In the previous thread somebody copied a comment from Babalú where it was alleged that John McCain was running for president because of "personal ambition" whereas Barack Obama was "running under the impression that he is the best man with the best ideas." Of course, Obama's impressions of himself don't concern us in the least. Is he supposed to hold a low opinion of himself or his ideas? The problem, rather, is that he holds an exalted opinion of both. Obama is not so much ambitious as presumptuous. That anyone with his credentials, or, rather, lack of credentials, should undertake to run for the presidency of the United States on the strength of being a community organizer, a protégé of Bill Ayers and a cog in the Chicago machine (precisely his qualifications for the Senate) is the ne plus ultra of presumption even by the standards of American politics.
I much prefer McCain's ambition regardless of what adjective is attached to it. Ambition is not a sin or character flaw. It is merely a desire to test one's mettle, to rise above one's circumstances and to succeed. It is not the negation of altruism but its complement. Unambitious men are altruistic to no effect. If you can't realize your own dreams then you will never be able to realize anybody else's.
I had hoped for a stronger performance by McCain and a weaker performance by Obama, but, overall, I am satisfied that McCain emerged the victor in their first debate. It sickens me to hear the Babalunians claiming that because Obama is younger and taller than McCain or supposedly better looking that these factors tipped the balance in Obama's favor during the debate. If we are going to be superficial then at least let us be honest. Would you prefer a doctor who looked like McCain or one who looked like Obama? If the race were among splinters, I think most people would pick Obama. But if you are going to entrust your country's future to somebody, I have to believe that you will be at least as careful with it as with your liver. A shallow evaluation, perhaps; but more substantial than one based on mere physical appearance.
Every man's face is a map of his life: McCain's shows the torments that he has had to endure in the course of his. Obama, who at 47 looks 23, has a face that reflects the fact his life thus far has consisted of undeserved preferment after undeserved preferment. Not because he's young but because there is nothing else to commend him except his youth -- which is the least impressive of commendations when coupled, as in his case, with inexperience -- Barack Obama declined McCain's offer of debating him not three but ten times. Why? Because it is Barack Obama who is afraid to stand on the same platform as John McCain, and for good reason.
I was going to post this last night before the debate but didn't get the chance:
It will be fun tonight. We will get to see if Barack Obama has memorized enough answers to enough questions, or whether he shall be forced to improvise an answer or two. Since he speaks in sentence fragments, and his untutored opinions have all the eloquence and spontaneity of a "man in the street" interview, Americans will get to see for themselves that they are in danger of electing an anchorman with a movable teleprompter as president. Certainly, we would all be better off if his talents (such as they are) had taken him in that direction.