John McCain, Desperate And Angry; Barack Obama, Cool And Presidential

Posted on October 15, 2008


You know that an American politician has his back against a hard, stone wall with no escape, when he resorts in frustration and desperation to a sentence that begins, “I am not . . .” (As in, “I am not a crook,” or “I am not a communist.”)

Tonight’s debate seemed to channel the historic 1960 televised debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. Television, it was said then, is a “cool medium.” John Kennedy was cool and Richard Nixon was hot.

Tonight, Barack Obama was cool and presidential; John McCain was hot — hot and angry.

I thought John McCain argued a good case for his Republican and conservative base, and Barack Obama argued a good case for his Democratic and liberal base. A good debate, a good night for democracy.

After eight years of a Republican president, two wars, and a major economic crisis, significantly more people identify with the Democrats, so Barack Obama is the clear winner. Obama made the case for change.

Perhaps John McCain’s strongest statement was: “I am not President Bush.” But by then, McCain had his back touching the wall. — Bernie Hayden