So listening to George W. Bush the other night giving his economics speech, I had to grudgingly admit he did a pretty good job of explaining the situation we're in, if not necessarily exactly how the bailout will help. And listening to the debate tonight - on tv at home, in the car, at Democratic HQ, and finally in various post-debate wrap-ups - I found myself sometimes agreeing with what John McCain was saying. As did Barack Obama, it turned out, who graciously acknowledged when McCain came out with something similar to Obama's own policies. And no, I don't count it as a weakness to acknowledge when your opponent is on the right track. That is intellectual honesty and consensus building, not weakness and deference to the superior debater or candidate.
But McCain wasn't gracious in return, and maybe that's why the Wormtongue effect didn't work very well tonight. Much has been made already of McCain's failure to look at his opponent throughout the debate, beyond a fleeting glance or two in his general direction. It's difficult to be charming and ungracious at the same moment.
Maybe that's why McCain's frequent claims that Obama "just doesn't get it" hit my ears as a desperate and condescending lie rather than a sincere attempt to point out a genuine weakness in his opponent. Obama consistently showed a wide-ranging knowledge of foreign policy issues and the major players involved, and was even able to connect the dots between the individual conflicts and the strategic disadvantages of being dependent on foreign oil. Meanwhile, McCain showed a similar level of knowledge at times, but stumbled over a few names, got a few facts wrong, and stated no clear policy of his own while frequently distorted Obama's. When your opponent just proved to anyone who is listening that he has a strong working knowledge of the subject, it seems dishonest and pointless to claim otherwise a second or two later. Say that you disagree with your opponent's assessments, and here's why your opponent's ideas won't work. Don't try to pretend that the disagreement stems from ignorance, not when the other candidate is clearly demonstrating the opposite. Whom was McCain trying to convince? Maybe, maybe, sound bytes of his accusation will be believed by people who rely on such things, and will never hear what was said immediately before or after. But those are the people who already believe the ignorance and inexperience claim. To everyone else, each repetition just made McCain look more petty and desperate, and more as though he's the one who doesn't "get it."
Between my near all-nighter last night, volunteering this afternoon and a bit of unseasonable rain, I didn't manage to get Pepper and Cayenne to the dog park today. But the dogs, and a certain cat, were very much on my mind. Having consulted with Carly over permission and what photo of Carly's to use, I now present the Elvis edition of the Cool Cats for Barack button:
And this next one was requested at the campaign office, but I figure there may be a person or two here who is interested:
Here's another tweak. There was a concern that Tuffy on the Barkers for Barack buttons looked too much like a German shepherd, a breed some people associate with racist attacks and police brutality. I kind of hate to see my poor little mixed chow caught in such a blanket condemnation. Nevertheless, I redid that button with Cayenne pictured instead. Here's the post I prefer for it:
And here's the main one the campaign will be using:
We can't leave Pepper out, can we? The Pima County campaign for Obama can, but we can't:
As with last night's buttons designs, today's additions call all be seen and downloaded on my Obama gallery on Picasa. Share and enjoy!