Monday, September 29, 2008

Wishful Thinking From The Grumpy Old Men...

David Broder writes:

There were no knockout blows in the first presidential debate of the fall, but John McCain outpointed Barack Obama often enough to encourage his followers that he can somehow overcome the odds and deny the Democrats the victory that has seemed to be in store for them.
Actually, the polls say otherwise and even Republican-leaning focus groups performed better for Obama than McCain.

It was a small thing, but I counted six times that Obama said that McCain was "absolutely right" about a point he had made. No McCain sentences began with a similar acknowledgment of his opponent's wisdom, even though the two agreed on Iran, Russia and the U.S. financial crisis far more than they disagreed.
And then he cut McCain with the answer. You didn't pay attention grumpy old man. You only heard what you wanted to here. "John's right..." restatement of problem, criticism of McCain's pro-Bush toadying and then a new path... You didn't hear past "John's right..."

That suggests an imbalance in the deference quotient between the younger man and the veteran senator -- an impression reinforced by Obama's frequent glances in McCain's direction and McCain's studied indifference to his rival.
Uh, no. That's not how primates work. Dominant males look at their opponent to stare them down and intimidate them. You see this in little boys on the playground before we socialize much of this behaviour out of them. He who blinks or looks away, loses. Subordinate males look away, they adopt body postures that are akimbo to their opponent while those that meet the challenger face-on must be prepared to fight.

Something that I thought every boy learned on the playground.

Look at Bill O'Reilly, there's a guy who is a master at using his primate body language to reinforce his hate-based show. He rants and raves. He points fingers. He flails his arms around. He gets right in your face. He's aggressive and doesn't hide it. These are all classic displays of an Alpha Male protecting his territory and status. Like him or not, O'Reilly is an alpha male, who functions more on a primitive, tribal-primate level instead of the more cerebral dominance of the socialized and civilized human.

Contrast that to McCain's pathetic huddled body language. That signals he's a beaten old primate and, in a fit of irony, it's mostly by Bush and the Right-Wingers. They have forced him to suffer the indignities of his loss of status by repudiating most of his political career and by prostrating himself to the people who he not only despises, but brought him down. McCain knows he's a beaten old monkey and as he huddles there, he's telling the world that he's subordinate to Obama. Not that he's the Alpha Male.

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