Thursday, October 16, 2008

Debate III: The Wheels Come Off

I hate to admit it, but McCain started off well last night: He was uncharacteristically crisp and engaged. Obama, on the other hand seemed to be somewhere else. In fact, an early split screen caught him staring into space during one McCain statement. Then came the question about negative campaigning, specifically was either candidate prepared to say to the other's face what their ads had been claiming. (Unsurprisingly, neither man took up the opportunity.)

Instead, McCain started whining about John Lewis, and at the same time tried -- not to sound like Joe Biden, but it fits here -- literally incredibly to claim that his campaign had taken the high road of jobs and the economy. At this point, the wheels came off. In a near Muskie moment, the former POW and 26-year veteran of national politics whimpered that Lewis' comparison darker aspects of the McCain campaign to George Wallace's race-baiting to be "hurtful." This is the guy who "knows how" to capture Osama bin Ladn and "win" in Iraq?Meanwhile, Obama remarked that while it was in fact a tough campaign, he could take three more weeks of negative campaigning but the American people couldn’t take four more years of Bush economics.

McCain didn’t do himself any favors by sneering at protecting the health of a woman as being a necessary part of any abortion legislation. This is a line Democrats, independents and more than a few Republicans simply won't cross. By deriding it, McCain not impugned the ethics of millions of voters, he all but said that they hadn't given the matter serious thought. By now, I'd say that if there's one thing Americans have given a lot of thought to, it's reproductive choice. Not a shining moment for the Straight Talk Express.

McCain is all over the place. He talks about a spending freeze on one hand and building 45 nuclear power plants on the other (estimated cost 9 bil per, and I’d like to know what nuclear power plant ever came in at its estimate. Plus, who will take them?). He invoked Trig Palin as an example of the need for Americans to "dig deep" to find a cure for autism (Trig actually has Down's Syndrome, not autism) while averring time and again that throwing money at problems was not the way to solve them.

McCain's closing — which might have been effective eight years ago — was counterproductive. He basically said “trust me because I”m a McCain and I know how to...” but that’s what we’ve been hearing from Bush for two terms. Right now, people aren’t going to buy that from anyone, no matter how well-intended.

Obama had his good moments and weak spots — he was kind of slack at the beginning — but basically he ran the ball into the line to kill the clock. To me, his finest moment came when he steadfastly defended his policy toward Colombia ("our closest ally" in South America McCain called it) on the basis of that country's poor record on human rights and labor. When it comes to Central and South America, the Unites States does not have a proud history; it was inspiring to hear a presidential candidate put human rights and decency ahead of realpolitik. 

I was a little surprised that the snap polls showed Obama winning so handily, although maybe that isn’t so surprising when you consider the lead he’s built up. Plus, McCain's claims that he was running a positive campaign based on issues strained credulity to the point that the few remaining voters may well conclude that he is a liar. And once that happens...

When the debates began, I thought that Obama had a tendency to miss openings. Now, I've come to believe that he chooses the ones he wants to blow through. McCain offers so many, and the last thing Obama needs is to look like he's mugging an old white guy...

I'm not going to say much about "Joe The Plumber" other than something that started out as condescending swiftly became comical...

For those of you unfamiliar with the name of John Lewis, the 21-year Georgia congressman began his career in public life as a Freedom Rider. Beaten by an Alabama mob in 1961, he rose to leadership of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and spoke at the famous Washington March of 1963, the event at which Martin Luther King gave his "I have a dream..." speech. Although a Hillary Clinton supporter, Lewis had this to say about Obama's nomination: 
“If someone had told me this would be happening now, I would have told them they were crazy, out of their mind, they didn’t know what they were talking about ... I just wish the others were around to see this day. ... To the people who were beaten, put in jail, were asked questions they could never answer to register to vote, it’s amazing.”
You know, if John Lewis says your campaign has taken on elements of segregationist hate, perhaps you ought to listen. It's not like he doesn't know what he's talking about...

Has the McCain campaign taken the low road? And if not, what to make of supporters like these:

To wash the bad taste from your mouth, here's the TV ad version of Ralph Stanley's endorsement of "Barack." And dig Ralph's accent when he pronounces "Virginia"!


Cowtown Pattie said...

Those McCain supporters turned my blood cold. It is way more than a little upsetting to hear fellow Americans spew such ignorant venomous hate and spout sheer lemming rhetoric.

Mob mentality - we've seen it all, sadly.

How did we get to the point of hating each other so viciously? Disagreement, yes, but to insinuate you would prefer the "other side" die is...unspeakable.(I get the feeling the one fellow in teh video would assist in that process with a gun if he was pushed.)

If we ever needed national unity and cooperation, it is now. And look what is in its place: hate, mistrust, violence, cheap shots, and outright lies.

K. said...

Here's something I've always wondered about these types: How is it that they can claim to love America and hate Americans?

Foxessa said...

I've been seeing more and more of these kinds of the mini video documentaries of the people going to their mcpln Howl Service Lynch Rallies. They are getting crazier day-by-day. This 20% scare the farkin' shit out of me.

For one thing they are still here post the election, no matter how it turns out. They've been learning jackboot activity at these rallies. They are in place for anything that their cynical handlers want to direct them to do. 20% of any community without any sense of fairness, rationality, reason or belief in compromise or discussion can do hideous damage.

Now the Secret Service is refusing to allow the press to talk to these people. No press can interview anyone in the audience of one of these lynch rallies.

How the fark does the secret service get to do that?

They are also saying there were no calls to kill Obama at other rallies.

What these people are doing is what the primary media has refused to do for decades now. They are showing the faces of hatred. It was the primary media carrying those faces up close to all of America that allowed Civil Rights and Voting Rights to become successful. These are the same people that howled at the little girls in Birmingham, and bombed them.

I was offline due to my TimeWarner Cable internet service having been taken out by yet More OverDevelopment last night.

So after feeling fairly good post the debate, re Obama, this is the stuff that meets me this evening when I go back online.

We also had to get Vaquero ready for his auctioneering for a Harvestworks benefit today. I put a new and very nice dip in his grey Stetson -- even I say so myself -- via steam!

Love, C.

New Orleans Ladder said...

The man's got chops...

Thank you,

Molly said...

I've seen parts of the McInsane video. This is the first time I've watched the whole thing. VERY disturbing. I kept expecting one of them to pull out a gun and then just think that was ok because afterall they were defending themselves against that Barack terrorist.

The Ralph Stanley video is so so sweet!

Ima Pissdov said...

I noticed that McSame's left thumb stuck up like a hard little pecker each time HE thought he made a good point. It kept bobbing up and down and after a while looked as if he was actually playing with himself.

K. said...

Ima, the guys at claim that McSame does a "tongue jut" every time he tells a whopper:

They even pulled together a composite video from the first debate:

T.: Do I do that?

Scrumpy's Baker said...

I have a confession... I was watching the season finale of Project Runway instead of the debate.

That video is insane. And the video answers your question, K. When asked if Obama was an American, one guy said "I don't know what he is."

K. said...

Scrump: Luckily, we on the West Coast did not have to make that heart-rending choice! Leeann really rose to the occasion at Bryant Park -- never bet against anyone from the Pac NW! Corto's show was disappointing overall, just because she showed so much ability over the course of the season. When she hit the target, though, it was a bullseye. Give to annoying, whiny, defensive, petulant Kenley: She just wouldn't go away despite a number of second-to-last finishes. Her show wasn't bad, just not in a class with Leeann's.