John McCain has one more chance to assert himself and as it turns out he needs it.
Because it didn’t happen so much tonight.
John McCain favors the town hall format but the elements that differentiate that format didn’t manifest themselves tonight. Tom Brokaw didn’t allow it, much to the detriment of the process and the value of tonight’s debate.
As moderator, Tom Brokaw displayed a last gasp of vitality in denying Obama’s request at one point to rebut a rebuttal in which McCain took a shot at him. In the next session, Obama couldn’t resist and went there anyway. Thereafter, Brokaw seemed to lose his will to moderate at all.
Not so much so as to allow John McCain to pick up where Sarah Palin left off on the concerns of character and associations that many anticipated would be part of the fare tonight. The format left Obama unscathed here.
The result of all of the above was a restating of well worn talking points and serial question non-answering on the part of both candidates, and from my vantage point, more so on the part of Senator McCain.
John McCain may have taken off the gloves but he didn’t take enough swings and he didn’t land enough blows.
An opportunity missed for sure.
To his credit, McCain was effective at conveying to Americans the reality that the level of entitlements enjoyed currently can not continue.
At the same time, McCain missed the opportunity to truly drive home the idea that Obama’s ridiculous and implausible promise of net spending reductions, bipartisanship and reform fly in the face of his public record while McCain, using the same measure, can more credibly assert that he will actually be able to exhibit and foster fiscal discipline.
Ideology aside, McCain was nervous and a little goofy, settled in and gained confidence, then regressed. Obama seemed consistently confident and poised.
My barometer tonight was Mrs. Roosh, a devout conservative who is much more removed from the day to day blog fodder and media bombardment than I am. Her take on McCain’s performance? She was annoyed.
I think she, like many voters, just wanted some straight answers if not a clear change of momentum in McCain’s favor.
All in all making next Wednesday night’s debate an even more pivotal event.