Daniel W. Drezner

Um, I’m going to do, like, some really shallow debate analysis, like, OK?

Nate Silver points out, correctly, that pundits watch these debates differently than the rest of the country.   So, as a follow-up to last night’s post, which focused more on the substance of what they said, here are some random thoughts about the surface stuff: John McCain looks much worse in person than he does on ...

Nate Silver points out, correctly, that pundits watch these debates differently than the rest of the country.   So, as a follow-up to last night’s post, which focused more on the substance of what they said, here are some random thoughts about the surface stuff:

  1. John McCain looks much worse in person than he does on analog television, and I was wondering if that would show up if 2008 would lead to an HD/analog split in reaction to the debate that 1960 had for radio/television.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that the answer was no.  [Pleasantly?–ed.  Yes, this is a really stupid reason to prefer one candidate over the other.]  McCain looked better than expected, while Obama looked more sallow.  Curiously, the more whiskey I drank, the better both of them looked.  UPDATE:  Wow, Ann Althouse and I agree!
  2. Ah, the perceived slights.  Josh Marshall highlights McCain’s unwillingness to make eye contact with Obama.  I would say that McCain evinced some disregard for Obama — but I’m not buying the “low-ranking monkey” hypothesis (seriously, I can’t believe Josh posted this).  McCain was not afraid of Obama — he just doesn’t like him.
  3. Meanwhile, Amy Holmes at NRO is miffed that Obama kept calling John McCain “John” rather than Senator McCain.  Holmes suggests that Obama picked this up from Joe Biden.  I’ve found, in talking with Obama staffers, that this is just how that campaign talks.  They all call Obama “Barack”.  The fuddy-duddy in me finds this absurd — if you’re worried about a stature/experience gap with your opponent, the last thing you do is call everyone by their first name.  But it’s not something directed at McCain specifically.
  4. The most grating moment came when John McCain called himself a maverick.  As Megan McArdle observes, “no one should ever, ever refer to themselves as a maverick unless they are currently James Garner.” 
  5. Amid all the debate over who won the debate, the answer seems clear to me — the candidate who left themselves more vulnerable to the cold-open Saturday Night Live skit tonight loses.  I think McCain’s performance is more ripe for satire — but we’ll know in about 14 hours.   

Like, that’s all. UPDATE:  OK, this is, like, pretty fascinating:   

 Twitter: @dandrezner

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola