Wednesday, October 8, 2008

McCain Does the Pop n' Lock

Back when we were kids, my friend's father thought it would be a great idea to buy him the Alphonso Ribeiro "Breakin' and Poppin'" instructional video (with complimentary cardboard dance mat). His dad would then rouse him out of bed when he had company, announce that he had been "taking dance lessons" and force him to dance "like the kid dressed as Michael Jackson." My buddy was a horrible breakdancer, and having to perform in his Muppet Babies pajamas didn't help. Everyone watching knew he was a terrible dancer. Except his dad. People would cringe while his pops would grin and enjoy. The truth was that there was a perception gap - his dad was simply seeing what he wanted to see, and not what was happening.

A similar perception gap was evident in the pundits' fawning over McCain's performance in last night's debate. McCain "was in his element," "looked comfortable" and "performed splendidly in a format that benefited him." Either the pundits were just seeing what they wanted to see, or they have a Palinesque inability to deviate from the comments they prepared before the debate started. Simply put, McCain looked old and stiff (not in a Starbursts kind of way). His jokes fell flat. When Obama was speaking, McCain wandered aimlessly around the stage like someone looking for the correct gate at Penn Station. I swear he took at least three standing naps. The physical contrast between the two candidates was striking. If this is McCain's idea of being comfortable, then he must also love cuddling up next to Cindy in an asbestos blanket on a bed of nails.

It was clear to me that the pundits had bought into the "McCain is a town hall debator" meme before the night began, and simply saw what they wanted to see in order to fulfill their expectations.

Then again, maybe I was just seeing what I wanted to see.

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