The Debate:

Joe Malchow sums it up early on in the evening:

I was just about to write that this is the single most depressing political event I have ever witnessed—that these two men are as fools, aping their caricatures with absurd tested phrases and crude, insulting psychological links (like Obama's "tax cuts for oil companies").

Joe's depression lifted a bit later in the evening. But this seemed just right to me. Football coach Bill Walsh was famous for scripting his first 20 plays of the game--that's what the first 20 minutes of the debate seemed like to me. Just reading off a script to throw out all the pre-programmed buzzwords--check, check, check.

And just one other observation as it relates to foreign policy (the subject of this debate). For those of you who think that Barack Obama is qualified to be President more than Sarah Palin is to be Vice-President because of foreign policy issues, I'm sorry, but watching tonight's debate that is simply an absurd position. Maybe they are both qualified (my view, although it is much easier to argue that Obama is qualified to be Vice-President as Obama's lack of executive experience in making decisions and general aridity do worry me in seeing him as President in a world of Putins), or maybe they are both unqualified (although both seem obviously qualfied to be Vice-President). But the idea that Obama is qualified to be President and Palin unqualified to be Vice-President has never struck me as a particularly plausible position--and after last night, even less so.