Monthly Archives: September 2008

The First Debate

I call a virtual tie, with perhaps a slight lead to Obama. No major, major gaffes, and no knockout blows delivered. I’ll have more complete thoughts in a North Star column at the end of the weekend, but a few notes:
– Obama may have won without actually winning, in the sense that he sounded authoritative when talking about the issues. Clearly, he has a good grasp of this stuff, and those questioning his experience may very well have been convinced. Obama also got more comfortable as the night went on, and overall performed much better than in most of the primary debates.
– I appreciated the complete lack of Jeremiah Wright/William Ayers/flag pin questions, although Obama was wearing a flag lapel pin and McCain was not. So thanks, Jim Lehrer.
– Great question by Lehrer on how the two candidates would adjust their spending plans as a result of the current economic crisis. So great, in fact, that neither candidate answered it and Lehrer asked it three more times. On Time #3, McCain proposed a spending freeze, which he didn’t mention the first two times, nor any other time in the campaign up to this point. I think maybe he made it up on the spot.
– I don’t understand how McCain can gin up outrage over $3 million for a study of bear DNA, while saying he may very well support the $700 billion bailout. One one of those numbers is just a wee bit bigger than the other.
– I was surprised that Israel/Palestine was not a major topic of the debate; I’m guessing it was scheduled to be but got pushed either due to time constraints or because of the inclusion of the economy stuff. But I was glad that Obama made sure to call Israel our “stalwart ally.” Did you hear that, old Jews in Florida? He called ISRAEL our STALWART ALLY.
– The vice presidential debate next Thursday has a chance to shatter Bill Simmons’ Unintentional Comedy Scale. It’ll either be totally hilarious or totally horrifying, and probably both.

The Debate: A Prediction

As the first debate approaches, just one thing we know for sure: After it’s over, Hugh Hewitt will say McCain won. Guaranteed.
The only thing that could keep Hewitt from saying that would be if McCain fell and cracked his head open on the podium, but even then, Hugh would likely say that such an accident had “humanized” McCain, and that Obama’s reaction showed him unfit to lead.
UPDATE: Gee, how’d I know:

Debate Summary: A Strong McCain Win: “Senator Obama Doesn’t Understand…”
Posted by: Hugh Hewitt at 10:30 PM
As expected, McCain shines and Obama is on the defensive throughout. The good news for Obama is that more than 30 minutes were not on the specifics of foreign policy. But Obama stumbled badly on Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. McCain simply knows this stuff, and Obama again and again betrays that he does not.

The Best Movie of the Year So Far

I have to talk about “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” which I saw last night and instantly fell in love with. It’s in the tradition of “American Graffiti” and “Dazed in Confused”- a night-in-the-life tale about young people about to set off for college. This time it’s set in New York City, with Michael Cera as the hero and Kat Dennings (Catherine Keener’s daughter in “40-Year-Old Virgin”) as the heroine.
On top of all the movie’s other virtues- it’s funny, with great music, and a whole lot of memorable moments- ‘Nick and Norah’ reminded me greatly of so many nights from my New York years, of rampaging around the city with a huge group of friends before grabbing a train back to New Jersey at the sun rises. Dennings even looks just like a girlfriend I had in high school…
The movie comes out a week from today; I certainly plan on seeing it again.


The Twins beat the White Sox in ten innings last night to complete their sweep and move out a half-game ahead of the White Sox. The Twins came back from a 6-1 deficit to win in the 10th inning.
This sets up a crazy final weekend of the season, with the Twins playing Kansas City and the White Sox battling Cleveland, while in the NL the Mets and Brewers are tied for the wild card with the Phillies a game ahead of both. Can’t wait to spend all day Sunday in a sports bar watching both the NFL and baseball; I’ve got a feeling I’ll be happier on sunday about the Twins than the Vikings.
How crazy would it be if, the year after the Santana trade, the Mets didn’t make the playoffs but the Twins did?