27 September 2008

All washed up

Watched the the first debate between Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama last night. McCain showed up after announcing on Wednesday that he was "suspending his campaign" in the face of the dire Wall Street Emergency and the financial "bail-out" being hammered out in Washington, which he gravely told us couldn't be done without his help.

Twenty-two hours later, after taking part in two televised campaign interviews and speaking at a special event in New York City (during which he rehashed his campaign talking points), he finally went to Washington. There, he met with Codpiece, Obama, Nancy Pelosi and a few other high muckety-mucks -- and didn't say a word for most of the hour-long meeting. As you've probably heard, there was a deal. And then Republicans did an about face and there wasn't a deal. Not only did McCain not add anything helpful to the process, he was also completely unneeded.

Nor did he actually "suspend" his campaign. Along with the abovementioned interviews and speeches he did during the first 22 hours after announcing the "suspension," his campaign ads continued to run on television and radio, McCain campaign branch offices all over the country were open for business, and his website was online, complete with an ad saying that he'd "won the debate" before he'd even actually debated with Obama. Nevertheless, he had the gall to tell Obama that he, too, should "suspend" his campaign, citing a national crisis.

Obama ignored him.

As part of this stunt, McCain tried to get the first presidential debate delayed unless there was a bail-out deal on the books by Friday. The delay would have necessarily bumped the Palin-Biden debate next Tuesday to some other, unannounced time (maybe in December?), which could well have been the real reason for the whole sordid stunt in the first place.

Obama was having none of it, however, reasonably suggesting that a president should be able to handle more than one thing at a time. Obama said he'd be in Mississippi for the debate whether McCain showed up or not.

Yesterday, Friday, there was still no Wall Street bail-out deal. And McCain, whose stunt hadn't worked, had a choice. He could refuse to debate Obama as promised, thereby giving Obama an unprecedented opportunity to speak directly to the nation for 90 prime-time minutes without commercial interruption. Or he could slink to Mississippi and participate in the debate after all. He chose the latter.

But oh, Mr. McCain was not a happy camper. He barely looked at Obama throughout the debate. He was openly condescending and contemptuous, calling his opponent "naive" and insisting that he "didn't understand" about important issues. And McCain refused to speak directly to Obama, though such interaction between the two was a part of the debate design he'd agreed to weeks ago, and which he had to have known before he walked on stage.

While both men were strong in their answers to the questions they were asked, McCain was rattled, angry, and combative. Obama, on the other hand, was cool, calm and collected throughout.

McCain did himself no favors by pulling this idiotic stunt, but it wasn't his first. Choosing Sarah Palin as a running mate, who's obviously, woefully unqualified to be Vice President of the United States, was McCain's biggest and most jawdropping stunt. He chose Palin not for her ability to lead, her mental brilliance or her experience, but as a token Christianist female to lure in female voters and appease his base: the Christianist fundamentalists and conservative right-wingers. She's attractive and she has boobs. That's all he cared about.

Both stunts were craven and dishonest. And they backfired. Watch Obama's pick for VP Joe Biden tear McCain a new one after the debate ended. It's basically a coup de gras:

I think John McCain is all washed up.


The News Writer said...

I hope you're right. Recently, I've dared to think that maybe, just maybe, Obama can win this thing, but I'm unsure if that's true or just wishful thinking. I have a very low opinion of the voting public, no confidence that enough of them understand what's goinng on enough to do the right thing and I'm a cynical old coot on top of that.

While I think you're right in your analysis of the debate, I fear enough of the undecided saw it that way. The already-decided-for-McCain voters saw an experienced former POW who will keep our country safe and strong for years to come. The already-decided-for-Obama folks saw pretty much what you saw. The rest? That's the question.

I saw an patronizing old man trying to channel Ronald Reagan and hoodwink the voters like Saint Ronnie did that nothing's wrong in America that good, old-fashioned free enterprise and conservative values won't fix.

Flash to those who believe that: It's how we got here.

But I saw some evidence last night that McCain really doesn't understand that's how we got here. At least twice he referred to the "fiscal" crisis rather than financial, and he focused in on his pet peeve, "earmarks," (meaning the kind that help every day people rather than the kind that bailout millionaires and give huge tax breaks to oil companies). I wonder how many other Republicans believe that too, and how many voters don't know the difference.

Anyway, keep up the good work, lil wren.

Bill Stankus said...

There's never been a level playing field in politics... someone's always playing the angles. And this election, at least from looking at the Republican side, is nothing but angles.

I'm a lifelong Democrat - my dad's family were union coal miners and I heard enough about pre-union days to give anyone nightmares.

Having said that, today's Dems are hard to figure... are they progressive, Reaganesque, Republican lite or some new variation still in gestation?

Do they understand the plight of the lower and middle class? Working people? Do they grasp the values of the common person - education, family safety, medical needs, stability, common sense, community, defense wars when necessary ...

And so here we are .. with an election having no parallel in American history. An educated and intelligent man of color versus an over the hill aged man with mediocre intelligence and beholden to many special interest groups - including paranoid religious zealots and Indian gambling lobbyists.

I won't bet a dime on the election's outcome ... mostly because of three things. 1. Election turnouts are always less than they should be. 2. We know there's a voting segment ignorant of the actual issues needing good government. 3. Obama is not white and the bigot's vote is still under the pollster's radar..

And there's a 4th - Rarely in politics does common sense prevail.

Fire Byrd said...

Thanks for popping by.
I'm glad I came over, I wondered how the debate went, it was not reported hugely on UK television.
So good to read your take on it.
I wonder how McCain and his joke of a VP choice are actually getting people to believe in them.
I won't get started I'm not an American, but I am enjoying your politics

Lucy said...

I hope you're right, Wren, I hope you're right.