John McCain acknowledged his opponent only twice in last night's debate - in the beginning and at the end when they shook hands. The rest of the time he donned his curmudgeonly old man posture. One expected him to yell at Obama to get off his lawn. McCain stood rigid at the podium with his jaw tightly clenched for most of the 90 minute debate. The only relief from that facial expression was when he gave his maniacal laugh - if you can call it a laugh. Moderator Jim Leher even tried to get him to make eye contact with Obama urging him to look at his opponent and answer his counterpoints.
Besides looking like the quintessential grumpy old man, McCain often sounded way out of touch with references to things like Ronald Reagan’s “S.D.I.” program, something few people under 40 would have understood.
At least McCain actually showed up at the debate after several days of some of the most childish, inane political posturing in recent history. In the middle of the financial melt-down and bailout bill negotiations, McCain used the debate as some sort of bargaining tool. He declared he would only show up if a deal was reached on the bailout. A deal wasn't reached but at the 11th hour, McCain went to the debate anyway.
For the most part, McCain stuck to his talking points during the debate, often trotting out the same tired lines about being a reformer and a maverick. McCain defended the ridiculous comment he made a couple of weeks ago about the fundamentals of our economy being strong by suggesting he really meant that the workers of America are fundamentally strong --right.
McCain also admitted he would continue Bush's atrocious tax cuts and continued to press his weak argument that cutting Congressional earmarks — which total about $18 billion a year — and reducing waste and abuse would fix the economy.
After the circus of the last week, it's good to have the first debate behind us. Bring on the VP debate on October 2!