Final Debate Thoughts
1. McCain appears to have lost the debate, not on points but on presentation. I never thought the whole “anger” line would go anywhere, but that’s because I assumed McCain wouldn’t be so undisciplined that he would continually feed the perception.
To be unable to maintain composure for (any!) 90 minute debate — aka job interview — lends an impression that you don’t have the temperament for a high-pressure job.
2. McCain’s biggest substantive mistakes were his dismissive attitude towards women who need late-term abortions to protect their health (Clinton holdouts were already moving toward Obama, that just sealed the deal), and his defiant embrace of our current global trade strategy (so long Rust Belt.)
3. Post-debate spin can be more important than first impression insta-polls. It so happens that the insta-polls have shaped post-debate spin so far this year. (McCain has been unable to gin up any phony stories to spin afterwards.)
But “Joe the Plumber” could change that. He is obviously right-wing, but has now been set-up as Mr. Middle America, and will get a good 24 hours of coverage tomorrow.
One thing of note: while Joe told Obama he was planning to buy a business that makes more than $250,000, he told CBS last night that as of now he makes less than that, and would not receive a tax increase under Obama’s plan. He simply expresses a baseless fear that the $250,000 threshold for a tax increase would drop to $100,000.
Not right now at presently, but, you know, question, so he’s going to do that now for people who make $250,000 a year. When’s he going to decide that $100,000 is too much, you know? I mean, you’re on a slippery slope here. You vote on somebody who decides that $250,000 and you’re rich? And $100,000 and you’re rich? I mean, where does it end? You know, that’s–people got to ask that question.
Well, it ends at a place called democracy, where politicians propose ideas during campaigns and people vote on them. And if they break their word you can vote them out.
After seeing focus group data like this, where people believe the worst about Obama and plan to vote for him anyway just to have change, it’s doubtful that 24 hours of Joe can upend the race.
But he can do more for McCain than McCain could.