The pain of being John McCain

The old man took on the new kid on the block for the second of three Presidential campaign debates Tuesday night and planned to expose the kid as a wild-eyed radical with dangerous ideas that would destroy the United States of America.

He failed.

Barack Obama beat John McCain handily in a “Town Hall” format that was supposed to be McCain’s strength. He won by keeping his cool and being…well…boring…and, by contrast, exposed McCain as the hothead with dangerous ideas: Which was one of the few moments of truth to come out of the extended hyperbole that passed as serious debate.

McCain didn’t lose his cool either but he still came across as the bully in the pulpit, the angry, bitter old man who can’t stand his opponent and can’t conceal his contempt for the uppity black man from Chicago who stands in his way on the road to the White House.

Like Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, McCain sees the Presidency as something he deserves, something that is a right, not a privilege. He still can’t grasp the reality that Obama and the American voters want to deny him that self-perceived right.

Astute viewers saw a desperate man on stage Tuesday night, a struggling political candidate who keeps throwing Hail Mary passes that fell lifeless to the turf.  His gamble on Sarah Palin is sinking into the mire of his and her own political mud. His grandstanding ploy on the economic bailout plan failed miserably.

So upset was he over his failed performance that he left the arena abruptly after the debate while Obama lingered to talk and shake hands.

McCain went into the debate knowing the end is near. He left with that end in sight.

With nearly a month left in a rancorous political campaign that has defied all the rules a game-changing event is still possible to rescue the sinking McCain campaign but a longtime friend and Republican political consultant may have summed it up in an email that arrived via Blackberry shortly after the debate.

“It’s over,” he said. “Time to start thinking about 2012.”


  1. brcarthey

    Mr. Thompson,

    What do you think of the “Bradley effect” in terms of this election? Could it still happen 26 years later?

    Blitz Carthey

    “It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation.” –William Tecumseh Sherman

  2. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Mr. McNuggets did not rag on Obama about Ayres during the 2nd debate and this was because one of McNugget’s biggest financial campaign contributors is good friends with Ayres, and I can’t recall what his name is, but told McNuggets to stop the ‘Obama is friends with Terrorists’ rhetoric.

    McNuggets is such a crotchety old whiner, the wheels really are falling off the McNugget’s campaign.

    Interesting also that McNugget’s didn’t mention Barracuda B*tch not once during the debate, not once.

    I am disgusted by the D-Crappers and especially Sir Obama of Camelot’s past action of voting for retro-active immunity for telecoms.

    I see no end to the D-Crappers caving into neo-con scams.

    The lesser of two evils rationale does not cut it with me, I still can’t allow myself to vote Democrapper.

    Where the Hell is it going to stop.

    Yes, Obama is preferable to Mr. McNuggets but the D-Crappers let Chimp get away with so much that I can’t vote D-Crapper.

    No More Fancy Pants Suit Wenches like Hillary & Fancy Pants Pelosi.

    Vote Nader

  3. EffPee

    CNN says what most of us think about Virginny (and Virginians) in their 10/9/2008 headline:

    Obama in position to steal Virginia from GOP

    The GOP owns the Commonwealth of VA. And now it seems that some “Black Guy” (or equivalent language) thinks he’s gonna steal it away from its rightful owners?

    I hardly think so. Those who revere the memory of Robert E. Lee would never allow that ultimate heresy.

  4. DejaVuAllOver

    Nice, Doug. I’m an engineer by training and long ago gave up trying to out-analyze opponents. To paraphrase an old joke, “It wastes your time and annoys the pig.” But you really nailed this one: McCain’s severe personality defects were obvious to anyone with the people-skills of a sewer grating. The man is one nasty dude.

  5. raedawn

    Great rant! I’ve only recently begin reading the “Blue” again, and I’m glad I did. I find it, and especially your rants, to be a refreshing retreat into “speaking” Truth to Power. Thank heaven there is still someone “out there” who is willing to do it.

    What I find absolutely frightening is McNugget’s refusal to date to effectively moderate his extremely angry and potentially violent audiences. I know he recently, at a speaking engagement, asked the audience to not respond so vehemently negatively … too little, too late. The flamers are taking over McNugget’s campaign (sorry … stole this from another rant responder because I like it so much), and, in addition to lobbing charges at Obama, calling him a “traitor” and a “terrorist,” are shouting things like “kill him” and “off with his head.” I’m glad that the Secret Service has told McNuggets to tone down his rhetoric, but I’m afraid the damage is already done.

    At a recent appearance, when McNuggets said that Obama was a decent man and asking them to stop the negative shouting and rhetoric, his own supporters booed him. McNuggets has gone far beyond appealing to the far right, straight past the bounds of reason, to accepting the support of those who might actually support terrorism in the U.S., as they’ve done in the past, by blowing up buildings, killing talk show hosts, etc. Thank goodness that Obama is holding his ground, not stooping to the low level of mud slinging and, instead, showing his colors by staying on message.

    Thanks, Thompson, for keeping it on point.
    Linda in Lowell, MA

  6. Kibitzer

    I echo Kent’s concerns. This is not just about this election. It is about the agenda that some very powerful people have for the planet. Not that at the very top, the Demo party couldn’t be in bed with these movers and shakers. (Think LBJ making the Vietnam War happen, for his plutocratic buddies, and their geopolitical strategic thinkers.) But Obama represents a somewhat different camp of people, who are in some ways directly-opposite opponents of the fascistic, NWO crowd. Are the latter going to let their power drain away easily, and esp. when everything is so in readiness for their call for martial law and the final suspension of the Constitution, which is the last stumbling block to their rolling to total control? I don’t think so.

