Wow. One thing I will say about John McCain, he is full of surprises. Just when I think the Right wing of the party has him reined in, the guy grabs the wheel of the Straight Talk Express lurches unexpectedly again.
I know as an Obama supporter I should be writing about him this morning. But, frankly, McCain is the more interesting story. When McCain decided to make this election a referendum on Obama basically all Obama had to do was convince the American people that he was ready. He looked steady, Presidential, calm, composed and showed a grasp of the issues again. As the American people grow more comfortable that he has crossed the threshold Hillary mentioned, his poll numbers continue to rise. He did not either land or even throw a knock out punch last night. At this point, he's ahead on points and intent to run out the clock.
Two things in the debate last night shocked me. The first was what John McCain did not say. After several days of his campaign trying to paint Obama as a terrorist and warning America about his dangerous associations at every opportunity there was not a mention last night of any shady "friends" of Obama. If Obama is so dangerous and it's imperative that the American people know about it, should McCain have seized a national television audience on several major networks to announce it to the world? By his own standard, maybe he shouldn't have debated Obama at all (without preconditions). Now, Obama's campaign had promised that if Ayers was trotted out, Charles Keating would be invited along to the party. Was that the reason McCain backed off? I don't think so. I wonder if what we saw was John McCain's integrity. While he has mentioned Ayers, it's really Sarah Palin that has been the hatchet woman. Was McCain just unwilling to go there face-to-face with Obama? Is it his campaign that pushed that and he drew the line? Was he afraid to say it to Obama's face? I'd like to believe it was John McCain's integrity that constrained him. In any event, it was a pleasant surprise.
The second major surprise of the night was the proposal to buy $300 billion in mortgages and readjust the principle to current market value. That one I am still shaking my head over. The conservatives in the party were in shock when I went to bed last night. I haven't seen any analysis yet this morning. How does adjusting the values down to current market value stabilize housing values? I guess it does keep people in their homes. But, how do you administer such an ambitious plan? There was talk that McCain needed to make a "bold" move concerning the economy. This seemed to fit as a "bold move"
Just a couple of more notes. McCain continued to make false statements about Obama that have been made and refuted before. His position on raising taxes (Obama missed a golden moment to point out that by McCain's own metric, he has voted to raise taxes more often than Obama), his statement about "attacking" Pakistan. I thought McCain looked silly trotting those out with Obama sitting right there to refute them. McCain's body language was awkward at best last night. I don't think he was being intentionally rude. I think the man is nervous. The first thing he did when he came out was start scribbling notes (if he needed notes wouldn't he have brought them with him- this was before the first question was asked). He rudely paced about the stage while Obama was talking. Even making allowance for the fact that maybe he can't sit for long periods (I have never heard anything of the sort), he could have at least stood in once place instead of pacing around like a caged animal. I'll let others analyze his reference to Obama as "that one". I also found it odd that he and Mrs. McCain seemed to rush from the building after the debate was over. I was watching on NBC and though "Uh-oh, I'm going to hear about the 'liberal media bias' tomorrow because they're only showing Barack Obama and Mrs. Obama." Little did I know that John McCain had already left the building.
Did you watch the debate? What do you think?