Senator Obama and John

All the talking heads on TV and online have analyzed the debate in all its myriad aspects by now, so what of earth-shttering importance can be added by a tired materfamilias who had to miss bits of the debate here and there because she wasn’t watching it through the DVR because the only way to watch it at all was to let the girls watch an insipid Barbie movie on the DVR?

But when you have a blog, and you blog about politics, you can’t just not blog about the debate, can you? So here goes, my very brief take on the first oratorical combat between the Maverick and the Lightworker.

The title of this post refers, of course, to the fact that throughout the debate McCain referred to Obama as “Senator Obama” while Obama occasionally said “Senator McCain” but referred to his opponent simply as “John” far more often. And why not? Surely they’ve been calling each other “John” and “Barack” for as long as they’ve served in the Senate together. But in the setting of a presidential debate, “Senator McCain” and “Senator Obama” seem the more natural forms of address. At least they seemed so to McCain, who as his ciritics are quick to point out (Did you know he’s, like, really, really old?) is from a generation that actually uses titles and surnames regularly. I say this, btw, as a person from Obama’s generation who prefers the antiquated mores of McCain’s. And I don’t intend it as an attack on Obama, but rather as a simple comment on one of the many ways our (his and my) generation differs from McCain’s.

Senator Obama was, as usual, eloquent. He has a wonderful speaking voice, deep and resonant, and his rhetorical style is impressive. Apart from the occasional unfortunate choice of words (“above my pay grade” springs to mind), he has a real gift for expressing himself. Senator McCain is not particularly eloquent. His oratorical endeavors aren’t fertile comedy fodder like those of poor old W, but he does not have Obama’s rhetorical gifts. This worried me going into the debate, but it needn’t have. McCain isn’t an orator, but he comes across as sincere, earnest and genuine. Moreover, he was unflappable. Though known for having a fiery temper, McCain betrayed no trace of irritation at anything Obama said about him, whereas quite a few of McCain’s remarks clearly upset Obama, who glowered, grimaced, smirked, signalled the moderator, and interrupted McCain to mutter, “That’s not true.”

Conservatives will probably think McCain won the debate, liberals will think Obama did, and most of the undecided swing voters will probably not be swung one way or the other. Neither candidate made a dreadful gaffe, nor did either score a pithy sound byte sure to be replayed ad nauseam tomorrow. Both will return to cross rhetorical swords another day, and may the best man win.

Comments 5

  1. Bowden Russell wrote:

    I beg to differ. When Obama was asked the name of the dead soldier was on his bracelet he couldn’t remember.

    He couldn’t remember the name of a man who gave his life for a country Obama wants to lead, a name he wears on his wrist?

    Obama by that very addmission lost the debate and showed that he’s just as anti-American as his mentor Bill Ayers.

    You should do a post on that fact.

    Posted 27 Sep 2008 at 5:41 am
  2. Patrick wrote:

    Yes, “I have a bracelet, too” did not go over well for Obama. But his supporters won’t remember that, even if they noticed it. CNN talked to Senator Biden afterward, and Biden was bizarrely giddy, saying he hoped he’d do as well as his new boss in next week’s debate with Governor Palin.

    Posted 27 Sep 2008 at 12:15 pm
  3. Bowden Russell wrote:

    Biden is an idiot. He goes around telling audiences how his wife was killed by a drunk driver, a claim not supported by the law-authorities at the time of his wife’s death.

    Face it, the only way the Democrats can have even a prayer of winning is by slandering the dead (said driver has since passed) to gain sympathy.

    God help our Republic with fools like this in power.

    Posted 27 Sep 2008 at 9:25 pm
  4. Patrick wrote:

    Here’s the “I have a bracelet, too” clip:

    http://jammiewearingfool.blogspot.com/2008/09/he-might-have-bracelet-but-he-has-no.html

    Posted 28 Sep 2008 at 2:21 am
  5. Bowden Russell wrote:

    Thanks Patrick. We need to see just how despicable these Dems have become.

    Posted 28 Sep 2008 at 2:24 am

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