Presidential debates are not really about issues. Debates are about the way the candidates look, act and make you feel toward them. In other words, can either one of the guys in front of you represent you and the people of the United States.
Since John McCain was heavy on history and looking backward tonight, I will start with a little history of my own. I was ten when Kennedy and Nixon hooked up on television. It was my first really good look at the senator from Massachusetts. Nixon was already vice president and there was some of the McCarthy hearings in my memory. Not much, but enough to have an impression of Richard Nixon.
I remember thinking how beautiful Kennedy was...how calm....how easy going....He looked like my ideal of a president. Nixon had already acquired the nickname tricky dick and that’s the way I thought of him. This was before watergate and the tapes, so we didn’t know how racist, vindictive, or dirty mouthed he was. The consensus at the time was that Nixon lost the debate. He paled next to Kennedy physically and while he went on to take the popular vote, Nixon lost the electoral college and therefore the election to John Kennedy. One thing I remember was that Nixon hadn’t figured out at the time, that you have to look into the camera or at your opponent. Not doing that makes you look shifty, like you’re not telling the truth. It is also a sign of disrespect.
Which brings me back to tonight. In my mind Obama needed to hold his own against the assumed superiority of McCain’s foreign policy credentials. I thought he acquitted himself. But I think Obama was still too deferential to McCain. I thought Obama should have ripped into the condescending old coot a little harder.
McCain reminded me of Nixon tonight...shifty....not really telling us the truth about what he plans to do if elected. He didn't look into the camera either. Honestly, I don’t think he has a clue about what he intends to do, if elected.
Obama was right about what Kissinger said about face to face diplomacy. It was one of those sticking points that Katie Couric had with Sarah Palin, during the interview the other night. Palin was so totally confused that Couric called Kissinger to clarify his position. As I said, Obama stated it correctly. Palin was wrong a few days ago... And McCain apparently isn’t listening to his advisors, either.
McCain, in an attempt to seem not so warlike...said he voted against sending the marines into Beirut. McCain wasn’t even in congress when that vote was taken. 50 some odd marines had already been killed by 1982. McCain was elected in 1983.
Since I’m talking history, I think McCain exaggerated, when he said the Invasion of Normandy was the greatest invasion in history. But I think that record is actually held by the Nazi’s invasion of the Soviet Union at the end of WWII. If I remember correctly, Hitler sent something like five million soldiers against the Russian front. There were only 300-thousand troops who took part in D-Day.
But I’m nitpicking. As I said at the top, debates are about feel. I don’t feel McCain. I feel Obama.I don’t feel comfortable with McCain. I trust Obama, as much as I am able to trust any politician. Whichever one wins is in deep doodoo. So I don’t envy them.
And, I’m looking forward to next week’s vice presidential debate.
By the way......where was Sarah, tonight? Saw Joe B on CBS...looking good...sounding good....Where was Lady Sarah....ten paces back and quiet as usual?