Given the previous 10 days, Barack Obama could have effectively ended John McCain’s chances of becoming president last night, and he didn’t, and for that reason I am disappointed. Obama was appealing to the basic decency and intelligence of the american people. McCain’s entire campaign has been appealing to their stupidity. Coming on the heels of 8 years of proof that the American people indeed are capable of being rolled (twice!), McCain’s approach last evening, which played on this sad recognition, seemed to have the edge. head down, no eye contact, plenty of lies and sucker punches. That’s what I saw.
Consider the recent unveiling of sarah palin at the rnc, which i thought would cement McCain’s demise, but actually had the opposite effect, at least for three weeks or so until her own ineptitute became so obvious that even convervative republicans began running for cover. For McBush, Palin as vp shows how “dumb is fun.”
On matters of the head, clear thinking and cognitive reasoning, Barack Obama won the debate hands-down. (smart is cool)
Regrettably, however, people vote on other matters: like a good story-line, and here’s one from last night. After several days on life support, the angry old man got off the floor friday night to land some effective sucker punches on an opponent who refused to finish him off even tho he had several opportunities to do so (for example on McCain’s lack of support for veterans, on the bridge to nowhere as an example of McCain hypocrisy on earmarks, on McCain’s not knowing who the PM of Spain was, on several McCain misstatements on foreign policy during the debate itself– botched the names of the iranian president and pakastani pm, calling pakistan a failed state, arguing obama didn’t know the difference between tactics and strategies even tho it was McCain who incorrectly defined these terms, and so forth).
Recent history suggests this sort of “i an’t dead yet” narrative might indeed inspire a resurgence of conservative confidence in McCain, at least to make the next five weeks nailbitingly competitive. It also shows that the inability to finish off an opponent could come back to haunt Obama.
My how the bar has been lowered.
So, here are the story lines. Obama is counting on a “smart is cool” story line to take him into the west wing, while McCain is counting on a “dumb is fun” narrative to help his “i ain’t dead yet” candidacy.
america has less than 40 days to decide. get your popcorn