Just got off deadline for a New York Post piece on the debate. I thought McCain was good. It’s as passionate and well-informed as he’s ever been on domestic policy. His debate briefers did their job well. I think he repeatedly scored points in the first hour, but they were jabs rather then crosses–blows that Obama could absorb. If McCain were running in a year when his party wasn’t getting crushed by a series of calamites, he might be winning this race. But tonight obviously wasn’t enough. Obama, meanwhile, just has to appear plausible and he did. In fact, he’s a kind of genius at appearing plausible. If the Nobel committee had a prize for appearing plausible, he’d win it every time. He carries himself with confidence, he never appears flustered, and he has mastered his material. If he’s losing these debates on points (as I think he is), it doesn’t matter. Every day the race drifts in the same direction it is now is a day he’s closer to becoming president.