Sagamore Hill, Oyster Bay – Home of John McCain’s hero, Teddy Roosevelt

Contrary to popular opinion, John McCain does not need to score a so-called knockout tonight. He simply needs to be on message, and passionately so: Barack Obama is an unqualified tax-and-spender, who has displayed incredibly bad judgment in his associations, which range from the hard left to the corrupt. He has no experience in foreign policy and zero credibility as Commander-In-Chief. And the Democratic Party is up to its eyeballs in responsibility for the Fannie/Freddie meltdown.

The debate takes place at Hofstra University. located in Hempstead, Long Island. Hofstra is a quality local school. It has a disproportionately large population of commuting students, many of whom work, and are thus more connected to the real world than the scions of the elites at the Ivy League schools.

I grew up on Long Island, and visit every year. It has a gorgeous endowment of coastlines, from the bays and inlets of its northern shore fronting Long Island Sound to its superb beaches on its South Shore where the Atlantic rules. The North Shore contains the fabled Gold Coast, a land of estates and old money, plus aspiring new money. It is the setting of the classic novel “The Great Gatsby”. John McCain’s hero, Teddy Roosevelt, hailed from Oyster Bay on the North Shore, and if you are ever there, visit the Sagamore Hill National Historic Park. It’s a wonderful place to visit, and take your kids.

Long Island’s political complexion is changing. When I grew up, the congressional districts encompassing Nassau and Suffolk counties were dominated by middle-of-the-road Republicans. Local government in Nassau County was a GOP stronghold, and the Republicans had a real life political patronage machine there.

Human nature being what it is, the GOP machine became enmeshed in corruption, and the voters cleaned house. Democrats have become increasingly successful in local and Congressional races. The GOP is increasingly perceived as too Southern and too evangelical. Jews are a reliably Democratic voting block, while Catholics are the swing vote.

The Island is prettily suburban, but drowning in traffic. Being an island, the only way off is by bridge or ferry. Taking one of the bridges – Whitestone, Throgs Neck, George Washington, Verazzano- requires a very hefty toll. The Long Island Railroad is pretty much a necessity for people working in The City, as Manhattan is always called. .

I don’t know who the winner of the debate will be, but the losers will surely be the attendees stuck in this evening’s gigantic traffic jam on Hempstead Turnpike and Meadowbrook Parkway!

Cross posted from The Minority Report

You are welcome to visit the TMR Live Blog