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Election '08: Contempt

BY MARC COOPER

What a shriveled tiny man John McCain turns out to be. And I don't mean physically.

I mean his soul.

Chris Matthews characterized McCain on MSNBC as a "troll" who was "angry at the world."

No kidding.

I am not the first to have noticed that in the first presidential debate, John McCain oozed contempt as he refused to as much as once even look at his opponent. And when Obama would differ with him on any issue of urgent seriousness, McCain would crack a condescending smile, a painful grimace as if someone was stuffing Freddie Mac up his arse.

There's plenty of spin out there so I'll keep it very, very short:

It was a disappointingly boring, undramatic debate at a moment of great national drama.

Obama made a calculated decision to remain cool, steady, but firm -- responding to McCain's jabs -- but purposefully pulling back any Sunday punches.

No question that in the mind of any objective observer that Obama -- at a bare minimum -- held his own against this supposed foreign policy titan (sic) of McCain.

In fact, he did better.

McCain rambled, drifted off point, came off several times as petty and mean, and -- certain as a clock -- made sure to make self-pitying mention of his stint as a POW. That and, of course, that he really, really loves all men, and women, in uniform and will personally take care of them. Even if he keeps them stationed in the slaughterhouse of Iraq.

Obama missed a golden opportunity not to get ugly with McCain but rather to show some real indignation about the economy and hang that around his rival's Republican neck. He was far too measured on that subject.

On the other hand, Obama was more focused than in any previous debate. And less professorial (heavens, we wouldn't want an actual intellectual to be Prezdent of the You-Ess).

Obama gets a win on points.

Rematch!