“I’m afraid Senator Obama doesn’t understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy... Senator Obama calls for more troops, but what he doesn’t understand, it’s got to be a new strategy... I don’t think that Senator Obama understands that there was a failed state in Pakistan when Musharraf came to power. Everybody who was around then, and had been there, and knew about it knew that it was a failed state.... What Senator Obama doesn’t seem to understand that if without precondition you sit down across the table from someone who has called Israel a “stinking corpse,” and wants to destroy that country and wipe it off the map, you legitimize those comments... He doesn’t understand that Russia committed serious aggression against Georgia.... Senator Obama still doesn’t quite understand..."It was the most notable verbal tic of the night: the number of times McCain resorted to saying Obama "didn't understand" a particular topic. The McCain camp, and the media, were touting these as direct strikes on his opponent, and yet CNN's focus-group graph took a plunge every time: the viewers didn't like it.
What did they know that the pundits didn't? Anyone who has ever been in an argument, knows that the last card you play, after your attempts to persuade and explain have all fallen flat, is the "you just don't understand" card. Children, especially, are very fond of it, although it lays them open to is to the parental response, "what do I not understand", at which point you face a choice: cough up or leave the room. You-just-don't-understand is the nuclear option of debating tactics, just a shade away from an actual tantrum: why won't you agree with me?