“That One”

John McCain had his “macaca” moment in last night’s debate. “Macaca” was the derogatory word used by then Republican Sen. George Allen of Virginia — and, rightly so, it cost him re-election in 2006. McCain, off the cuff. referred to Barack Obama as “that one.” One’s first impression after hearing that was “That one … what?” Since people introducing McCain and Palin at campaign stumps make sure they say Barack Hussein Obama, maybe it won’t be long before they start referring to him as “Barack Macaca.”

McCain’s campaign has gone south faster than Sherman on Atlanta ever since the GOP candidate uttered his sentence of mass destruction: “the fundamentals of the economy are strong.” It was equivalent to Dukakis in a tank or Daddy Bush out of touch scanning groceries at a Ralphs. Should McCain lose, pundits will zero in on that whopper of a statement as the turning point in the campaign.

McCain’s latest poor choice of words — “that one” — may not carry as much weight on his shoulders because it can be seen as a hint of racism — and everyone has to tread lightly when that subject rears its ugly head. McCain is not a racist — but that phrase was condescending and dissmissive because he can’t control his disdain for Obama. Both men deserve the same respect because they are senators and share the same goal of becoming the next leader of the free world. McCain’s Straight-Talk Express is on a road less traveled for a man of his stature. The John McCain of 2000 would recognize the dangerous path he’s on now and avoid the hazards.

McCain is angry and desperate because he knows he’s a victim of a fact that bristles with irony: He believes it’s his turn to be president. But it’s Obama’s time.

Make no mistake, this election is far from over — there might be a crisis waiting in the wings that could dwarf the economic mess we’re in now. And it could swing the pendulum back in McCain’s wheelhouse.

John McCaincan’t stop sacrificing himself for America. He suspends his campaign to parachute into the Senate to save the economy. By putting himself first, he seriously believes he’sputting country first. He says his opponent is un-American and pals around with homegrownterrorists. That kind of campaign is well below John McCain’s pay-grade. John McCain is an honorable man. But so too was Brutus — if you believe your Shakespeare. Still, McCain would rip out his own heart before he’d betray his country. Too bad he thinks nothing of selling his soul to win an election and, in the process, betraying himself.

The campaign is not going the way McCain would have it. His frustration in last night’s debate was apparent. The debate itself was lackluster — neither candidate was as courageous as they were cautious. The debate needed some oomph. Music maybe. Sinatra tunes would’ve certainly offered some ring-a-ding-ding. Obama’s Sinatra song would’ve been “Nice and Easy” — Obama again was cool, calm and collected. No doubt what McCain’s song from Ol’ Blue Eye’s repertoire would’ve been — “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” Obama clearly gets under McCain’s skin — and the GOP standard-bearer looked uncomfortable as he roamed around the stage with that menacing look on his face. He looked like a buzzard circling a carcass — which might be a metaphor for his campaign.

Like Sinatra, McCain can say the words “I’ve lived a life that’s full” and not be second-guessed. Come election day, he’s counting on the fact that a majority of voters won’t go into the booths, look at the lever next to his name and decide they can’t pull “that one.”

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