I tend to be easily pleased, perhaps more so than Ms. Fairbanks. Then again, I prefer low-scoring pitchers' duels to ERA-busting slugfests. A universe is born, expands, and burns itself out in the time between the second and third pitch to the clean-up hitter with two outs and a guy on third in the bottom of the eighth of a scoreless game. It's easier to notice as we age and everything slows down.
I enjoyed the debate. I watched the first half-hour on CNN's website and listened to the rest on XM's POTUS channel as I drove home.
It was a "proud to be an American" moment. Both those guys could have been better, I suppose, but each of them individually--their contrasting stories and styles--and the two of them clinching and sparring as one unit reminded me how fortunate we are to have our system of governance.
I'm happy for Ole Miss. The debate for them must have been a cathartic act of public grace, like during Mass on Holy Thursday when we line up to wash each others' feet, kneeling then seated, giving then receiving.
Both men wore neckties. I hate neckties, and will wear one only under duress. But in this case it's a job interview, so they had to dress up. Have you ever interviewed someone for a job? What an honor it is to do so, to be asked to pass judgment on someone who wants to work for you. An unusual, almost archaic ritual of dominance and submission. In this case job applicants who will go so far as to debase themselves by wearing a necktie. Politicians are whores, and as y'all who know me a bit will confirm, I mean that in a good way. In this regard I wanted to reach out to McCain, the more flustered of the two, with his constant nervous chuckle, and say, there there, John, it's okay, we may not all agree with you but you can relax, we don't bite.
I particularly liked the fact that they both stayed true to themselves, to the classes to which they both appear iconic. Lehrer (amused, unflappable, terrific) kept trying to bait them into directly confronting each other. I think they are far less comfortable doing so than allowing their surrogates to do the dirty work. They are both friends of democracy; Obama at one point stopped himself from responding to one of McCain's criticisms by siding with Lehrer who had been trying to start a new line of questioning. In other words, Obama caught a couple jabs after the bell but played by the rules. I was reminded that patriots can be found in the cockpit of a fighter jet as well as behind the bar in a court of law.
That whole spat about talking to Iran without "preconditions" struck me as ironic, because I'd bet my next paycheck that the impetuous McCain would be much more likely to order Air Force One to be fired up in the middle of the night to fly off to secretly meet with somebody or other than would the circumspect, process-obsessed Obama. Then again, so much of this election has been about Bachelor Number One accusing Bachelor Number Two of being Bachelor Number One.
williamyard On The Debate