Both debaters were amazingly weak on the economy. That was the most incoherent, evasive, somnambulent half-hour of presidential debating in my lifetime. Seriously. I do hope nobody on Obama’s campaign team ever works another day in politics, although if he wins we’ll be plagued with Axelrodian pedestrianism on the chat shows for the next two decades as atonement for all the fun Jim Carville has given us.
On foreign policy, McCain was on his best behaviour. I hope to dissect his answer on Pakistan, which was breathtaking in so many ways, as soon as there’s video. But he does represent a solid step up from Sarah Palin, and talking about judgement often sounds like having judgement, sort of, so I think he had a decent night.
I’m closer to Obama on the issues, but I was left shaking my head, yet again, at what a prosaic and timid figure he strikes. Not timid on some hawk-dove foreign-policy spectrum, but as an advocate for his own positions. On the ex-Warsaw Pact, he kept earnestly trying to show he’s as solid as McCain — when he should have, could have shown that McCain isn’t solid. I kept wanting to tag-team and send Bill Clinton in. Or, might as well say it, Hillary.