More Post-Debate Navel Gazing

September 28, 2008

Two of the best short pieces I’ve read have been by Josh Marshall:

First, the pattern in the 2000 and 2004 presidential debates was essentially this: the Democrat generally won each debate on points and even in the snap polls of undecided voters. But there was usually some remark or bit of affect that — ludicrous or not — right-wing commentators and yakkers fixed in on and were able to parlay into the dominating conversation of the next few days. In this way, strong debate performances turned into weak debate performances.

I’m not seeing anything like that this time. Mainly that’s because Obama just didn’t make any mistakes. But I suspect it’s also because there’s now more meta-media parity between right and left

and James Fallows:

For years and years, Democrats have wondered how their candidates could “win” the debates on logical points — that is, tactics — but lose the larger struggle because these seemed too aggressive, supercilious, cold-blooded, or whatever. To put it in tactical/strategic terms, Democrats have gotten used to winning battles and losing wars. Last night, the Democratic candidate showed a far keener grasp of this distinction than did the Republican who accused him of not understanding it.

And then from Jonathan Weisman, there’s this great piece of political theater that explains a lot if it actually went down this way.