    And if someone thinks this is just wild conspiracy-theory ramblings, they haven’t done their homework. It’s all there. Seek and ye shall find. So no, it’s not far-fetched, Kent. It’s a very real possibility. These are not just desperate times; they are ripe times for the plucking.

    But at least the current campaign situation is better than the threat of having the Repub ticket in power. With McCain’s notorious temper, and Palin’s staunch fundamentalist religious belief that makes consideration of an Armageddon-type event a Good Thing – and a lot of similarly well-meaning but nevertheless brainwashed citizens in the same camp – I feel that we will be in better hands, in balance. Just so long as Bush doesn’t go along with an urging of his neocon buddies to stay in power….

  7. Malibu

    Good Rant, Mr. Thompson and again the GOP faces a decision after the loss of the 2008 campaign, whether to change the agenda back to where it was when the budget must be balanced and the government scaled back closer to what the founders had in mind.

    The quality of the federal government, white house and supreme court is shoddy and dangerous for the freedoms found in our Bill of Rights. The economic melt down reflects the actions of this new Republican Party that is being guided by the Neoconservative One World Empire of destruction.

    It is time to let the GOP sink and a new party of fiscal responsibility under the leadership of men like Congressmen Ron Paul and even Dennis Kucinich.

    We must also discuss the lack of interest in our government by the voters who tend to get a thrill over a bubblehead like Gov. Palin. If the RNC feels they have a future in politics, they must insist that they stop the terrorism found in their Conservative writers and agents. The campaigns found within the RNC were filled with lies and slander against the opposition and nothing was based on the GOP agenda of what used to be a winning campaign. They slipped into fraud with Pres. Nixon and they never got out. Time for a new political party with a clean and honest agenda.

    This meltdown in the economy might just wake up the voters and demand an economy based on the American dollar not a failed credit mess.


  8. sherry

    This is not a partisan issue. BOTH parties have failed us miserably.
    We have failed to hold them accountable. It’s not enough to point fingers at election time.
    Both candidates are opening the candy store long enough to get our votes.
    The reality is, it’s all show. The store has been given away.
    Neither candidate had the spine to admit last night that the economy will get worse before it gets better.
    Neither one said we are going to have to make real sacrifices when it comes to energy and finances.
    Neither one mentioned balancing the budget.
    Obama has a superior healthcare plan. Problem is, there is no money. We are 12 trillion in debt and sooner rather than later, our ability to borrow will end.
    We need to ask some serious questions, and we need to hold out for realistic answers.

  9. Elmo

    McCain sees the Presidency as something he deserves, something that is a right, not a privilege. How true, how sadly true that someone who was continually saved by his father’s influence could have risen to such a position and now thinks that everything he wants should be handed to him. Reminds me of the Toddler’s Creed:

    If I want it, it’s mine.
    If I give it to you and change my mind later, it’s mine.
    If I can take it away from you, it’s mine.
    If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
    If it’s mine, it will never belong to anybody else, no matter what.
    If we are building something together, all the pieces are mine.
    If it looks just like mine, it is mine.

  10. Flapsaddle

    Tedious in the extreme!

    It was unexciting, unenlightening and dull to the point of being an effective anesthetic for a root canal. Only a rabid partisan of either side would have sat through it and would then paw through the mounds of easily-forgotten hype and drivel to declare that one or the other of them had come up with a genuine nugget of any value.

    We may all thank Heaven that the campaign is nearly over rather than just started.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  11. Malibu

    Tedious yes, at least it demonstrated what we do not want in our candidates. This entire campaign should be an eye-opener of what is wrong in the DNC and RNC. If we don’t learn from this, how can we, as voters, locate a superior political agenda?

    I voted by mail today. I placed my mark for every Libertarian candidate with the exception of the President list and wrote in PAUL,RON. We had a very complicated ballot in Phoenix with Propositions and lists of Judges. I did use the list from the local LP.

    Maybe if we had shown more interest in the issues when the GOP went neoconservative we might have had a better debate. I have not voted GOP since 1988, but every 4 years I check the platform to see if a balanced budget is even mentioned. Had we had one, our government could have been prepared for and aware of the credit meltdown.

    Americans demand free health care coverage on top of Social Security and Medicare. We simply do not have the budget on hand for this and the undocumented aliens on top of a billion dollar a month war that most Americans do not want.


  12. JudyB

    All last week the orchestra was rehearsing, and last night I heard “The Fat Lady” clearing her throat.

  13. Charlie Couser

    After watching Mr. Same last night, at few words from an old C & W hit come to mind: ‘…Turn out the lights, the party’s over…’

    Charlie Couser

  14. ekaton

    How desperate is the Republican Party to maintain control? Would or could Bush really be nuts enough to attack Iran before election day? I really don’t know if thats far fetched or not.

    These are desperate times.

    — Kent Shaw

  15. GoshDarnIt

    How desperate is the GOP? At this point, VERY–the writing is most definitely on the wall. If I were Shrub, I’d be thinking of ways to justify declaring martial law sometime between today and Jan. 21st.

    You betcha!

  16. Ladywolf55

    And this is the FIRST thing I’ve found I could agree with you wholeheartedly on, Sherry. Good post.

    The next step is: WHO is going to ask those questions, and WHO is going to insist on the answers?