My debate analysis in three words
"Congratulations, President Obama."
Look, John McCain always had a Sisyphean uphill battle to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. First of all, it's rare for one political party to hold the White House for three terms in a row, even during periods of peace and prosperity (ask Al Gore). Then there's my favorite piece of Presidential trivia that no candidate has been elected to the White House who has been in public office more than 14 years. And there's the "tallest" edge to Obama as well as the "agent of change" and "most optimistic."
Of course, this was before the headwind of the war in Iraq and the meltdown of the financial and stock markets. And while McCain may have been on the right side of the surge in Iraq and reform of the GSEs, few can make the distinction between the Bush administration and all Republicans. Make no mistake: John McCain can make an argument for his candidacy, but he's been hobbled by economic conditions that favor the Democrats. Meanwhile, Obama has benefited from a fawning mainstream media, frozen by cries of racism from investigating his relationship with a domestic terrorist or election fraud on the Left.
In my mind, Virginia was the canary in the coalmine, a solidly red state that has now moved strongly into Obama's column. In fact, of the eight state on Real Clear Politics listed as "tossups," seven of them are currently leaning for Obama. (That Indiana is even in the tossup column, leaning slightly for McCain, is another signal of McCain's weakness.) The various electoral counts have all moved in Obama's favor and there's no real indication that McCain can grab any of the blue states that either Gore or Kerry carried.
Earlier in the campaign, John McCain invited Barack Obama to join him in a series of town hall meetings, which was the format for tonight's debate. The Illinois Senator should have accepted because tonight he was articulate and knowledgeable on a range of topics with a good memory for statistics and a flair for rhetoric. To use a cliche, John McCain needed a "game changer" and he didn't come close. He wasn't bad, but Obama was better, and it's hard to argue that anything that happened tonight will change the current trajectory of the race.
Believe me, it pains me to write this, especially since I have boundless respect for John McCain who has given his body and soul in service to this country. It's further disappointing that McCain will lose to somebody with no military, executive, and barely any legislative experience. But, indisputably, Barack Obama has landed squarely at the crossroads of history at the right time.
What this means for America, I guess we'll have to wait and see.
More - Right Wing News: "Huge winner by default: Obama."
Ace: "Barack Obama...effectively he wins."
So we got that going for us: "The takeaway from this debate may be that it will prevent Obama from running away with the election."
Stephen Green: "McCain won, but not by nearly enough to matter."
Powerline: "Obama edges closer to the Presidency." That's what I said.