I watched about 3 minutes of what Spiro Agnew--probably in the words of William Safire, as Agnew probably couldn't have put the phrase together--called "instant analysis and querulous criticism" after last night's debate. I shouldn't have been surprised that the couple of analysts I saw--including Pat Buchanan, for G_d's sake--differed from my take.
While watching, I thought "Obama is shredding him." But, lo, there were the pundits calling it a draw or, in Buchanan's case, a McCain victory.
I admit that I am not objective, but, Huh? What debate were they watching?
I thought McCain looked tense--some of the commentary said both candidates looked calm--as he fidgeted around while Obama answered. He was repetitive--he told us that he hadn't been elected Miss Congeniality in the Senate twice. He wandered at times.
Most important, in Barack Obama Americans--at least those who haven't made up their minds--saw a man in command of himself and the issues. He was calm, but he showed flashes of life. He might not have counterpunched McCain with fury, but he said clearly several times that McCain had misrepresented the record. He was, in a word, presidential. Given the national mood for change--which is only strengthening minute-by-minute given the financial crisis--that's what Obama has to do. If he makes more Americans comfortable with him in the Oval Office, he will win. Simple as that. And he did that last night.
Take a look at James Fallows' perceptive analysis of the debate.
The polls, by the way, agree more or less with what I've said above.