight.

As for Obama, the man is pure silk. I can’t remember a politician sounding so comfortable delivering debate answers. Tonight, as in the previous debates, Obama sounded like he was just speaking off the cuff, as if he didn’t even have to prepare. I’m sure some people find that worrisome (oooh, he’s slimy), but I like it. I enjoy listening to the man because I believe he’s speaking from real knowledge and not just talking points. Even when I know he’s equivocating (as with his b.s. answer on his previous NAFTA opposition), he sounds reasonable, which makes me think he is reasonable. I’d like to have a beer or two with the guy and talk politics.

So, Obama won simply by holding serve. He just had to play prevent defense (to mangle my sports metaphors) and he did that well enough. McCain had to present a resoundingly clear alternative. But he wasted too much time going after Obama and not enough time promoting his own plans. He wants me to vote for him because he’s not Barack Obama. But he needed to convince me to vote for him because he’s him.

McCain did well, but just not well enough.

Politics McCain Did Better But Just Not Good Enough