In the post-debate spin, there's been a unanimous belief that Barack Obama "won" and that it wasn't a "game changer" for McCain, which he needed it to be given the fact that he is down in the polls.
But the question I want to pose for you in the blogosphere has to do with the comment that McCain made when he referred to Senator Obama as "THAT one":
Here's how it was described by a New York Times article:
In a moment that suggested Mr. McCain’s impatience with his opponent, he described the differences between the two candidates on energy policy.
“By the way, my friends, I know you grow a little weary of this back and forth: there was an energy bill on the floor of the Senate, loaded down with goodies, billions for the oil companies, and it was sponsored by Bush and Cheney,” he said. “You know who voted for it? You might never know.”
He cast his arm at Mr. Obama. “That one,” he said. “You know who voted against it? Me.”
In the MSNBC post-debate discussion, Chris Matthews and two talking heads (whom I can't recall right now) dissected the "THAT one" moment, with one politico noting how unfortunate that phrase was since McCain should have been more aware that gesturing at Obama and using this phrase in the dismissive manner that he did would hit some people the wrong way (ie: McCain is going to look like a racist, although the dreaded "R" word never came up in the politico's commentary).
Matthews and the other talking head dismissed the racial/racist overtones, and declared that his snideness was a result of his age rather than any inherent racism.
And actually, I agree. Or rather, I wouldn't be too quick to say that this particular snide instance was an example of McCain trying to be "racist." Dismissive? Yes. Condescending? Definitely. Deliberately meant to be a put down of Obama? Absolutely. A veiled racist phrase? Harder to interpret. McCain's no dummy--he's not about to use coded racial language during a televised debate in front of million of voters. This is NOT the time to start calling his opponent Barack HUSSEIN Obama (which IS in my opinion, a racist reference to Obama's Muslim heritage--so every time one of McCain's surrogates refers to Barack HUSSEIN Obama, it's really meant to remind everyone, HEY boys and girls, this guy has the same middle name as a deposed Muslim despot).
And I think it IS important to distinguish between real coded racist language versus snide remarks that could be interpreted as racist but may be an instance of just plain old condescension. Now. Let me also add this. I think it was stupid. I mean, really, stupid. Because of how easily McCain's comments CAN be interpreted as racist. And honestly, even though I don't *think* it is an instance of coded racist language, there's a part of me that really wonders...
For a pretty funny dissection of the phrase "THAT one" head over to this site, where you can also see a clip of McCain making this remark--see for yourself and weigh in on what YOU think about "THAT one."