Thursday, July 31, 2008

some brief political notes

I've been under a deadline the past few days, and there hasn't been much time for mental (or physical) exercise. That hasn't kept me from keeping an eye on the news, however.

It was to be expected that this year's presidential campaign would be a negative one. Not even McCain's ill-wrought attempt (his use of the Goldwater-Johnson example simply served to point up the generational difference at play) to have a series of town-hall meetings was going to keep the campaign from going down the path it has. The danger for the McCain campaign of attacking Obama personally and early is clear—McCain himself would become a petulant, cranky old man. And he has. The Maverick has turned maudlin and mawkish.

From a human standpoint, McCain must be terrified at seeing his golden Moment—his Chance—so horribly derailed. He fought back and scraped his way through primaries after years of trying to become the nominee only to find what? A kid? A guy who is smart and well-liked. A guy who can speak in an idiom that McCain can't even hope to understand. How horrible must it be to stand in front of a few hundred septugenarians and misguided young Republicans applauding tepidly when your opponent-to-be is speaking to more than thirty thousand shrieking fans? How horrible must it be to be offering some (any) continuation of the sitting president's disastrous policies while your now-opponent garners nothing but praise from sitting leaders of other countries and speaks to hundreds of thousands of cheering people—while you chuckle at a television camera in a sausage haus in Columbus.

How horrible indeed. Even more horrible must be the realization that your opponent may simply be too good. That his facility with people, ideas, and language may be more facile than you can ever hope to be. Then you bring in the people (Rove and so many others) who are most adept at destroying other people, and you hope that they can weave their tragic magic one more time.

Except that maybe this time there are enough of us—and maybe we care enough—to take our country back.