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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