Saturday, September 27, 2008

Taking it Personally

I couldn't sleep last night, which for me is quite unusual. I dozed, I saw the hours pass on the clock, I thought about the work I need to get done, and something else kept running through my sheep counting. I couldn't help thinking about last night's presidential debate and it made me feel angry. It was keeping me awake!

Once again, a distinguished, articulate, thoughtful, well-informed democrat was meeting a self-satisfied, inarticulate, rude, and ill-informed republican. Once again, pundits called it a draw. I knew they would, but it outrages me every time, a trait I've inherited from my Mother. First of all, why are the pundits such cowards? The only news broadcast claiming to be "fair and balanced" is Fox, and they wasted no time declaring a victory for McCain. All the other networks seem to bend over backward to be "balanced" to the point of political correctness.

But what really agitated me was the missed opportunities for Obama to skewer McCain, who repeatedly insulted his soft-spoken opponent by calling him "naive." What if on the third or fourth repetition Obama had retorted that "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?" Or perhaps something more along the lines of: their was no act more naive than voting to approve the Bush war in Iraq.

It's hard not to get defensive when your opponent makes up facts, distorts the truth, and shows a lack of respect and knowledge. But how much better to turn the tables on name calling? How much better to respond to a rambling, repetitive answer on Afghanistan (but not about Afghanistan) by saying "so you have no plans for Afghanistan?" Let's put the little pugilist on the defensive, instead.

In fact, I think the next New Yorker cover (I thought of this while laying awake last night, as well) should feature a boxing ring with a map of the world on the floor and centered on Iraq. Jim Lehrer is the ref. On the left side, with his feet in Israel is the short, sweaty, McCain swinging wildly at the air. On the right side, with his feet in Pakistan, is the cool, tall Obama, holding off his opponent with one boxing glove to the forehead. I think Barry Blitt would do a fine job with this image.

I'm feeling better this morning. Many of those calling round 1 a draw are also saying that the tie goes to Obama. That McCain needed a victory on foreign policy, but Obama held his own and looked more presidential (a vague notion if there ever was one). In fact, McCain looked as if he'd rather be almost anywhere but Oxford, Mississippi.

My father, ever the physician, noted that McCain looked like he might have Horner's Syndrome
(droopy eyelid), a sign of various neurological problems, including Alzheimer's. Fortunately, there's nothing to worry about. Palin will make a great president.

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