Friday’s presidential debate highlighted two things. First, Barack Obama indeed has the experience, knowledge and fortitude to be a great American president. He politely considered McCain’s attacks, then confidently countered them. He presented the issues and his determined plans to solve them. Agree with it or not, he has a new, forward-looking strategy. Secondly, the debate showed that John McCain is a shadow of his former self. This is not because of his years. It is because he has lost touch with America. He thinks we are still in the 20th Century. He thinks we are still in Vietnam. But even more regretful, Sen. McCain he has lost touch with himself. He still calls himself The Maverick, but he knows it doesn’t ring true. Not after he caved on tax cuts, caved on religious fundamentalists, caved on his running mate. Throughout the debate, McCain couldn’t bring himself to even look at Barack Obama. McCain spent a good part of the debate grumbling into the podium. At first I thought it was because McCain was angry, but then it became clearer. He couldn’t face his opponent because he can’t really face himself – the compromised version of himself. This campaign and the Republican Party have done what the North Vietnamese could not. They turned him. They broke him. Obama is a lean, strong reminder of the sort of tenacious achiever McCain used to be, of the Maverick he once was. And McCain couldn’t bear to face that reality.
Twenty years ago Dan Quayle was plucked out of obscurity to solidify the republican base behind George Bush, Sr. He was a staunch, eerily conservative VP candidate who appealed to a broad swath of American fundamentalists. Today, we’ve been dealt a new Dan Quayle, but in lipstick. Sarah Palin has the same uncompromising fundamentalist stances that appeal to a small but highly mobilized population of our country. They are commonly referred to many circles as ‘the crazies’. They love her. And they loved Dan Quayle. They always love people who agree with them, simply because they agree with them when most people do not. Do you know the difference between Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin? And I don’t mean lipstick. The real difference is that George Bush, Sr. didn’t have to hide behind Dan Quayle. We must remember we have a Presidential candidate there at the Sarah Palin rallies – a candidate who is dodging issues. John McCain, like his insta-celebrity running mate, dodges the issues and refused to talk real policy. It is classic evasive maneuvering, meant to dupe the people.