Following the first debate, despite the polls, I did not think that Senator Obama won handily. On the contrary, I actually thought that McCain may have had a slight edge; not on the issues per se, but on the overall feel. I felt as if McCain seemed more on the offensive and more stalwart, two characteristics that a good portion of the American public relate to. I found Obama's command of the issues and nuanced views to be far superior, but something about the overall tenor caused me to think that McCain had done well.
Tonight could have not have been more different. After nearly two years of "critical" debates, tonight was Barack Obama's most impressive performance yet. Not only did he show an unbelievably elastic knowledge of just about every issue covered in every newspaper over the past five years, but his cadence, delivery, thoughtfulness and overall make-up were stunning. This was not a man in training, but rather a man who is ready this very minute to take over the helm.
John McCain, on the other hand, did very little to give us a portrait of what his presidency would be. Once again, he was on the attack. He was condescending to a questioner ("You had probably never heard of Fannie or Freddie") and to his opponent ("that one"). I mean, imagine for one second if Obama pointed at McCain and referred to him as "that one". His campaign would effectively end the moment the second word slipped off his tongue. Why? Because in order for Barack Obama to reach the White House, he essentially has to be perfect. And tonight he was just that. John McCain seemed flustered, agitated and flat-out pissed off that he was even sharing the stage with "that one".
I will never deny that I am biased when it comes to this election or politics in general. But this election just baffles me. I can attribute the possibility of a McCain presidency to one thing: race. If Barack Obama were the same person, but white, I imagine he'd be ahead by 20 points, and barring a major slip, would coast to the presidency. But he's not. And as a result, as much as we'd rather not admit or confront it, he's playing under different rules. But regardless of this, he remains a man of integrity, class, unbelievable intelligence and incredibly impressive leadership. This man is ready. And we're ready for him. We simply can't get this one wrong.