We have passed Presidential Debate 2: The Old Man Strikes Back, and it is becoming increasingly clear that John McCain is losing ground. Now, I am normally suspicious of what a poll actually says the numbers are (sample sizes are way too small and demographics are iffy at best), but I do watch the trends in the numbers, because on the whole, they are fairly accurate predictors. And the polls show Obama's numbers trending up and McCain's numbers trending down.
You can point to a lot of reasons for this. The sudden explosion of the economy was like the asteroid that pushed the dinosaurs to their doom. The bloom is off Sarah Palin's rose, as it became clear from the Vice Presidential debate that Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson could not have done much to make her look bad that she wasn't fully capable of all by herself. The attack ads that McCain's camp have launched have started to become darker and dirtier. McCain's treatment of Obama before, during, and after the debates was the subject of much scrutiny. Even some Republican pundits are beginning to see the warning signs.
This is not good if you are John McCain.
So now he presses the attack. He takes on Obama's character, rails about how we don't know who Obama is or what he thinks, that he's evasive when asked about his record, is lying and hopes that by repeating it often enough people will believe it.
In psychoanalysis, this is called projection -- projecting your own negative qualities onto others rather than identifying them with yourself.
This is also not good if you're John McCain.
Perhaps the most telling thing to happen of late is the appearance at McCain/Palin rallies of people who are decidedly racist. Not just that, but that when incidents occur at these rallies, they elicit no condemnation from the candidate.
It becomes increasingly clear that John McCain is trying to sell his political soul to get that seat in the Oval Office. He is no longer concerned with outward appearances -- he has beat the war drum of his service, his captivity, his maverick nature to the point of drowning out reason and sanity. He is a man acting as if he is owed a term as President of the United States, rather than having to earn it like everyone else has. He is now pandering to the lowest common denominator of the electorate, the seedy underbelly of politics -- those who fear a black man in the White House. By bringing up Obama's tenuous link to William Ayers, and thus by association linking Obama to terrorism, McCain has lost his last shred of decency.
This election is slowly turning into a new Civil War, a war between the status quo of power and privilege (McCain) and a new birth of freedom and democracy (Obama). Unlike the Civil War, where the battle lines were drawn starkly on the map, this battle for the heart and soul of the nation plays out on a constantly shifting field, where attack and counterattack, thrust and parry, underhanded deed and glorious battle are represented in a constant, whirling milieu. The colors shift and dance across the map, and in the end, in this amorphous atmosphere of desperation and hope, one side will triumph. But at what cost.
John McCain has begun the long slow plunge -- here's hoping he does not take the decency of the United States down with him.