If I hear phrases such as ‘pork barrel,’ ‘ear-mark,’ ‘I have spent my whole life serving this country,’ or ‘reach across the aisle’ one more time, my progressive bleeding heart may explode. Also, do either of the candidates have the ability to offer a succinct answer? Even towards the end when Brokaw clearly directed “This question requires only a yes or no answer,” both candidates answered with MANY words (albeit McCain kept in character as the more long-winded).
In addition to the repetition, a number of non-sensical answers (and certainly non-succinct) answers wafted through the falling asleep audience (was the man in the front with the white shirt and tie really asleep?)
And, do candidates realize that saying things like “Americans are the best workers in the world” or “America is the best country in the world” is excessively xenophobic? How might that sound to a Canadian viewer, a Chinese viewer, an African viewer? Sure, people in those Other, non-bestest countries don’t get to vote in our elections, but how about some global sensitivity ? The nationalistic hubris is annoying, not to mention immature. You can praise Americans without having to use superlatives, you know.
As for my favorite “What the heck does that mean?!?” moment, well nothing from tonight’s debate topped McCain’s 1st debate claim that Iran is an “existential threat.” Hmmm, did McCain mean that Iran needs to be aware of its own existence and freedom? Or, was he suggesting the existence of Iran precedes its essence, i.e. that Iran is constituted in and through its existence rather than through a pre-determined essence? Or did he perhaps mean that the “who” of Iran poses a ‘threat’ to the “what” of US freedom? Was he drawing on Sartre here, or perhaps Heidegger? My guess is he doesn’t know what the heck existentialism is, nor what existential means, and that he meant to say something like “Iran is an existing threat.” (I would also wager he may be fuzzy on the term “xenophobia.”)
As for his performance tonight, maybe it was just me, but the point where McCain walked over to personally thank the military man that asked a question and patted him on the back and then called him “my friend” in his answer, well, that was particularly cringe-worthy (and robotic).
And McCain’s comment that “We can never allow a 2nd holocaust to take place,” well, yeah, but it seemed to come somewhat out of mid-air. What was he doing, playing strange mind association games between words like Iran, threat, holocaust?
To conclude this debate round up, I want to share some questions/comments from a debate commentator far more fair and balanced than any of the FOXies or CNNers, my 9 year old daughter. As she sat by me on the couch, she asked “When does McKinney ever get to make a speech?”
When I told her she’s not allowed to be part of the mainstream debates, she responded, “Why, because she’s a girl?” Well, not exactly, but how telling that a 9 year old recognizes the extreme unfairness of not giving a viable candidate a chance to be part of the debate…
As for my daughter’s debate round up, she said “I think Obama is way better at doing speeches than McCain.” Yes, I agree. “Plus,” she added, “he believes in birth control and he’s not as pro-war as McCain.” So, if a 9 year old can figure out two key problems with the McSame/Pain ticket, I sure hope all those so-called undecided’s decide to either vote for Obama, McKinney, or Nader.