I only caught bits and pieces of the debate tonight (with the sound off and the closed captioning on), correctly thinking that my time would be better spent talking on the phone with my girlfriend, rather than letting my blood pressure potentially skyrocket if Tom "I Make Up Facts So the GOP Doesn't Have To" Brokaw did something particularly stupid. As we head into the home stretch, I find myself strangely divided in my responses to the campaign, at once obsessed and also exhausted by the whole thing, so taking breaks from the debates has been helpful.
I've been catching up on what happened through blog and news reports, and it sounds like Obama did well. It might be tiny, compared to their answers on entitlements or health care or Iran (I imagine that self-appointed scold Bob Somerby would attack it as so on his Mao-jacket-gray website), but this is the YouTube moment I keep watching:
Why does the lack of a handshake from McCain bug me? Because it comes after he said this:
And that comes just a day after this happened:
Worse, Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."
Even PUMA-happy Salon is able to recognize the McCain campaign's slow descent, not just into eventual irrelevance, but into a truly ugly racial cesspool, and the combined effect of the three events noted above suggests to me that they're not even trying to hide their unearned sense of entitlement anymore.
UPDATE (11:41pm): Talking Points Memo and Andrew Sullivan are now reporting that McCain shook Obama's hand in an earlier moment as the debate ended. If that's true (as I said, I only saw bits and pieces), then fair is fair and it should be noted. That said, it still looks to me like McCain is ignoring Obama's hand in this clip, and I'm not sure it changes the wider point about the McCain campaign running on racially-fueled entitlement and contempt, which their behavior earlier in the evening and over the last few days continues to suggest.