Wednesday, October 15, 2008
John McCain, Fighter Pilot, Finally Showed up for Presidential Debate Number Three
And He Brought Joe the Plumber With Him!
With a relaxed smile and a strong voice, Republican candidate for U.S. President, John McCain finally took on Democratic candidate Barak Obama and for the first time put the young, inexperienced Obama on the defensive. McCain landed his fighter jet right on the carrier. He seemed to surprise Obama with his strength and intelligence. The John McCain who toughed out five years in the Hanoi Hilton made a comeback at this debate. He told Barak Obama to his face that he was wrong about "spreading the wealth" and should let Joe the Plumber instead keep his own wealth. That he was wrong about Bill Ayres (whom McCain forgot to mention was bombing buildings in America while McCain sat in a prison cell, being tortued in Hanoi) and wrong for not standing up to the corruption in his own party.
Joe the Plumber was the unseen third party at the debate. He is Joe Wurzelbacher, an Ohio man who earlier in the week confronted Barak Obama at a rally and told him that under the Obama tax plan, he, Joe, would be considered "rich" and thus subject to higher taxes under Obama if he bought the plumbing business he's been working for all his life. Barak Obama revealed his true political philosphy in his ad-libbed reponse that he believed it was time to "spread the wealth around." Whose wealth would that be? My Dad's, who saved and scrimped all his life? We should now give his money to Barak Obama for reapportionment to those who bought SUVs and flat screen TVs and are now in debt? This one statement should make Americans do some serious re-thinking of Barak Obama.
But will it? I told my friend Leslie that in spite of McCain's strong showing in the final debate he has two big things going against him that have nothing to do with his potential to be president. The first is that voters are so disgusted with what is happening to the economy that they are inclined to vote out the party in power, and that means Republicans, since Republicans have held the White House for the last eight years. And in spite of the fact that John McCain finally told Barak Obama he is not George Bush ("If you wanted to run against George Bush you should have run four years ago," he said last night), the sad truth is that John McCain is likely to be the baby voters throw out with the bathwater, as they toss the Bush administration out the back door and into the snow.
McCain's second disadvantage is that he is an old, broken, white-haired, puffy-faced white guy who doesn't photograph well as he sits stiffly next to his long, lanky, cool and youthful opponent. Obama is telegenic and this gives his style-over-substance campaign the boost it needs to overcome an idea as obtuse to most Americans as an understanding of his "spread the wealth" philosophy. One opportunity John McCain has missed, I believe, is to tell his audience that he earned his broken body honorably, being tortured for his country. I gather, however, that John McCain is the kind of tough guy who doesn't believe you talk about things like that, nor use them to advance yourself. It is honorable of him, but I think it might give young people a better understanding of why his shoulders and arms seem so immobile and his neck seems too stiff to turn.
During the debate McCain also gave a warm and thoughtful defense of his running mate, Sarah Palin. A lot of us were glad to hear it. As a Governor of a frontier state, she has been subjected to treatment no previous governors who've run for high office --think Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton--have been subjected to in recent memory. The eastern half of the United States and its media are really befuddled by the West. They ought to go there sometime. Some western states even have libraries.
I think, in this debate, for the first time, John McCain made Barak Obama's eloquence look more like the slickness it is. Barak Obama is, after all, a man who has had even less experience in government than has the much maligned Sarah Palin. Still, it might be too late for McCain's strong performance and for the questions he raised about Barak Obama's words.
I sure wish this John McCain had showed up before now.