Saturday, September 27, 2008

Debate Tics

Obviously this will be quick, because I need to go to bed.

I watched the debate on tape delay (I was at a comedy show tonight), but I managed to avoid hearing any commentary on it until after I watched (the one exception was an Obama supporter I was walking with who told me his brother thought Obama got smoked). Short verdict: I think Obama won by a moderate margin, but there were no "game changers" or flush shots landed by either party. I guess you could say no news is good news for Obama right now, but that's the only news I'd draw. The insta-reactions CNN had going on also seemed to favor Obama by a narrow but consistent margin.

But the one thing I do want to note is that each participants verbal tics were quite revealing. I was planning to take a mock drink each time John McCain said "my friends", but he only did it once. What he did say, over and over again, was variations on theme that Obama "did not understand" or was "naive". And this has been of late the defining attribute of McCain's campaign -- attacking Obama relentlessly. Obama's tic, by contrast, was repeating the word "points". He was quite the line-by-line debater this evening -- always answering with "let me just say a few points" or "I have three points" or "I need to get this point in". And this has been something that I've seen a lot of in Obama's campaign: a strong technocratic streak that is based around the idea that there are many sides and angles and questions that are important on each issue, and he is willing -- indeed, most comfortable -- methodically walking through them and guiding us through his thought process.

1 comment:

Jill Rodde said...

Our intended rule was to respond, "I'm not your friend!". Very disappointed it happened only once.