‘That one…’

I still maintain what I wrote at the bottom of my very first post: this blog isn’t meant to be about politics, it’s about manners, modern life and how we mix the two. However, given the type of politics to which we are being subjected and given the fact that our manners speak volumes about how we conduct ourselves, in public and in private, I can’t ignore Senator McCain’s two word remark from the second debate.

Some are suggesting that referring to Senator Obama as ‘that one’ was a slip of the tongue; I suggest that a politician with Senator McCain’s experience doesn’t make that kind of mistake.

Referring to a person as ‘that one’ insults and dehumanises them – if this is how Senator McCain treats people with whom he is in opposition then he is a dangerous person to have as the leader of a nation. Senator McCain is fond of pointing out that Senator Obama would sit down with the leaders of potentially hostile nations without pre-conditions. More worrying, in my view, is that based on past behaviour and the unshielded contempt he showed for his opponent, Senator McCain wouldn’t sit down with them at all.

A man I greatly admired once said that ‘diplomacy is the art of letting the other guy have your way’. A clever, cunning and accurate description if ever there was one, but you can’t achieve that if you can’t at least mask your disdain and refrain from insulting the other person or group.

Manners not only matter but they tell us a great deal about the person behind them and how that person may behave in the future. Given his past behaviour I’m fairly confident that I don’t want to see what a McCain future holds.

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2 Responses to “‘That one…’”


  1. 1 AFR October 13, 2008 at 1:55 am

    Your analysis is pithy and more on point than thousands of words of comment already offered about this topic. I think your take is spot on – little things really can mean a lot. In fact, they are often much more revealing than the grand gesture.


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