early and often

Last Night’s Debate: The Really Important Stuff

God those smiles look like they hurt.

See what happens when you give a boring debate, people? The “media” is forced to try to make mountains out of molehills — or in this case, heaps out of handshakes. Yesterday we told you that last night’s debate wasn’t going to matter, and we were unfortunately correct. Obama was boring and affable, McCain was boring and fiery. Did any of you out there playing drinking games eventually drop the “game” part and just commence with the “drinking”? (If any of you had to do a shot every time McCain said “my friends,” we hope someone got you to a hospital — we counted, he said it nineteen times.) So what are people talking about today besides the fact that McCain didn’t deliver a game-changer? Let’s see:

• Nobody can tell whether to get offended over McCain’s use of the phrase “that one” to describe Obama.

• A lot of people think that McCain totally snubbed Obama’s offer of a handshake after the debate. (As you can see above, they very publicly did shake hands as Brokaw delivered his closing remarks. McCain just didn’t want to do it twice — he’d already Purelled!)

• It surprised some how not-boring Tom Brokaw was himself. The Meet the Press host got totally irritated at the two candidates, especially with their disregard for the time limits set by their own campaigns. “You may not have noticed, but we have lights around here — they have red and green and yellow, and they are signals,” he moaned at one point. Later, he added: “Gentlemen, I want to just remind you one more time about time. We’re going to have a larger deficit than the federal government does!” Gawker has a video roundup of this.

• At least one left-wing blogger felt that Brokaw seemed to favor his fellow old white dude a little bit, since he thanked McCain for his answers six times, and Obama only once.

• At one point McCain flubbed General Petraeus’s job title, which Keith Olbermann gleefully pointed out on MSNBC afterward. “No one in his right mind thinks McCain doesn’t know who Petraeus is,” one conservative blogger correctly observed. “Which is why Olbermann pointed it out.” Snap!

• As for what we noticed — the town-hall debate style didn’t seem to help McCain at all, even though he’s been begging for ten of these. It’s a relaxed format, but McCain never looked relaxed. He looked like he had recently been electrocuted. We don’t believe we’ve ever used the phrase “herky-jerky” before, but that’s the best way to describe the way McCain was moving around. He looked ancient. They both clearly didn’t know how to perch on their chairs between questions, but compared to McCain, Barack Obama looked like a reclining ballerina.

• And did it strike anybody else that the men in the audience were dressed as though they were a high-school basketball team on the day of an away game?

Last Night’s Debate: The Really Important Stuff