I watched the debate tonight, while puttering around making tomato sauce and starting to pack. It was a genuinely good debate, I thought, much better than the other two: John Scheiffer was an absolutely brilliant moderator. Obama had a couple disappointing moments of either being not-quite honest, or of fumbling a bit. The good news is that McCain had more, including this amazing bit which I missed the first time around. And someone already made a mashup video of angry McCain moments. I'm pretty glad about the whole thing, since McCain needed to hit it out of the park, and failed.

I think my biggest worry for the election is actually Prop 8, which would amend the state constitution to prevent gay couples from marrying. It's hard to know where to start with what's wrong with that picture, but you can see the No On 8 ads, and if you feel so moved, give them money. It's kind of a toss-up at the moment, and there's a lot of lies being spread around by the opponents, and for better or worse, things seem to be decided by how many TV ads you can run. That seems to be a fact, that you have to get your message out, and if you can make your message be honest, maybe that's not such a bad thing.

(Aside: I loathe California government. We have a legislature that's almost as useless as the world's most chaotic coalition parliaments, and this capricious rule-by-ballot-initiative replaces deliberative representative democracy with fearmongering, media-driven efforts by out-of-state organizations that lead to something akin to mob rule. I'm from Massachusetts, and I proudly acknowledge fucked-up politics to be one of America's finest spectator sports, but California is just broken. Ugh.)

(Another thought: I hope Howard Dean gets a raise. He lost the primary in 2004, but in retrospect, he would have lost the general election, and the ground he broke in his campaign has changed the world of American politics. Funding himself with small online donations, and as DNC chairman his 50-state strategy of engagement and communication has, I think, irrevocably altered the national culture. That idea that we have to actually talk to people instead of shouting at them seems tailor-made for Obama, who I still support primarily because of some of what he said in this 2006 interview. He's inexperienced, and hand-waves some of his policy initiatives, but has some important things that we need right now:

Essentially, he's everything the Republican Party isn't, and if he can be the new Democratic Party, then wow, we've got a new game going.)

I've started packing. I...still have an awful lot of stuff. I packed four boxes of books, which turns out to be about 65% of my tall bookshelf. Sigh.