We watched the debate last night, like some of ya'all probably did. We had cold Wisconsin beers and delicious hot snacks with cheeses melted on and in them for our eating enjoyment pleasure, but we also had our wits about us.
It didn't take very long to notice that McCain couldn't or wouldn't look at Obama. His body language was painful to watch. He was so full of contempt for Obama it leaked through his suit. (John, as Obama might say being the gentleman that he is, if you wear an adult diaper, sorry for that one). One Republican pundit said this was "classic McCain" in an attempt to dismiss it, because if McCain doesn't like someone, he won't even look at them.
Really? Then McCain must love Bush. He can't wait to throw his stiff arms around the guy and rub his expensive shoes on those thin little calves (I assume). Seriously, is this how he will act towards foreign leaders he doesn't care for or who represent countries that don't like us? I mean, that's every damn country in the world right now, including Spain - and thanks for that one, John! Where are we gonna get our tapas from now, huh!
Which leads me to the first of the two most disturbing aspects of McCain's performance last night:
John McCain sees enemies everywhere.
He's a true-blue never-die Cold Warrior. I kept waiting for him to say something about "the Commies" for chrissakes! (He did talk about the KGB...which hasn't officially existed since 1995, having been disbanded by Yeltsin). Threats everywhere. I think that if the United States isn't engaged in a huge idealogical war with all the keen and nifty political/economic/military repercussions of such, he ain't happy. His constant reiteration of the idea that America must win, win with honor, have victory, victory with honor (you see where this is going, right?) was like an echo from the past.
Which leads me to the second of the two most disturbing aspects of McCain's performance last night.
John McCain is stuck in the past.
He's still fighting Vietnam. That war never ended for him or for many of his generation. This is one of the reasons I couldn't have ever supported Hillary Clinton - I have no intention of refighting their generational conflict over Vietnam. If this were Clinton v. McCain right now, the culture war would be raging again. Not that they aren't trying, but it's so much harder to make muck when your leading culturista totem-girl is a bumbling Alaskan mayor.
And this leads me to the final aspect of last night's debate I want to touch on. The difference in style between McCain and Obama. I think this is generational, too, on one level. And it's something most of the pundits can't understand or wrap their heads around, especially those above a certain age, like Chris Matthews and Pat Buchanan and Wolf Blitzer and, oh, most of those morons. With a few exceptions, the pundits were all over Obama for not hitting McCain harder, for being gentlemanly and deferential, for treating McCain like an honorable opponent rather than a punching bag.
Dang. This is again the never-changing "Damned if he does, damned if he don't" meme, in that if Obama hadn't been the true statesman that he was onstage and had rather been the angry, in your face streetfighter the pundits wanted, he'd have been condemned as an - wait for it, you know it's coming, it's almost here! - "Angry Black Man"! The few pundits that either didn't expect Obama to be "All in that old white man's face!" or could read the situation without blinders on where those like Eugene Robinson, Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow who either aren't old enough to be trapped in this generational conflict or still retain the mental flexibility required to see the world differently than it has been, to envision it as it might be.
And it's that ability to envision the future, to see what might be, to freakin' dare think and act like the world can be different that has me voting for the Senator from Illinois.
Screw John McCain.
Now playing: The Stones - Fad World