Two quick points on the debate: Obama inexplicably chose to feed the narrative that he’s smug, arrogant and condescending by repeatedly referring to McCain as “John” and by his behavior while McCain was speaking; on the split screen Obama’s expression was one of disdain and he had a tendency to interrupt and talk over McCain as McCain was trying to wrap up a point. Not necessarily in the same league with Gore’s repeated sighing, but off-putting enough. Second, at the very end Obama seemed to be going for a big finish. He talked about his father from Kenya “writing letter after letter” trying to come to college in the U.S., because in no other country on Earth could one make it like here–”our ideals and values inspired the world.” Powerful stuff. But then Obama concludes by saying ” I don’t think any of us can say that our standing in the world now, the way children around the world look at the United States, is the same. ” CLANG. He then states, reminiscent of Kerry’s “Global Test”, that we need to “show the world that we will invest in education” and “things that will allow people to live their dreams”. The Obama campaign spent months countering Michelle Obama’s ” for the first time in my life I’m proud of my country ” statement and then Obama himself suggests our ideals and values don’t inspire the world, and that we ourselves realize our values and ideals are suspect. Criticizing George Bush or any of our other political leaders is one thing. Contending America’s ideals and values are somehow suspect is a breathtaking statement for a prospective commander in chief to make, especially when thousands of Americans have given life and limb, sons and daughters, in brave demonstration of our ideals and values. In case Mr. Obama missed it, millions remain sufficiently inspired to try to come to America; our values and ideals still cause the rest of the world to look to us first whenever there’s a crisis. And we always respond. Like Obama and millions of other Americans, my father also came to America from another country. Not after writing letters trying to come to a prestigious college here, but after escaping from the death squads of the Soviet empire. Once here, he saluted the American flag every single day. And although he has since passed, I’m certain he’d marvel at our ideals and values today. He’d hold Obama’s statement in contempt. Insulting the values and ideals of America may be fashionable in the salons occupied by William Ayers and Rev. Wright. It may be a matter of course at swanky fundraisers in San Francisco attended by pampered glitterati. But it’s not something likely to fly with those who expect their president to have unwavering pride in America and the sacrifices of its best and bravest.