At this point, I tend to think of debates as the political equivalent of beauty contests. Watch Candidate A or B demonstrate their poise in carrying the nuclear (ahem, NOT “nukulur”) briefcase while dressed in a tasteful business suit. Personally, I root for my preferred or less-evil candidate (depending on how successful the DLC is that particular cycle), then grit my teeth during the tsunami of spin that follows.
A couple of times I’ve tried going the C-Span route, but that gets even more bizarre, what with conspiricists insisting that it can all be explained by a sinister alliance between the Illuminati, the Free Masons, and the fact that Franklin Roosevelt’s ghost killed Paul McCartney, which somehow led to the rise of leisure suits in the 1970s.
Anyway–I digress, my point simply being that, last night, Barack Obama looked, well, presidential, while John McCain looked…Nixonian. No, I take that back: looking Nixonian would’ve been an improvement. At times it appeared as if he wanted to crawl out of his own skin.
Now, to be sure, this sort of demeanor might appeal to acertain segment of the electorate (ok, that or maybe the mouthbreathers have their own, um, for lack of a better term, ideas re: the lesser of evils). But mouthbreathers, as numerous as they might be (particularly down here in the Deep Fried South), don’t a working electoral majority make. And I’d hope those whose IQ’s range towards triple digits would notice the disconnect–“change” is pretty much 180 degrees removed from the standard and now utterly discreditied conservative boilerplate McCain couldn’t help but fall back on…because said biolerplate is the essence of his political philosophy.
To quote a great philosopher and political sage–Bob Marley–you can’t run away from yourself. Sorry, Senator McCain.
To stay with that thought for a second, Andrea Mitchell Greenspan likewise couldn’t run away from her Villager Insider last night, insisting that McCain “won” the debate with the astonishing and I guessmaverickiness revealtion that–gasp–he wasn’t George W. Bush. Well, that must’ve took some real political courage–distancing oneself from the least popular president in modern history. Enough political courage to impress an insider like Andrea.
Now, it’s also possible that Mitchell was just trying to be “fair & balanced,” in her own bizarroworld way (must credit McCain, must credit McCain); however, I don’t recall any similar measure of “balance,” particularly if the cognoscenti deem the victor to be the Republican candidate…which they seem to do all too frequently. In fact, one thing I’ve been struck by of late is just how often–and how quickly–the Villagers leap forward to declare that the napalm smell of victory has Republican written all over it…only to be contradicted by the public. Even on “evil librul” MSNBC, you had Mitchell and David Gregory carrying McCain’s water like nobody’s business…
And, while Chris Matthews, to his credit, noted that the McCain position on late-term abortion–that he values the life of an adult woman LESS than a fetus–might not strike a chord with women voters (gee–ya think?)–I was struck by how he kept referring to Barack Obama as cool but also “casual.” Um, cool, yes, cool here presumably meaning more even-temperment than “dude, cool.” But ‘casual?’ Not in my eyes. Obama was calm, but calm isn’t the same thing. Casual is, well, sort of a casual insult. Almost like Biden calling Obama “articulate.”
Again, Obama isn’t “casual.” He’s–and I don’t really like using the term, but it fits–“presidential.” And let’s all hope an electoral majority thinks likewise come next month.