Here's a pretty good column breaking down what exactly we saw at the candidate forum with Rick Warren over the weekend. Most of the professional pundits (and a good portion of the amateurs) seem to be saying that McCain came out on top of that one. While Obama wandered, McCain focused and gave personal, gut-feeling answers.
In one sense, that's exactly what happened. McCain's answers were significantly punchier than Obama's more professorial ruminations on the questions posed to him. The pundits all took that to mean that Obama lost and McCain won. I'm not so sure. At least, I'm not so sure that's the way things should be.
The fact is, we live in a very complicated world. Complex questions don't always have simple answers. Sometimes, in fact, giving simple answers is a disservice to the issue at hand. Take the war in Iraq. There are a variety of reasons - both good and bad - for our entering into the war and there are a variety of reasons - again, both good and bad - for getting out now. When looking at all of the different factors in play, I'm not sure if I want someone who offers a four word response to that issue. I think I would much prefer to have someone who has shown that they've thought through the issues and understand the nuances.
We've had eight years of gut feeling leadership. Maybe now it's time to try thoughtfulness.