The debate tonight between Obama and McCain was reasonable and civil, which I think is good, but each candidate in his own way seemed uncomfortable. McCain at the start was very low-energy, almost apologetic. He hit his stride when the discussion moved more towards foreign policy, but still spent more time talking about where he'd visited and what he'd experienced than what he'd do as president.
Obama for his part made clear and reasoned statements but didn't deliver them with much conviction. For a man known for his speeches I was surprised at how low-key he was much of the time. I'd call the debate a draw, with both men looking presidential but neither standing out. Obama's my guy, no doubt about that, but I'm still waiting to see the passion that others have seen.
Political junkies' map
If you'd like to really dive into the history of American presidential politics from the election of 1840 to 2004, go to Voting America, a website created by the University of Richmond. Detailed interactive maps offer tons of information on things like margin of victory, electoral turnout, popular vote by country and dozens of other ways of slicing and dicing election results.
If you'd like help understanding what it all means, there is a good selection of video commentaries by University of Richmond professors.
My only gripe with this very well thought out resource is that it is presented entirely in Flash, software that creates text that cannot be selected (to copy information) or resized (to see it better) on your computer. To my less-than-perfect eyes the text is a bit hard to read. With a non-Flash website I simply hit Command-(+) on my keyboard to enlarge it. Doesn't work with Flash text.
Those minor concerns aside, if you want to get beyond the headlines of presidential elections, take a look at Voting America.
Are you a political junkie? What's your favorite site? Add your comment by clicking below.