Shortly after Palin's nomination, somebody started the catch phrase "The hottest governor from the coldest state." But according to Google, I'm the first one to come up with the reciprocal phrase for McCain: "The coldest senator from the hottest state." (The supporter version, "The coolest senator from the hottest state" also gets no hits.)
McCain's debate points were largely about the past: what he'd done in the Senate, what Obama had (or hadn't) done in the Senate. Obama frequently referred to "The last eight years of policies promoted by George Bush and supported by John McCain," but focused more on what he plans to do as President than what he's already done in the U.S. and Illinois Senates, not making a huge deal about his days of youth. If the choice were just between the two men, their records, and proposals (ignoring their running mates, political parties, attack ads, and campaign structures), I think it would be a tough call. But I think Obama would get my vote in that context too. John McCain has demonstrated his ability to get at least 50 people to do important things, so why not leave him in the Senate where he can keep doing a good job? Barack Obama has demonstrated his ability to inspire lots of people all over the place (including Europe, where we need to thaw some diplomatic ice), so why not put him in the Presidency where he can make speeches and inspire Americans to do all sorts of great stuff?
That said, McCain's choice of running mate (a huge concession to the religious right) and the honor-free campaign he's run have eroded any support I had for the man. He's traded principle for a chance at power and may well be foisted upon his own campaign finance reform petard.
A surprising number of people believe that, with a name like Barack Hussein Obama, he must be a Muslim. Some assert that this is because his grandfather was a Muslim, as if Islam was like male-pattern baldness. But I haven't heard anyone propose the complementary position that McCain must be an Irish Catholic. (He's actually a Southern Baptist, formerly an Episcopalian. I guess now he's an Episcopalinan.) I also haven't heard anyone assert he's not American, even though he was born in Panama.
If Obama wins the election, I wonder how long it will take Bill Cunningham's listeners to realize their president is not a Muslim. Or what if they don't realize it and several years later say "Wow, having a Muslim president isn't so bad. I'd totally vote for a Muslim in Republican Primaries." Nah...
41 years after the Supreme Court declared that states can't forbid mixed race couples from getting married, the child of a mixed race couple is projected to win the Presidency. In another generation or two, will a canvasser be told "We're votin' for the f**got!"
? You know McCain's in trouble when he's having trouble convincing those voters.
McCain's made a big deal about Obama knowing a former member of the Weather Underground, a group who expressed their opposition to the Vietnam War by destroying property in the U.S. Around the same time Bill Ayers was blowing up parts of targeted (largely unoccupied) buildings, John McCain was dropping bombs on a densely populated city. But I don't care about an old washed-up bomber pilot.
Incidentally, if you'd like to learn about the Weather Underground, I recommend this documentary
. It presents history objectively and includes lots of interviews with former members. Some have lots of regrets about what they did, others are unrepentant.