I confess that I missed about half of the presidential debate last night (I was at rehearsals for a local theatrical production that I have a small part in, which is a story for another day).
What I did see seemed more alive and interesting than previous debates, although in the end it seemed to be about the same result: McCain, old, crotchety and snarky; Obama calm, disciplined and reasonable. Many times Obama had an opening to take a shot and didn't take it, apparently choosing to go for the classy points victory and not the brutal knockout.
Those in the cheap seats with me wanted him to knock McCain on his ancient keister but on reflection his strategy was probably smarter. It was the high road for him. We shall see whether it leads to the White House.
Coming in late, I was confused by the references to what I heard as Joe Plumber. I thought that perhaps this was Joe Six-Pack in his day job, all scrubbed up for the disapproving residents of those non-drinking regions of America where joy has fled. But no.
Only this morning did I find out that it was Joe the Plumber being referred to, a real character whom Obama had met in Ohio and who was now propelled into his 10 minutes of fame. I should have known this. Where have I been? (I know, at rehearsals.)
A couple of other thoughts: I know networks like CNN want to be seen as even-handed but I do not think the presence of party hacks like William Bennett adds anything. What is the point of having chronic partisans - Democrats as well as Republicans - share their predictable thoughts?
McCain could literally have caught fire last night and Bennett would have praised his fiery passion even as the fire department hosed him down. Isn't there a race track where this guy could go to irritate the horses?
Also, who are these Independents who still haven't made up their minds and that every commentator must bow down to? I see these vacillating folk in my mind's eye, stroking their chins, saying gosh, I don't know, I like McCain but on the other hand I like Obama, I just wish we had more time than a three-year-election cycle to make a choice.
I say, round up these undecideds and stick them in asylums where they belong. If you don't know whom you are voting for at this late stage, you have no hope of making up your mind because you are clearly out of it.