Stark

If you watched the debate last night (or, like me, read transcripts, watched internet video and related articles about it today), the choice in this election has become pretty stark:

ABC News had a conservative (Gibson) and a former Clinton employee (Stephanopolis) “moderate” a debate –which they filled with questions about Rev. Wright, the flag pin, patriotism, “bitter-gate”…even Obama’s connection to William Ayers, a member of the 1970s Weather Underground (in a question, unbelievably, given to Stephanopolis by FOX news’ Sean Hannity during an interview earlier in the day). Barely any substantive issues questions at all. It was a pure hatchet-job of “gotcha” politics — exactly the sort of thing that Obama has been saying, time and time again, that we need to move past.

Obama represents a new kind of politics — issues rather than bread-and-circuses distraction. It terrifies Clinton (because that’s not a field she can compete in, being a politician of the old school, tempered in the culture wars), and it confounds the mainstream media (who have made their money by sensationalism and distraction).

Last night was a stark example of what we’re all fighting against. Hopefully, it was SO disgusting and blatant that people will respond.

(EDIT: Just saw Andrew Sullivan’s thoughts on the same topic, posted ten minutes after I posted this. Worth a read.)

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