Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Flags Were Up Tonight ...and ALL of Them Were Waved by John McCain

Too Many Flags?

I'm going to call this last debate: not even close. So John McCain looked at Barack Obama several times. BFD. And he didn't seem as grumpy. O.K. But talking about the spirit of America ad nauseum really got to me. One friend compared John McCain to Harold Hill of "The Music Man". I'd agree if Harold Hill were played by a spry Strom Thurmond. Yes, I know that Thurmond's dead and that the last was a very ageist remark, but I can't help it. Whenever I saw McCain, the word coming to my mind was, well, "doddering." Then I tried to picture him campaigning for re-election four years from now. Ain't gonna happen. Hello, Sarah Palin.

I have a wonderful friend named Gladys who just turned 87. She's more than bright and alert, she's more active than I could ever be and I'm @#%*! years her junior. She could have taken part in the debate and run circles around McCain. And she wouldn't have needed Old Glory to do it.

Yes, Obama was slow on some of his answers, but he wasn't rash. He was thoughtful. McCain was pugnacious (which was good), but he tried to put his soul into the debate and didn't quite make it. When the question was asked "Both of your parties got us into this mess, now how are YOU going to get us out?" McCain told us how we as a nation will pull together. Lame. Obama admitted that both parties were at fault, THEN told us about his administration's strategy. Not the best answer, but certainly better than another chorus of "God Bless America."

I did a word count on each candidate's responses. The most important word in both campaigns' repertoires is "change". McCain mentioned it 5 times, Obama, 11 times. Obama mentioned the middle class. McCain did not. The word used most by McCain was "know" while the one used most often by Obama was "think." Of course, McCain never once mentioned George W. Bush. But Obama did - 8 times.

If ever there was a time when these two men different, it was this time: McCain talked of pulling together in these hard times even though he called Obama another Hoover (huh!?). Obama laid out a general strategy for change. McCain talked about how many times Obama voted for more taxes (94 - but the actual number is more like 50 and some of those votes were to DECREASE taxes). It will be interesting to see what will have to say about the debate. Obama will be scrutinized more because he had more specifics in his answers than McCain. Will McCain's "Rah Rah!" facts come up short?

And then there's the subject of education. It got short shrift by both candidates, but at least Obama mentioned it. McCain didn't. McCain spoke of Teddy Roosevelt's motto of "speak softly, but carry a big stick". Yet he looked as if he wouldn't speak at all. "Intervention" does not seem to be a word with which he is comfortable. "Pre-emptive strike", however, is more like it.

Just a thought.

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