After 21 Republican Primary debates, 26 Democratic Primary debates, 2 presidential debates and 1 VP debate, we are now at the end presidential debate cycle of 2008. My thoughts in sheer, edge-of-my-seat anticipation for the drama to unfold tonight?
Why, oh why did baby jesus make the last presidential debate be on the same night as the Project Runway Finale?! I mean, I know I can Tivo it, but still, that’s not the point.
Anyway (moving on, baby jesus), last night, I watched the Frontline presentation “The Choice 2008” – “A compelling look at Obama and McCain and their path to their party’s nominations.” It was. Compelling, I mean. The interviews – John Weaver, David Axelrod, Peter Rouse, Mark Salter and more – I already know quite a bit about these candidate’s bios, but I was kinda riveted. You can see the PBS excellent website about the program and view it here.
I found myself not just mourning the John McCain that lost the 2000 primary, I found myself mourning the John McCain that won the 2008 primary. The last few months, I have been too angry at McCain to properly grieve over the loss of the stand-up guy I once hoped would beat Giuliani and Romney. After a bit of education on McCain’s past, I realize that there were hints even 30 years ago that McCain’s sense of decency was a little shoddy. The last vestige of honor McCain is holding on to is named “The Jeremiah Wright Issue” and it seems that he has decided to sit on it – at least for now. This doesn’t make him a martyr, mind you – he’d still lose. The Dow is currently down over 700 points and you could put Rev. Wright sermons on a continual loop on every radio and television station in the land, but that won’t distract voters from their diminishing investments and retirement and purchase power. Sorry, charlie, this is a Democrat year and will come packaged in a pretty little bow late Nov. 4.
One of the more surprising revelations on Frontline was Tom Daschle talking about Obama’s choice in 2006 to run for president. Now, I know that ever since 2004, Obama has been the golden child of the Democratic Party. It was amusing to watch the video of his speech at the DNC in 2004 with Hillary and curly-haired Chelsea clapping heartily and rising to their feet during one of Obama’s more stirring lines. Many of the Dems saw Obama that night and felt a re-energizing that would later turn their
attentions away from a Hillary 2008 victory. Obama was caught up in the desire for the Democrats to rise above the ashes of Gore and Kerry and 6 years of Repubs controlling both the Presidency and the Congress.
Obama knew he wanted to run for president some day, but Daschle explained that Obama would not always have the opportunity before him. The longer he was a senator, the more of a record he would have to attack and the more votes he would have to explain. The end of 2006 shaped up to be the “now or never” for Obama.
It doesn’t make me particularly warm inside to think about Obama’s avoidance of a prolonged senate career – whether it would have had an effect on his presidential ambitions or not. His lack of experience in comparison to Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson and, yes, Hillary Clinton (whom I would never vote for) is substantial.
I vote largely on character, however, I am quite content that he is our most likely next president. I am especially looking forward to tonight’s debate with comfort in Obama’s most recent performances and the odds against McCain bringing a can of whoopass to the table. But the admission by Daschle that the lack of experience was a net positive in Obama’s White House quest reiterates how ridiculously jacked up our electoral system is and what a detriment this two-party establishment is serving our democracy. Sigh.
So, tonight the last of our presidential debates. The last of the real determining factors regarding the destination of the spoils. Since my guy’s ahead, I’m going to relish every minute of it and try to squeeze out a little pity for the old guy destined to lose after running one of the most reprehensible campaigns in history and picking one of the least qualified running mates. Pity will be hard for me. I’m not a tremendously sympathetic person by nature and have felt like burning McPalin in effigy a few times over these weeks.
What’s doubly awesome for me is not only is Obama pulling away in polls, my alma mater is #1 in college football (which is almost better than McCain losing the election). If only the Project Runway finale was tomorrow, we’d really be in business!
Knock ’em dead, Obama! Give ’em hell! And, remember, you’ve come a hell of a long way since those primary debates when you were practically sucking on a dry rock. So, in the words of Michelle that night long ago in 2004, “Don’t screw it up!”
Footnote: Sarah Palin must stop wearing that polar bear broach. Doesn’t she realize her policies would kill off every last one of them? And not in a fun way like shooting them.