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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Say it ain't so, Joe

It's not often a presidential debate is aimed at winning the opinion of one voter. But this is obviously no ordinary presidential campaign.

And the last time I forked over a check for a plumber, I think it was for something along the lines of $100 an hour -- enough to make me pay an "insurance" policy so I won't get hit with a $450 charge to show up and deal with an overnight emergency.

With all due respect to the hopes and aspirations of Joe the Plumber, the problems of this nation are a lot deeper than the tax status of one man who hopes to buy a business for $250,000. And they are far more serious than a discussion of when Barack Obama knew William Ayers.

But John McCain is desperate. The polls show the gap widening -- although it is likely to tighten up again in the two-plus weeks before the election. Desperation breeds risk, and risk involves trying to say the other guy started it when it came to nasty name calling.

Let's look at last night as a microcosm. I didn't hear Barack Obama call John McCain erratic. I did hear the Republican to try tie Obama to a "washed up old terrorist."

I also heard McCain claim Obama never apologized for John Lewis' remarks comparing McCain to George Wallace. He did. He certainly never said McCain "palled around" with him either.

And that was far different than McCain's "misstatement" that he never allowed untruths to pass the mouths of his supporters. While he called his rival a "decent man," I never heard the explicit rejection of a voter who declared, to McCain's face, that Obama was an "Arab."

And what does that say of McCain's opinions of Arabs?

On a day when the stock market returned to the downside of the roller coaster, we didn't need to hear Johnnie Mac change the subject.

And we really didn't need to hear that a quarter of a million purchase of a business where hourly rates are something many of us can only dream of is an attack on the middle class.

At least McCain has brought his middle class wealth threshold down from $5 million.

And thankfully my plumbing is OK for the moment, so I don't need to pay a repair bill that would knock me out of the middle class.

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