Ever since the much anticipated on again off again debate between the two Presidential candidates, there has been a lot of concern from Democrats and pundits concerning the performance or lack thereof from Senator Obama. Many people feel that the debate was full of “moments loss” for the Senator to “take it to” McCain. Many felt that after the disastrous week McCain had that he was prime for a final knockout blow. It’s funny because I remember the week prior to the debate I was visiting my parents and jokingly said that if I were Senator Obama I would do something deliberate to anger John McCain and show that he was temperamentally unfit to be President. I had even jokingly and somewhat cruelly suggested that I would mention McCain’s adopted daughter that Bush had used to derail the McCain candidacy in 2000.
For the many people who feel that Senator Obama needs to go after McCain during the debates, I would just like to interject some thoughts from my own experience of being a black man working in a white world. The first thing that I would remind all of those people who are calling for Senator Obama to get tough with McCain is that they are already going to vote for Obama. What a supporter looks for in a candidate may not be what an undecided voter might find appealing. What many supporters don’t understand is the fine line that Senator Obama has to walk; despite all the pronouncements to the contrary we are still living in America where blacks are expected to carry themselves in certain ways when it comes to interacting with whites. While many people want to use Senator Obama’s historical candidacy as the death knell to our racist past there are many others who are not so willing to put our racist history to bed.
The latitude that many whites accord each other in interactions is not the same they accord minorities during those same interactions. Senator Obama could in fact dissect McCain very easily with facts that are surfacing daily about the ruthlessness, incompetence, and gimmickry of the McCain campaign in the news media. But what many don’t understand is that even if he were to undress McCain publicly during the debates he could still be viewed as the loser by many of the undecided voters. We must not lose track of what this election and many elections in this country have boiled down to; about 20% of all eligible registered voters. Who can gauge the mindset of these voters? I mean think about it; anyone with all that has gone on in this country the last 8 years who has not made a decision about what direction they want this country to go in at this late date how can you expect to know what is going on in their minds. The worse thing that Senator Obama could do is to offend those voters by being seen as picking on this poor old white man who has sacrificed so much for his country. Whether you agree or disagree with this narrative it is the one that many Americans accept as the truth.
This election despite the pundits and media talking heads pronouncements to the contrary is Senator Obama’s to lose. Would we rather he win the debate and lose the election? Wouldn’t it be a better strategy to let the news media continue to pound the McCain campaign with daily charges of incompetence and collusion with lobbyist? While I agree that if it were me I would do more to tie McCain to the current economic crisis and the past policies of the Bush administration during the debates, but despite his seeming ineptitude Senator Obama is rising in the polls; all polls. Many of Senator Obama’s supporters would like to believe that he will be judged by the electorate based entirely on his character and his competency. I beg to disagree. We must not mistake our own judgments for the judgments of others. There are some voters who are looking for a reason not to vote for Obama. They will vote for him, albeit reluctantly. As we get closer to Election Day the McCain camp will become more desperate and will begin to try more and more gimmicks and take even more risks, as they do so they will make bigger mistakes. These mistakes will not only derail their campaign but hopefully will take down other Republicans in the process.
To all of those who are watching every twist and turn of this election through the media’s microscope I would just like to suggest you “GET OUT MORE”. Turn off the television or the computer and go out to dinner or go to a movie. The media is not going to let this election become a landslide even if is. Think about it if people begin to view this election as being over the public’s interest goes down and media outlets lose advertising dollars. They will continue to try and peak the public’s interest in this election until the final vote hoping to capture every advertising dollar they can get their greedy hands on. Keep tuned to the future debates and watch how Senator Obama methodically exposes McCain for the fraud that he is, but remember how Mondale tried to expose Reagan and those results.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. – Daniel Patrick Moynihan