Thursday, October 16, 2008

Down the stretch or down in flames?

Well, we'll see. I have to be brutally honest -- I'm not completely on the Obama train (I originally wanted Edwards), but when I look at the alternatives -- irrelvance or John McCain... well, he can't be any worse, right? After all, McCain at least came off as coherent, but to those who watched the debate on TV, he seemed dismissive and disrespectful, and evidently at times about ready to jump podiums and rip Obama's throat out. In addition, his responses on abortion rights (what "extreme" wing of the "pro-abortion" movement? Most pro-choicers actually like kids...) and public schooling (vouchers, aka the Great Private School Money Siphon; HeadStart is a great program, but we need to reform it (?!)) either ran against the grain of American life or just plain made no sense at all.

Truthfully, I like the way Obama came off in the debate tonight -- deliberative, a bit of a policy wonk in the Clinton mode, even-handed and unwilling to allow himself to be baited; compare to McCain, who was polished but stuck too close to his talking points. If this is the sort of president Obama might be, this might work out pretty well. And I would love to see racist assholes lose their shit when "I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear..." goes out over the airwaves. But there's still two weeks left. No chicken counting just yet.

What's clear is that McCain has self-destructed -- picking the ridiculous and pathetic Sarah Palin as a running mate, pushing conservative policies at a time when many Americans are starting to become suspicious of Bush's holes in the church-state wall, grandstanding on economic issues in the midst of a meltdown that's utterly devastated the intellectual case for conservative/libertarian fiscal policy. He's surrounded himself with the Republican base and discovered he doesn't really like them, especially since a large contingent of them are hoping he'll kick the bucket and leave Palin in charge. (Bad news, holy rollers: barring a melanoma recurrence, McCain has longevity in his genes.) He could come back. But someone could also find the Skinner constant in Kip Thorne's FTL travel equations when the Large Hadron Collider starts up and we could have a manned mission to Gliese 581 by 2020. (Okay, that's slightly less likely. But you get the idea.)

What's clear: there is a damn good chance the US will have its first president of African-American descent. (BTW, anyone find his recent commercial showing his family on his mother's side a little overcompensatory? Admittedly it's probably necessary in all the states where people think he's a Muslim, but it just looks strange in Massachusetts, which is pretty much a safe Obama state either way.) If it doesn't... well, I'll put this diplomatically. No one outside the US wants McCain to win, because they associate him with Bush 43. Despite McCain's protestations tonight in the debate that he isn't Bush 43, he's done a piss poor job of distinguishing himself.

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