The Debate

Like a lot of people, I watched the debate last week between Barack Obama and John McCain, and I never would have written a blog post on a topic like this, but something about the debate drove me absolutely nuts.  It was something that none of the media postmortems made much mention of which bothers me even more; it was the fact that during the entire debate, John McCain rarely looked at Barack Obama.

A lot of people are going to think I’m crazy, but where I come from you look someone straight in the eye when you speak to them.  Like a good handshake, it’s one of those visceral, show-you-what-I’m-made-of clues that speak volumes about a person.  In spite of Jim Lehrer’s prompting to get the candidates to talk to one another, McCain wasn’t going to budge preferring to look anywhere but at his opponent.   McCain’s whole demeanor was at odds with what he was supposed to represent; he was condescending, often appearing to talk down to Barack, and yet the lack of eye contact made him look as if he was afraid of Barack or worried that what he was saying was not ringing true.  All I could think was, if he was having this much trouble with a Senator from Illinois what was he going to do when confronted by someone as formidable as Vladimir Putin?  Even at the end of the debate when they were shaking hands, McCain was still looking at the floor.

McCain’s attitude about Roe v Wade, paired with his pro-life presidential choice of Sarah Palin was pretty much a deal breaker for me and the debate clinched it.  Maybe I’m wrong to base my presidential choice on body language, but actions often do speak louder than words.


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