The overwhelming tedium in last night’s debate was only trumped by the evasiveness and insolence that candidates John McCain and Barack Obama showed. Facing off in a ‘town hall’ style debate (one in which the audience members ask the questions, and where candidates can not hid behind a podium), the candidates showed about as much life as a CSM physicist has. Once again, senators McCain and Obama were at each others throats.
However, in this go-around moderator Tom Brokaw silenced all rebuttals; effectively turning the debate into a political trial in which only the prosecution was allowed to speak. Brokaw routinely chastised the candidates for breaking the time limit rules until the rule breaking became so bad that he just gave up.
The evasiveness displayed by both candidates was remarkable. Instead of answering the audiences’ questions, the candidates answered by rephrasing the question so that it fit one of their cookie-cutter responses. Overall, last night’s debate was so politically disinteresting; it was almost not worth watching.
The American public will see last night’s debate as a resounding tie, but for Sen. McCain a tie is not good enough. Sen. McCain needed to annihilate Sen. Obama in this debate to make up the polling ground he has lost in recent weeks. He failed miserably. He most assuredly failed to sway undecided voters with his regurgitated answers and tired attacks. The reiteration of practiced lines from the previous debate not only removed the spontaneity of a ‘town hall’ debate, but also further convinced undecided voters to stay home on November fourth.
Sen. McCain recovered somewhat later in the debate as it moved toward foreign policy. There he sounded much more confident and knowledgeable when compared to the naivetÃ© Sen. Obama displayed, but it was just too little too late. Running from behind, Sen. McCain needed to make up lost ground by convincing voters that he is the better candidate; he simply did not accomplish this. Sen. McCain is sure to slide in the polls as a result of this political fall; however, it remains to be seen if this fall breaks his candidacy.