The final debate is over, and John McCain has left diminished and defeated. He landed all his punches. He emptied his clip of attacks one after another, but in a disjointed sneer that left every hit with out muscle or real impact. Obama wasn't looking to win. He is up by massive, nearly insurmountably margin in national and state polling, so he got to go on TV and line-by-line calmly dispute McCains repetition of Ayers, ACORN, tax-hikes, and many other attacks (notably Rev. Wright was absent, but replaced with John Lewis). And with every attack, McCain got more and more angry. Watching him was painful at times, some one said, "it was like watching a class in anger management."
In this debate, McCain threw everything he had and came away a smaller, angrier man to Obama's presidential stature.
Obama remained steady, as he has been for this entire campaign. People are going to expect great things from him, and the next president really has a massive challenge laid out before him. But I think we are at the point where people en-mass are deciding that they want Barack Obama solving those problems. They like the way he thinks, they like the way he talks, and they fundamentally like his ideas more.
At this point, there is nothing McCain can do to win the election. It is completely out of his hands. He has been defeated at all three debates, his running mate is a drag on the ticket, he is being outspent 3:1 on ads, he has none of the ground game that brought Bush two victories while Obama has one of the best ever, and tonight he just shot off just about every attack he could find on the darkest corers of the internet and still came up resoundingly short. It was once a wild hope for me that Obama could be president, but I assured myself that could never happen. I thought his name was to unknown in a world of big fish. He would be to timid in his campaign and fail. I thought that good judgment could only get you so far, that good ideas would just be shouted down by simple rhetoric. But he has done it.
The photo above was taken on July 27th, 2004 during Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention.
Election day is on November 4th.
20 days from today.