Another Time’s President.

“I can’t live with myself.”

The Huffington Post’s Michael Seitzman wrote about last night’s debate, but by avoiding its specific proposals or content, and, instead, focusing on the manner by which it was conducted, he created something near poetry.

When is the last time we had a leader that we wanted to emulate? Seriously, tomorrow when some douche cuts me off on Sunset Blvd, I’m just going to open my window at the next traffic light and calmly say, “I’d like to address your driving style. If you don’t mind.”

We’ve had so many years of people who vilify their political enemies, years of Baby Huey Bush and Cheney, of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity laying claim to a country that only exists in the black-prison sites of their twisted minds (and at McCain rallies). It’s been blood feud after blood feud for far too long. Listening to McCain was a big hunk of enough-is-enough. My kidneys are gonna shut down if I have to endure four more years of that bile.

Mccain and Palin and their ilk don’t laugh. They patronize. They don’t smile, they snicker. They don’t debate, they denigrate. They don’t talk, they condescend. They don’t argue, they ridicule. There is a nastiness, a mean-spiritedness, a smug certitude, and a profound and baseless arrogance seething from both of them. These aren’t leaders. They’re not even grownups. They’re certainly not a team of mavericks, they’re a team of schmendricks (Yiddish. Means someone who can’t succeed but thinks he can. Also means penis).

Now, contrast that with Barack Obama. Always respectful, even when disrespected. Always calm, even when faced with contempt. Always articulate, never talking down. He never rattles and never takes it personally. He’s not just a diplomat, he’s a gentleman. You know what he has? Manners.

I’m exhausted by rigid, condescending ideologues like John McCain. He’s like a circus mirror, showing us some distorted version of ourselves as only he sees us. He says “spread the wealth” as if he were saying “spread the herpes.” He uses air-quotes while saying “a mother’s health,” as if it’s some radical fantasy invented by “those who would seek to destroy us.” McCain’s grin is an undisguised scowl of anger and intolerance. But the worst part is that he thinks that’s our scowl too.

John McCain is a rear-view image of yesterday’s America. Barack Obama is a signpost to the road ahead. It’s that simple.



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