Wednesday, October 8, 2008

That One

The Obama campaign has seized on McCain's "That one!" line, with astonishing speed. They clearly planned on some post-debate contempt riff. The "that one" line was awkward and disdainful, but McCain seemed to me less contemptuous of Obama in this debate. A town-hall meeting doesn't exactly lend itself to contempt. Personally, I thought "Not you Tom" was the strangest moment of the debate.

Still, it was peculiar to see McCain actually interacting with Obama - shaking hands, looking at him, not sneering - when his recent accusations should justify scorn. Republicans wondered why McCain didn't bring up William Ayers and Obama's much twisted words on air-raids in Afghanistan. I wondered that too. After all, if you accuse a man of sympathizing with terrorists and being anti-American, the least you can do is say it to his face. McCain/Palin stump attacks are provoking shouts of "treason" and "terrorist" from some in their crowds. These are serious accusations. Doesn't Obama "want to win a campaign more than a war"? Isn't that treason? Why not tell him to his face?

McCain didn't because he doesn't believe his own attacks, he knows they are distortions. McCain is contemptuous of Obama because he believes that he should be president, that he's entitled to it, not because he believes Obama hates America.

Any association (even very loose) with a former terrorist is too much. Obama's association with Ayers suggests political expediency and (maybe) questionable integrity, but, of course, nothing like sympathy for terrorists. His air-raid words (an effort to speak honestly about our foreign policy) have been twisted in a vile, dishonest effort to make him look anti-troops. In the end, these attacks say more about McCain's character than they do Obama's.

The "that one" comment was about a vote on energy policy, it demonstrated a contempt born of frustration, not concern about his opponent. (back to supercollide)

UPDATE: After some comments and further thought, I have slightly revised this article.