This is the first time I have had the opportunity to see a debate in a US Presidential election.
I was surprised at how docile an affair it was, I somehow expected a bit of fireworks, but it turned out to be very civil. The moderator impressed me as I am more used to the Australian system, where the position is normally given to someone more partisan – from the left.
We have a phenomena in ours called “the worm,” which is a line that follows the attitude of a hundred ‘swinging voters’ who have a little device on which they indicate their approval or disapproval of what they are hearing from the combatants. The Australian media likes to tell us what to think. For those in America, you are not missing anything; it’s a bloody annoyance.
Still debates can come up with some surprises. In one of the Queensland state elections some years ago, the deputy opposition leader and shadow treasurer was Joan Sheldon. Joan was being portrayed fairly successfully as some sort of little old lady who had the position as a sop to women. She was expected to show up poorly in the debate against the Labour treasurer.
Joan tore him to pieces, chewed him up and spat him out in little pieces, and ended any speculation as to her abilities. The best part was that the moderator, a former Labor staffer, was doing his best to protect him and she dealt with him as well. I never underestimated her again.
My impressions of this one; Obama did better than I expected, (I always thought he opposed the surge and was under the impression that he said it wouldn’t work) but then he has always lied with conviction.
McCain performed well and got the experience thing across well, although I feel he needs to be a bit more aggressive. He let Obama get away with too much.
I doubt that the debate will change too many minds, there was nothing there that will convince the supporters of either candidate that their man lost.