This article is cross-posted from BitsBlog .
Hereâ€™s a transcript of last nightâ€™s debate. 
If I get time, thereâ€™s a number of points Iâ€™d like to break out of it. But for now, a quick overview of who won and who lost.
If thereâ€™s one thing that the blogging  Democrats  and their pre-written declarations of an Obama  victory in the debate last night proves, it is that BS is a renewable resource. Last night, the left side of the spin floor similarly had nothing but the same tired nonsense weâ€™ve seen this entire cycle.
In their overblown (and largely pre-written) declarations of victory, intended to change voter perceptions of what they saw and heard, they ignore the entire â€œJoe the Plumberâ€ meme, which I consider a microcosm for last nightâ€™s debate, and in fact the whole of the campaign . McCain  was wise to bring this whole thing up last night because the story is viral in nature, and will do a lot of his work for him. I mean, leave at the side of the road all the large number of questions about his relationships with Ayers , Wright , ACORN , and all the rest that now reside under his bus. Those are important, certainly, and weâ€™ve discussed them here.. But in terms of voters personally identifying with a situation, none of these comes close to Joe the Plumber, and Obama  comes out on the losing end of that one.
Ah, yes, Joe the Plumber. You remember himâ€¦ heâ€™s the one who started asking serious policy questions of Obama â€¦ specifically tax questionsâ€¦ in Holland Ohio . MSNBC â€™s Mark Murray does a fair job for himself as he writes about that confrontation. (Amazing, given the network heâ€™s attached to, but let that go for the moment) Go and read. 
Or, if you like, hereâ€™s a vid .
Back now? Good.
The reality is that all Joe the Plumber did, was ask a pertinent question of a liberal, a question that stripped away the liberal veneer, exposing the socialist  underneath. Thatâ€™s something the mainstream  press has very rarely dared to do. That such a thing so rarely happens is exactly why Obama  was caught off guard. That is particularly clear in the video. In asking those pointed questions, Joe succeeded in inserting himself into the political landscape. Since that day in Holland, heâ€™s been on with Couric, heâ€™s been on â€˜The War Roomâ€™ (Which by the way, has more listeners than Couric) Heâ€™s been on at NPR, etc, etc,etc. The liberal press that ignored the questions Joe dared to ask, is now apparently trying to grab some of his thunder, while just as apparently not understanding his popular appeal.
Why is this so important? Well for one thing, Obama got a failing grade on his answers. He leaned, almost as a one would a touchstone, on socialist  valuesâ€¦ on â€˜wealth redistributionâ€™ His answers make clear that not only has Obama  not thought this stuff through, he clearly is not used to having his mantra seriously questioned. His reaction showed it, and for revealing this, Joe the Plumber is a hot topic today. He became important based on that one set of questions, and for making Obama  squirm with them.
Consider closely, please, the rapid rise in popularity of Joe the Plumberâ€¦. (Who, it should be said, at first blush rather reminds one of Dale Franks , in appearance) â€¦for asking serious questions of liberals versus the slow demise of the supposedly mainstream media  for their long- term refusal to ask such questions. The very reason Obama  was caught off guard by Joe was that he dared to enter an area the press would never go.
So how does all that bear on last night? Itâ€™s rather simple. Obama  of course knew the subject would come up, and had his tap shoes on, ready to dance around stuff McCain  threw out. But as Obama  demonstrated last night, there is a major difference between being â€˜readyâ€™ and being capable. He couldnâ€™t hide the fact that his devotion to socialism  is a major weak point, much as he wrapped it in the usual feel-good-sounding words. Thereâ€™s no question that Obama  is eloquent, but in actually reading what he says, outside that delivery of his, when one gets to really analyze what heâ€™s saying, and what heâ€™s proposing, one gets a clear picture that the Obama  is a complete disaster for America. I should point out the fact that Joe has done exactly that .
Honestlyâ€¦ McCain  is not a showstopping debater. Never has been and that much was clear back in the 2000 cycle and frankly long before that. thing is, though, weâ€™re not electing a Harvard Debate team, weâ€™re electing a leader. So, to win in terms of winning the election, what McCain  had to do during the debate was to reveal the flaws in not only Obama â€™s policies, but in Obama  himself. Not with anything explosive, but by sticking a pry bar in the cracks so a little light can shine in over these next 20 days or so. McCain  did that. And with the revelation of those flaws, with that substantive debate, where high sounding oratory doesnâ€™t quite matter so much as mere facts, Obama  didnâ€™t do as well, and couldnâ€™t close the saleâ€¦ as has been the case all through this campaign  cycle.
Win: McCain , by small points.
Now the stage is set for the last lap. Watch for McCain  to be pulling on that pry bar.
Others Iâ€™ve read on the topic: Sister Toldjah  , Ben Smith  The Opinionator , Faustaâ€™s Blog , Jon Swift , TIME.com , Raising Kaine , Tennessee Guerilla Women , Commentary  Sweetness & Light  Hugh Hewit  Weekly Standard  Karl Rove , Michelle Malkin  Flopping Aces  JammieWearingFool , Stop The ACLU  Gateway Pundit  Riehl World View , Little Miss Attila  and interestingly, the AP