I totally understand why it makes little sense to game out a presidential election before either convention, either veep choice or any debate. But after the "debate" last night, watching how these two men presented themselves, and seeing how neoconservatism is reconstituting itself for an even fuller metal jacket, I think at this point, McCain's gaining. Reading Frank Rich's desperate column today did nothing to dissuade me.
Having watched the Bacevich interview in the same time period, this reader suggests why:
In terms of the simplistic appeals that have passed for political discourse in this country since Reagan, I would say that McCain certainly won last night. Does that mean he can win the general? Actually, at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if he did.
I watched the forum in the context of linking earlier in the day from your site to the Bill Moyers interview with Andrew Bacevich. Bacevich's main point about America seemed to be that all of our problems today - whether it's the mess we've gotten into with Iraq, or our dependence on foreign oil - basically stem from the same source: That we've become accustomed to expecting something for nothing. And in this respect, it was telling that only Obama, in his answer to the question about taxes, said No, we can't keep doing that. I'm sure you've seen the movie Idiocracy, but if you haven't, you should definitely Neflix it, and fire up the DVD.
It paints in stark satirical terms exactly the America Bacevich's describes, positing a future dystopia where the citizens of our fair land are too stupefied by consumption to deal with existential threats. I used to think that if McCain won, it would be because of race. I don't doubt that race remains a factor, but I'm beginning to think that if he did win, it would also be because - for all his talk of what he would have done after 9-11, calling the nation to sacrifice - he's still promising the same old something for nothing. He's certainly not laying out what the real cost of his geopolitical posturing would be.
More and more, November seems to be shaping up, above all, up as a referendum on the American people-on what we collectively are prepared to take responsibility for. If McCain wins, we'll deserve him.