Saturday, September 27, 2008

Jingoistic Self-Aggrandizement

After a a few hours of sleep, it became increasingly clear to me that my initial reaction of last night's debate was a little skewed. Upon first thought I felt good about where the debate ended-- Obama held his own talking about issues that were supposed to be dominated by McCain and in doing neither stood above nor below his opponent. Yet when I awoke this morning, I couldn't help but feel Obama missed too many opportunities to really show voters why his candidacy matters.

During the first segment on the economy, a segment that was ripe for Obama's picking, he was merely content to sit back and outline the many differences he has with McCain economics a la eight failed Bush years. This in and of itself was a huge chance to bury McCain beneath his many fumblings, yet Obama chose to remain distant, refusing to get up and directly hold republicans responsible for the economic calamities they have created.

Among the many post-debate reactions I combed through last night was a poignant albeit slightly critical response by Hollywood's most famous liberal, Sean Penn.
John McCain, celebrating himself as a maverick, reinventing his voting record, and name-dropping world leaders, simultaneously re-exhibited his enduring ignorance of the cultural dynamics that led to his misjudgment on Iraq in the first place. Senator Obama, at least gave a little nuanced oxygen to the conversation in his statement that Ahmadinejad may not be the most powerful man in theocratic Iran -- an often mis-advertised political and cultural evaluation.

The result is another frustrating piece of American media that is at once far too polite, and at the same time, dismissive of an American public's need to know anything beyond jingoistic self-aggrandizement.
I too share his post-debate mood. Thus I feel its important for Obama to regroup, chalk this debate up as a wash, and set his sights on the next debate with a fire in eyes. Being nice and polite are one thing, but the fact of the matter is, its not what the voters want to hear right now. Instead they need a leader willing to stand up and forcefully defend the democratic ideals that are so fundamental to our country and to our party. If Obama does this, I don't think McCain has an answer.

No comments: