Yawn. It was the debate they had two weeks ago, only on their feet. All the little moments ("that one!") seem to add up to so much nothing. McCain was, to my eyes, at the beginning, more comfortable with the format, but Obama gained his sea legs and owned him on health care. Still though, it was all talking points, canned answers and talking around the questions.
Do I think Obama won? I do. But mostly because he's simply more coherent. It wasn't a thrilling debate performance; he's just solid and sharp in the setting.
McCain has moments where he appeared on top of the format, but his awkward jokes and oddball answers didn't do him credit. He says that Americans have to sacrifice their...earmarks? They'll have to be cool with him decimating Medicare? He thinks the solution to the health care crisis and the dominance of insurance companies is a tax credit to help you get into a sellers market? You think the solution to the climate crisis is...nuclear power plants? It's not ALL about style. McCain's actual answers to these questions are preposterous and out of touch.
The media tends to go straight for a debate about style. Was McCain agressive enough? Was Obama 'professorial?' It's all to fill air time so they can avoid coming down on any particular side on the issues and appear objective. The public doesn't have that burden: we're subjective viewers. It's our job to determine who makes sense. Right now, that's not McCain.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.