Here we were all settled in to watch a civil debate and John McCain goes all Uncle Remus on us. His referral to Obama as "that one" can be interpreted one of two ways. First, as an elementary school teacher would refer to a class of mischievous children, or worse, as someone who has a little Joel Chandler Harris (Uncle Remus) in his soul. "That one." It's ugly. It's a dehumanizing remark and suggests the referenced person is somehow "the other." At best, it is sneering condescension, and at worst, McCain may as well have called Obama "tarbaby." That was another old Uncle Remus tale that Disney made one of their classic full-length animated movies about, but they only break it out for White Citizen's Council meetings these days. Try buying a copy of "Song of the South" online while singing "Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah."
The things that seep from the subconscious when you're on live TV are amazing. McCain told one audience member that he had probably never heard of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae before the current economic crisis. Why would he assume that? The young man was sitting there in a jacket and tie like everyone else, and he had just asked a question about economics. Oh yeah, he was black. Who let the dogs out? Whoo, whoo, whoo. "That one." What else could explain McCain's contempt for Obama except an old boy mentality of exclusivity? Over the course of the debate, McCain's voice grew into an urgent whisper, like an exasperated Washington insider who can't believe he is about to get his ass kicked by a black man still in his first Senate term, sort of like Hillary Clinton in wing-tips.
Last night's debate in Nashville only solidified the image of John McCain as old grouch. He kept referring to the country's need for a "steady hand on the tiller" while he is already being coached by Cindy like Nancy Reagan giving Ronnie his cue. Melody asked me, "Why is she up his ass all the time? No one else's spouse has to stand there like an attendant." I answered, "I guess his advisers must think it makes him look younger." When McCain's prima facie case for bad judgement, Sarah Palin, said, "I think the American people are looking for something fresh and new," she couldn't have been referring to McCain. God help us if McCain should die in office and leave the country in the care of the weather girl.
Speaking of weather girls, there was no mention in the debate of Bernadine Dohrn or William Ayers, which was a welcome respite from Palin's obnoxious repetition of Obama "palling around with domestic terrorists." There you go again, Joe, pointing fingers at the past. Personally, I would enjoy meeting the Ayers' to talk about back in the day, but I doubt that I would walk away from the meeting with a desire to bomb the Pentagon. "That one." And if McCain knows, as he assures us he does, how to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, why doesn't he go ahead and tell somebody? It didn't help matters that the McCains immediately left the hall, leaving the Obamas the opportunity to shake hands and generally look gracious on television. Who's really "that one" in this contest? "Thar he," spoke the pointing man while McCain exited, stage right.
The open contempt John McCain displays towards his opponent is disturbing, and his dismissal of Obama as a worthy adversary is insulting, especially on the heels of the "Bailout/Rescue Plan" that McCain "suspended" his campaign for, failing to stop worldwide markets from going into freefall. I much preferred Obama's choice of Warren Buffett as Treasury Secretary over McCain's suggestion of the woman who founded eBay on the same day that eBay laid off 1,000 employees. When the hock shops are hurting, you know times are hard. If this were a movie, Obama came off as William Powell and McCain looked like Al Lewis as Grandpa Munster. Tonight, I saw John McCain do an illusion worthy of David Blaine; he turned into Bob Dole. And by the way, the Beach Boys' version of "Barbara Ann," that McCain sings "Bomb Iran" to, is a weak cover of the original, doo-wop classic by The Regents, 1961. JFK was President and John McCain was already in the Navy. Just wanted to clear that up.