Last night, I listened to pundit after pundit give their post-debate analysis, from Bill Kristol to Keith Olbermann. The core of the reaction was that McCain did well, but he didn't hit the homerun against Obama.
All of that misses the point and I think you are seeing it in the various polls taken this morning. McCain was never going to beat Obama on style. But, he didn't have to beat Obama -- he needed to beat his own anemic performances in debates 1 and 2. And, he clearly did. Finally, he delivered an impassioned reason to support his candidacy - lower taxes, economic growth, culture of life, pro-second amendment, anti-terror. This was the John McCain that should have been out there for the last six months.
While I will give a more detailed analysis soon, I make the following predictions:
Joe the Plumber's days in the spotlight aren't over -- expect to see him in a McCain ad in the days ahead. This ad alone could win the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.
McCain will be deemed to have won this debate by far greater margins in 2 or 3 days, than the immediate post-debate analysis projected.
McCain will be within 2 points of Obama nationwide within 5 days.
This race is far, far from over. In fact, while I will not predict that McCain will necessarily win, I feel far more comfortable about McCain's campaign position today, than I did just a week ago.
And, with that said, I will no longer be surprised if John McCain wins the presidency on November 4.