I watched the last debate in rerun after my team, the Dodgers, were knocked out of the playoffs by the Phillies. The Dodger shortstop, Rafael Furcal, made three errors in the fifth inning that sealed the Dodgers doom. McCain made many more errors, of arrogance, insensitivity and irrelevance during the debate, some of which the media recorded. Furcal is a good player, recovering from an injury, who will be better next year. McCain won't be any better next year when he will still be in the Senate, with fewer fellow Republicans, denouncing "class warfare" legislation when, for the first time in decades, it will be on the side of the people.
Obama was clear and consistent while McCain huffed and puffed the usual Republican stuff about taxes, threw in Bill Ayers, had perhaps his worst moment of the campaign when he spoke about his opposition to pregnancy terminations and mocked both Obama and "the pro-abortion" people for "stretching" the issue of "women's health" to defend pregnancy terminations. That got me very angry, although like McCain I have never been and can never be pregnant. Who was he to challenge women defending the health of women in a world where so many died of botched back alley abortions before Roe v. Wade, which he would know repeal.
The polls afterwards showed that the majority of viewers thought that Obama won the debate, as they had the earlier debates(the numbers for women voters were somewhat higher than they were in the earlier debates). The "liberal" media which in reality is the most politically pro business, pro conservative in the developed world with the exception of Italy(where the rightwing Prime Minister owns a majority of the private media and controls the public media) pretty much said the same thing, although they tried to put the best face on it that they could.
Even McCain's supporters seemed to be bored with him. All they could say is that he was more lively, more animated, more on the offensive in the first part of the debate. That was true, but his tight lipped smile and occasional manic look(unlike his somber and wooden appearance in the first debate and his puppet movements and gestures in the second) wasn't connected to his scoring any serious points against Obama and, even the McCain supporters grudgingly admitted, Obama took control of the second part of the debate by their standards.All they could do was to pick at Obama's statements, try to restate McCain's attempt to attack his "experience" in a more effective way than McCain did.
If the debate were being scored the way debate between individuals or teams are, Obama's lead would be insurmountable and, in any team competition, McCain would be off the team.
Senator Obama continues to advance on a broad progressive front, repudiating in general the economic philosophy of the Bush years and suggesting that the problems go back a lot longer than Bush, keeping his specific policy options open while offering both his supporters and the people a direction toward change that means reform in their interest.
I am really beginning to see the outline of a landslide victory for Obama and for the Democrats as a party in development as the election campaign continues.
McCain isn't making too much sense even for millions of centrist suburban Republican voters who see the economic crisis and regressive property taxes crippling their communities and destroying their home equity unless there is substantial federal aid to state and local communities--which they know will never come from McCain or from the Republicans whom they have supported in the past to maintain their privileges.
Also, the ugly hate-filled face of Palin and McCain rally people, the vile and obscene commentary that is filling the internet about Obama from characters who make Rush Limbaugh sound like a civil libertarian, is beginning to disgust many independent and for that matter Republican voters.
A friend of mine, a conservative , who will probably vote for McCain but won't be too sad to see him go down, told me he is going to great lengths not to associate with these characters, whom he sees as "losers" who act like bullies to hide their ignorance and their personal psychological problems.
He thinks that the "real fight" will be for "real" conservatives (people who can seriously defend the present socio economic system and strengthen it as it is) to take the Republican party away from these characters before they make it as weak as it was in the 1930s or worse. I told him gently that I didn't think his prospects were too good.
That with the Republicans, what you see is what you will get and as the country moves forward, they will go deeper into their political holes, leaving the more reasonable and more ambitious elements among their supporters to leave them and seek new political alignments.But, that is still very much in the future, a future which we must spend the next 19 days fighting to build.