This morning a Republican commentator cited the presentation of a plan to buy mortgages directly, rather than buying mortgage backed securities, as John McCain's big win from last night. Isn't that already part of the bailout plan, in that the existing law gives the Treasury permission to buy any debts it sees fit? This article claims such, and Joe Biden's comments that I mentioned previously also seem to indicate this.
So if reiterating a part of the existing plan, one which Biden had already commented on in his VP debate, was McCain's big splash in this debate, it's pretty clear to me that he didn't "win." Furthermore, given that the Town Hall style meeting was his choice, the fact that McCain didn't perform better is problematic for his campaign. To me, his inability to connect better with the Town Hall voters showed just how out-of-touch he's become.
McCain is so obsessed with winning, given that this is almost certainly his last chance at it, that he's become much less appealing in the process. Once upon a time he was one of the Democrats' favorite across-the-aisle politician. Now his independent resolve has become just pandering to the Republican base, and his policies are nothing more than reiterations of Bush's failed policies. His bitterness is seeping out in his speeches, and calls, including his own calls, for a calm response to the problems facing the country today make his famous temper a liability.
Since I'm already solidly in the Obama camp I suppose my analysis of McCain's performance here is suspect, but I did expect a better showing from McCain in the Town Hall setting.