Saturday, September 27, 2008

Did You See the Debate?

There will be all sorts of huffing and spinning and "My guy won" stuff thrown about today in the aftermath of last night's Presidential debate. Looking at the reaction from the quick polls and focus groups, particularly the ones involving independants, Obama won in a blowout.

Joe Klein, Time Magazine:

Obama emerged as a candidate who was at least as knowledgeable, judicious and unflappable as McCain on foreign policy ... and more knowledgeable, and better suited to deal with the economic crisis and domestic problems the country faces

McCain lost the debate among his base, Americans older than 50:

CNN just released some internals from their poll which showed that Obama won the debate. 48% of voters 50 and older thought Obama won, but only 40% thought McCain won. This, of course, is McCain's base. Men gave McCain a margin of only 3%, and women gave Obama a margin of about 20%. More horrible news for McCain. John King made the point that it is these people (50 and older) who are looking at their 401K's, which they spent decades building up, only to see everything now gone.

Among Independants, Obama in a blowout!

Screenshots including the raised hands of the CBS focus group showing a landslide victory for Obama.

It is always curious to see what sticks in people's minds after one of these things. I can never predict what it will be. I guess I'm too analytical and calculating. It is why good sales people and good marketing people are good at what they do, they look at the emotional components for direction. Last night's event, which John McCain tried to prevent from ever happening, is a fine example.

I kept track of factual errors and mistakes in judgement, nearly all of which were McCain's. Obama is by far NOT the most liberal member of the Senate. Obama has a decent record on earmarks, whereas McCain's own veep choice is America's reigning queen, getting over ten times what Obama has in per capita earmark money.

But what killed McCain wasn't his obvious factual misrepresentations. It was John McCain himself.

Watching McCain get all shakey during one exchange in which Obama pointed out that McCain was "Wrong, wrong, wrong..." on Iraq and Afghanistan, I noticed two things and so did all of the commentors. I thought McCain was going to have one of those "purple rage" moments he is famous for in his inner circles. ..But he didn't. Even though he was obviously near the edge of losing it, his complexion stayed the same healthy color and I was amazed.

How could this be?

And then I remembered the $5000 makeup program. We have heard a lot about John Edwards $400 haircuts but nothing about McCain's $5000 makeup program. The woman who does John's face was hired away from American Idol for big bucks. I think she saved John McCain from horrendous derision last night.

So as everybody in America watched Jim Lehrer try to get Barack and John to talk to each other, we all saw Obama speak directly to John McCain, the audience, and Jim Lehrer. What we never saw during the debate itself was John McCain look directly at Barack Obama.

I don't think he ever did it. He couldn't, all that much, even look at Jim Lehrer, the moderator who had asked him the questions. Everybody saw that. Everybody wondered what that meant about John McCain.

In my calculating analysis, I know that it means that McCain would be a disaster for the United States in a heated international negotiation. But that's not what everybody else saw...

They saw condecention, arrogance, rudeness, even "passive-agressive outrage". Wow...I was just thinking McCain was a jerk. But several pundits saw something else...They saw John McCain's inability to look Barack Obama in the eye as deep anger toward Obama...

Anger in the inescapable realization that Barack Obama is going to be the next President of the United States of America.

And me? I saw something else on John McCain's face as he turned it away from Barack Obama. I saw one hell of a pancake makeup job hiding the purple rage. That $5000 was money well spent.

That makeup woman is damned good!


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