I have been having a conversation with a dear friend who is worried that McCain won. He is sure that the Headline on USA Today and Newsweek will give McCain a resounding win. He thinks John looked wise and strong. His is worried that McCain looked disdainful of Obama and that the sound bite for the debate will be John's line about Barack's inexperience and naiveté.
I think he may be right about USA Today, but who reads USA Today as a serious news source? If that is your main news source, you probably think Obama is a smarty-pants at best and uppity at worst and never would have voted for him anyway. If USA Today is a newsmag you read on your way to a plane, you are probably reading it like I read People in my dentist's office--because it's what's there. But given a choice, I would rather read The Nation, or Vanity Fair. There is a portion of the population that will not vote for Barack Obama. Period. No way. No matter what. But I do not believe at this particular point in our history that it is a majority. I think Republicans are not impressed with McCain's performance of the past several weeks. We are getting peeks at his Veep, and she scares and repulses most of us. Oh, I know there are men and women all over this land who want someone to win who is as ill informed and ignorant as they. I know plenty of these people. I had an unfortunate conversation with one of them today, at the pharmacy. She is old, she is white, she is Mormon, and I would bet money she thinks she is better than Barack because she is white. Just that. Anyone who thinks racism is dead is full of shit. It was not very long ago that "people of color" were not allowed to hold "the priesthood" (low level hierarchical male authority) in the Mormon church. It was beginning to be an embarrassment internationally, since The Church, as it is known in Utah, sends missionaries all over the world. It proselytizes ferociously. And if you come from a country in Africa, Utah is one of the very few states that will take all applicants for immigration. It took a "revelation from God" to change The Church's policy on black men holding the priesthood in Mormonism. Mormons love Sarah Palin. She sounds exactly like a Mormon woman. Mormons like and are comfortable with white male authority. Mormons like their patriarchs--old white men who talk in platitudes. John and Sarah are the perfect Mormon couple.
All the early polls seem to give Obama a win. But still Chris Matthews and my friend think the Strongman who never looks at his opponent wins. I think Obama missed many opportunities to point out McCain's recent erratic behavior and his past involvement in a very serious banking meltdown. We need to be reminded over and over about The Keating Five. It was our last big financial meltdown of a scandalous nature, and McCain was at the center of it. Barack missed the opportunity to piss McCain off, and let us all watch the meltdown. I am looking forward to that event. McCain keeps reminding us that he is not "Miss Congeniality." Well, he certainly showed that side of his personality. He was hunched over, snarling, nasty. His unwillingness to look at Obama makes him seem surly and thuggish. That will have it's appeal to a lot of folks. But would those people vote for Barack under any circumstance? If you like bullies, vote for McCain. If you like hotheads, vote for McCain. If you like scare tactics and bluster, McCain's your guy.
Jim Lehrer tried to structure this debate so that the opponents could address and question each other. Twice he asked that they do so. Barack was courteous enough to comply with his host moderator's request. McCain did not look at Obama once. To me, this made McCain seem surly, snarling, rude, dismissive. I want less bombast and incivility. I have just lived through the Bush years. I have never known a time of less civility in civic life unless it was the Nixon years, but history will certainly look more favorably on Nixon than Bush. It already does.
McCain is a war monger--bellicose and blustering. He wants us to be afraid, be very, very afraid. It is a dangerous world. "And I can win. I know how to do that. Aarrrrggg." Oh yeah old man? When? Where? What war? What serious world leader addresses the public and jokes about bombing another nation, while knowingly being filmed. I do remember St. Reagan making such a remark about The Soviet Union when he thought his mic was cold. The mic was open and it was very embarrassing. McCain's "bomb Iran" gaff, the infamous "Barbara Ann" imitation was loathsome and bears reviewing. This man is not Presidential material.
In the next Presidential debate, I want to see Obama throw a rhetorical punch that really lands, staggers the old man, and smile while he's throwing it.
But I'm giddy in anticipation of the next debate. Oddly it was Olbermann's interview with Joe Biden that was the best TV of the evening.