Updated, twice: I’ve rethought my opinion on who won the debate. I think Obama won because John McCain came across as obnoxious to many viewers. Obama remained calm and collected while McCain at the podium presented a version of road rage. Who would you want to inadvertently cut off on the interstate?
During the debate McCain wouldn’t look at Obama, and when questioned about it explained it away with an excuse which was a verbal shrug that few could believe.
Good sense would dictate that even if you feel disdain for a debate opponent you endeavor not to show it. McCain must feel so angry at Obama that this has to be counted as a major non-verbal gaff showing a decidedly unpleasant side of his personality.
McCain even spoke for his running mate even though she was sitting right next to him. This was his attempt to explain away the remark she made about Pakistan. Even Katie Couric couldn’t get him to let the woman he choose as his ticket partner speak for herself until he was good and ready. Call it macho, unchivalrous or overbearing, he certainly didn’t come across as a pleasant person. (Here’s the transcript.)
I’ve even revised my opinion that a hidden from the polling racist vote could swing things for McCain.
I think there are some prejudiced people who would rather have Oprah or Bill Cosby as a house guest than Don Rickles. And let’s face it, whoever becomes president will be in our homes on television for the next four years.
The emerging persona of McCain as the nasty and insulting house guest isn’t merely a function of his television appearances. It is also the result of his calling for bipartisanship while blaming Obama for the financial crisis, and running ever more negative advertisements.
There, a short column prior to the debate of the century, and I wrote it without mentioning the actual name of the Josephine six pack of the tundra.
I was a POW too and you better not forget it… Various segments of McCain’s interview the the editorial board of the Des Moines Register editorial board is getting a lot of play. It shows how he defends his lies and his bristly personality. Two parts struck me. One is how he again managed to bring up his POW experience:
He also sarcastically referred to his five years as a prisoner of war when answering a question about his having government-financed health care throughout his military and congressional career. "The answer is that most of my life, in serving my country, I have had health care," he said. "I did go for a period of time when the health care wasn’t very good." AP article
The other his is rather foolish jab at Joe Biden for the mistake about FDR being president during the Great Depression and his addressing the nation on television. * This garbling of 20th century history might make a decent way to ridicule a political opponent if you didn’t have your own much more significant misstatements about 21st century history. Maybe he thinks he can make up for well publicized mistakes like his conflating Shiite Iran and Sunni Al Qaeda, and needed a whispered correction by Joe Lieberman; and just a few days ago his saying Pakistan was a failed state. By mocking Biden this way he gives the Obama/Biden campaign an excuse to remind the public about his own more significant historical and current events gaffes. Watch the entire hour long interview here. * I don’t know what Biden was thinking. FDR’s Fireside Chats are famous and I have no doubt Biden knows they were given over the radio and the Depression began under Hoover. FDR gave 30 of them starting in 1933 when he reassured the country that it would bounce back from the Depression, and ending when Biden was two years old (1944). Biden must remember learning about them in history class and he probably saw movies of him delivering them on television.
What the Hell was McCain even doing there in the first place? 1.) Obama is going to win Iowa. 2.) Editorial board meetings are usually pure trouble to begin with and result only in newspaper endorsements that persuade very few voters beyond the immediate family members of the editorial board. 3.) Within the rarified category of newspaper editorial boards, the Des Moines Register is one of the most liberal in the country. I’m rather surprised that halfway through the McCain interview they failed to switch over to Esperanto, the peace-loving language of all nations.
I think McCain was simply itching for a fight. He doesn’t like the constraints of keeping is impulse to attack in check in other venues like the debate with Obama and major network interviews. The definitive psychological profile of John McCain hasn’t been written. However we know,if only from movies like "Top Gun", that fighter and fighter-bomber pilots fit a certain profile. After all they aren’t called "fighter jocks" for nothing. McCain had some tragic experiences even before he was shot down, and then of course we all know how his combat flying came to an end.
McCain the fighter used to flying a machine with two deadly machine guns and killer bombs he could unleash with a touch of his finger spent five years unable to do anything but survive.
Now, after years of public service, he feels poised to achieve the ultimate goal.
However, sensing defeat in the election, as he did when shot down by a faceless enemy firing a rocket, to mix metaphors, he behaves like a hard punching bully defeated by the swift unseen smooth move of a judo black belt.
He wants a taste of victory. So he goes – okay I’ll say flies – into another enemy’s territory and, frustrated warrior that he is, he lets loose with a fusillade from his 20 mm Colt Mk 12 cannons. (Image of Skyhawk fighter bombers like McCain flew, over the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964. Public domain.) Unfortunately for him, he still doesn’t get the Internet tubes. Instead of a therapeutic catharsis, his demeanor ends up on display and commented on everywhere from Capitol Hill Blue to all the major newspapers and the network News.
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