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.
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.”