Long hot night in Texas.
Debates on university campuses often exude the kind of naive, romantic optimism of student politics and to that end Obama should be a knight in shining armor to these people.
For sure when he strode onto the stage with his giant gait the crowd greeted the new king. A giant applause for a giant man who looked humble and considerate but not practiced. It feels like his feathers are tucked behind his back and one day he may rise phoenix like and say 'Lo Amreica I have come unto the with burning vengence to lead you from the mistakes of history and into the new Obama dawn', this however did not happen and the camera instead panned to Hillary.
First impressions. She was dressed like an officer of the imperial death star with sharp black suit and gold piping on the collars. Her aim was true and you know she wanted to take aim at princess Obamas next possible victory home world of Texas and strike it down with her fully operational death star. The rebellion would be crushed and the empire seeded a major victory over the rebels if this occured. But what of Obama and the new giant killing machine he has erected? His mangonels and catapults stayed silent and his drums of war beat only a few times, he needed to stay above the fray, flying on the wings of the golden eagle of national promise, only to look down and rain bird shit on Hillary as she took pot shots above.
PULL! Shouted the commentator and the first set of introductions left the trap.
Clinton acted like a rockstar, Marilyn Manson suit ahoy she screamed into the microphone, dropping in famous Texans repeatedly that she knew. The anvil clang of her local name dropping was so loud it even awoke Obama who may, once again have been eating fist fulls of sedatives before the debate. If that wacked out crazy hope driven man doesnt eat downers for 48 hours before appearing on TV he would probably turn into a catherine wheel and burn the stage to pieces with the fiery white light of hope and change sparks.
Obama introduced himself in a way that was again below radar, I think he wants to avoid McCains problem of no longer being the underdog and turning into the succesful candidate because well, you cant fight an insurgency if you're an occupying force and everyone loves the underdog. Talking of insurgencys Iraq blew itself to the top of the agenda and the commentators, to their credit, asked some smart questions on the democratic party line. It was a salem witch trial for the democratic party rather than the candidates as the magicians have pulled a victory out of the hat in Iraq, the violence is down down down like wall street shares and the refugees are returning in greater numbers just as more homes are violently seized by crazed sherriffs and bailiff officers in scream county poorville USA.
Bad mortgage deals aside Obama fielded the Iraq one well, 'The fucking republicans are crying victory and the anti-war stance is weak kung-fu now, what do you say to that Mr.Hope man?' hissed the commentator, shoving an electrified microphone into Obamas forehead. Obama responded by drawing the tactical and strategic line, winning a tactical victory by having more troops and ceeding a strategic mass blunder by getting no progress form the Iraqi government. Good save, by definition and with some substance. It aint beef but its close enough for sandwiches.
Clinton was again forced to agree. Where was the damned delicattessen spread here people? The biggest problems on Cuba, immigration, border fences, and even the economy drew no different colour blood from either candidate. There were degrees of scale here but no fucking earthquakes.
I sat with a heavy heart wanting to see Obama run the mile in under a minute but he didn't. Then, just as Hillary dropped another name so heavily I needed an aspirin it hit me. Obama is playing the smart card.
See the people love the travelling cart, the miracle medicines of the man on the road who brings his toads in a jar and cures your warts. Deception it may be, but love it certainly is. When there are no differences in policy the differnce is personality and who do you prefer? The giant man who talks of hope and reconcilliation, or the imperial guard who spits rhetoric about plagarism?
When Clinton slips, she goes down hard. Actually managing to get a boo from democrats in a democratic conference as the wife of the most succesfull democratic president, is a hard call. She paid off the bookies though and got the fuckers to boo. No stocks and tomatoes but if this was Edwardian times she would have been burned for that moment and the inquisition moved on.
When she said Obama was 'change you can xerox' on his campaign it felt cheaper than a 99p store closing down sale and it hit low, but it didnt land. Obama, gently shook his head as if to dismiss this impudent and 'silly politics'. The crowd hissed and CNN ratings tracker saw Clinton drop as she spoke. How do they measure those damned things in real time anyway? Do we have electrodes on democratic monkies that nod or scream when something is said and the data is fed into THE MACHINE as it goes? Or does some ass lord PR guru man person just punch numbers on a keyboard while drinking a slushy and go by the clap-o-meter?
It mattered not as Clinton rallied at the very end when asked her most challenging moment. She spoke about war families and her religion pushing her to give opportunity like a barefoot monk leading the childrens crusade on the power of sunshine, religion plays well in Texas, democrat or no and the crowd gave her her clap-o-meter, the chimps responded via electrodes and her fucking ratings humped the hill.
Other, actual journalists, might have put it rightly when they opined that Clinton might have nudged the debate, but it was a close call. And that Clinton needed a great night, and Obama needed an ok one. They both got an ok time. Clintons huge overbite reared its ugly head once and I was immediately gripped by the fear she would simply decapitate Obama on stage with her extended upper mandible and hold his bleeding head up to the camera as the people screamed and fled the auditorium. Why hadn't the secret service thought of this? Who a sin charge here? How can the pretorian let it happen, unless it was Dallas and an open topped car and an unsecured window all over again. Hope gets you dead in the US of Democracy it might seem. I could see the headlines and feel the gore. When I opened my eyes the matrix had restored order and this had not happened, but if I see the black cat twice I know in my heart Obama is dead.
Obamas myth is larger than his reality and he did put it best when he said 'I think people want to have hope in politics again' guttdamn my friend but that hope card is played out like a tired fake ace in a bad gambling den. Still, it works every time.
Obama simply must take this state, if he doesnt then this fat and tired race is going to go the way of Rocky and push 15 rounds all the way to the democratic conference. Has Obama peaked in the middle or is Hillary resurgent? No. Obama is a giant killer and he knows he must remain not 'too far in front' so that his policy sameitude and hers can become a battle of personality, then the insincere smile and twin set of pearls Hillary has will become weapons of war, the battlefield will move to the hand gestures and presence and Obama will set fire in a ball of screaming humanity to Hilarys hindenburg.
Scream all you want but this fucking ride is going faster.