mercredi 8 octobre 2008

Can't change dicks in the middle of a screw?



My correspondents in Europe are wondering who won last night's debate. They would have to have stayed up until 3 am to watch it. They probably were awake at 3 am, but desperately trying to rid their brains of black thoughts about the collapse of global capital markets. The last thing they needed to see was to see John McCain. When he smiled, he looked strained and uncomfortable. He looked like he was wearing a body girdle that was too tight. In fact, I swear he is wearing a girdle or an extremely tight bulletproof vest. Whatever it is, it's choking him. On television, he looked pinched and pasty and small and out of his league. Every time the camera caught him, he was either prowling around the stage like a tiger ready to pounce or scribbling things frantically on reams of paper that seemed to spill off of the small desk next to his chair. Too bad he didn't write down the name of the young black woman who asked him a question; it would have looked better had he remembered her name (it was Ingrid).

But they would have been reassured by Obama, who was incredibly relaxed and upbeat. Physically, the contrast with his opponent Dick Nixon -- oops, I mean John McCain --was striking. Obama, tall and lanky and graceful. McCain, more like a pitbull, without the lipstick. Obama was presidential; McCain was not. Obama looked like he could lead a nation; McCain looked like he could have a heart attack any minute. Interestingly, he did not mention his running mate once last night. Well, that stands to reason. McCain + heart attack = President Palin. I don't think anyone, even the Joe Sixpacks and Hockey Moms out there (big shout-out to all of you) who are voting Republican in spite of it all, really want to see that happen. They just won't admit it, and they have a tremendous capacity for denial.

I haven't read what the analysts and opinionators are saying about last night's debate, but I'm sure they have all commented on McCain's odd remarks to Tom Brokaw, who I guess would not be Treasury Secretary in a McCain administration. No way! But what really struck me was what happened after the debate ended: the candidates' wives came onto the stage -- Michelle Obama from the audience, where she was sitting during the debate with the regular folks, and Cindy McCain from the shadows. She looked every inch the Stepford Wife, impassive, fake smile, two steps behind her husband, frail. She looked like she needed to be on life support. And like she wanted to get the hell out of there, fast. That's what the McCains did. They shook a few hands and were gone. The Obamas lingered with the crowd, shaking hands, posing for photos and actually speaking to people. They looked like they were having fun. Meanwhile, in the back of Cindy's stretch limo, John was wiggling out of his girdle and telling Cindy he would take her to dinner but only if she promised not to have any dessert. You know what they say: you can never be too rich or too thin. Cindy is pushing the envelope on that one. And Tricky John is makin' sure of that.

When Nixon ran for re-election, I was in high school. One day, somebody wrote a poem on the blackboard of my history class and we all had to sit there until the perp came forward or was denounced by a classmate. I don't remember how the story ended, but I have never forgotten the poem:

Vote for Nixon in seventy-two
'Cuz you can't change Dicks in the middle of a screw.

What's different in 2008 is that we are getting rid of the Dick who has been more or less secretly running our country for the past eight years. What luck! And we don't have to put another one in the White House. We can turn the page, not on the economy, as Tricky John would like, but on eight years of panic, fear and greed. Let's do it!