Sunday, August 31, 2008

This Way to the Magnificent Egress

Quite a week.

Nothing will ever match, I don't think, the 24 hours that included both Obama's acceptance speech, and the announcement of McCain's running mate for the sheer, stark, black-and-white contrast between these two men and these two campaigns.

To put it too simply, it's Hope vs. Cynicism. It's a man in the prime of his life offering a true vision for where he wants the country to go vs. a desperate old fart trying to do whatever he can to win an election; it's experience (experience in thinking seriously about important matters) vs. judgment (bad judgment, if you are thinking about the realities of the the world and the little matter of governing; possibly brilliant judgment if you are thinking strictly politically); it's ambition on behalf of the country vs. ambition on behalf of the self... I am not sure I would go so far as it call it Good vs. Evil, but man, it's pretty darn close.

History, of course, will be the final judge -- or at least November 4 will be. Typically (for me), I find myself thinking this is one cynical gamble that is all too likely to succeed. Governor Palin is extremely appealing; her story is a great one; the underdog who makes good is a rich tradition, at least in show business ('Kid, you're going out there the wife of an Eskimo, but you've got to come back a star!'); and it has helped The Old Coot most seriously in the two most important things he needed to do in this election: namely, nailing down the Conservative vote (you know, the people who believe in the teaching of creationism in schools and don't mind their VP candidate being against all forms of contraception, even for married couples -- is it 1921?!) and, maybe just as important, distancing himself (or appearing to) from George W.

McCain likes to joke (mistakenly) that he has as many scars as Frankenstein (any third grader could correct him by pointing out Dr. Frankenstein had few scars that we know of; it's his monster that was disfigured), but in any event, it's a bolt of lightning that may well invigorate his whole cynical campaign.

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