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Last Great Debate

As the Last Great Presidential Debate echoes across America this evening, Obama yard signs outnumber Romney signs in our neighborhood 15-1.  But Halloween decorations outnumber Obama signs 20-1.  The mendacity of hope survives.The Halloween after 9/11, there were no goulish zombies out on our block, no tombstones, no spray-on cobwebs, no trick-or-treaters at all.  Parents were terrified, kids bumfuzzled.  Our street was deserted.  A few families got together and hosted quiet parties in their basements, which had become hidey-holes for what was left of our national self-confidence.

It was a sad time. Our own children had arced out of the nest and our second set of grandchildren was not yet in evidence.  We depended on Halloween to fend off winter and catch us up on the fecundity of our neighbors .  The trick-or-treaters didn’t fully return until 2008, two weeks before Barack Obama was elected the first African-American President in our history. I knew we were coming back when we even gave out of gluten-free Snickers.

Since then, our community participation in All Hallow’s Eve has increased exponentially, even in as we faced high unemployment, low family incomes, and Big Muddies in Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, and coming soon, Saudi Arabia.

My own take on all this is that Americans either draw from a bottomless well of optimism, or they just want to be lied to, hence new polls showing Romney may win the Presidency.  (I know about these things: I once had a dog who continually peed on his own leg.)

Whatever, evidence is mounting that moms and dads are defying the cynics by spending more than ever on Halloween, creating bubbles in the costume, display and sugar industries.  This is in turn is helping drive a steady, albeit slow economic recovery, which is putting a few bucks back into the pockets of consumers, and that favors Obama.

This morning, I realized our politicians are also helping drive this spooky recovery.  There on the front page of the New York Times was a full-color photo of Mitt Romney and his staff on the beach in Boca Raton, debuting their costumes for tonight’s debate.  They are obviously coming as Jason and the Alabaster Argonuts (four young, white male warriors; four young white women warriors).

So far, the Obama camp hasn’t put out a press release, but from the still photos put out from Camp David this weekend, my guess is that the President is coming as a Koala bear wearing FDR glasses.

The people working the spin room after the debate will be more predictable, led by Joe Biden as the Cheshire Cat, and Paul Ryan as Count Dracula (no special makeup required for either).

Stephanie Cutter will be a digitized, life-sized wind-up toy, LISTEN WOMEN! I AM THE WOMAN SPOKESPERSON FOR THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN.

Mika Brzezinski will be Snow White, Joe Scarborough will be all seven dwarfs.

Ann Romney will do her usual turn as Betty Crocker, Michelle Obama as Alecia Keys.

Bill and Hil will parade about as Lady and the Tramp.

John McCain, Bob Schieffer and Alan Simpson are coming as old men.

Darrell Issa is coming as himself.

Help me out. Watch the debate and the analysis and post your Costume Comments here.

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Any newspaper, newsletter, blog or individual may reprint or publish this commentary without compensating me. Just make sure it carries my byline, by Ray Abernathy, and my website address,

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