Props to John McCain. In a mystifying twist since he picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate, he made everyone forget about the skinny upstart from Chicago who used to fill the stadiums and owned the weekly newsmagazine covers. This speaks volumes for the Republican imagemaking and message control, but very poorly for the American people who are devouring this tainted stew. In no universe–parallel, bizarro, or otherwise–is this woman sane or the woman any sane American would want a suspiciously feeble heartbeat away from the Presidency Of The United States.
Yet here we are. The polls are tied or show Senator John McCain slightly ahead, with a 20-point shift to McCain-Palin among white women (an apparent triumph for what many, including me, said was the naked cynicism of the choice–it’s like appointing Britney Spears as President of NOW). Barack Obama’s blockbuster nomination speech–not even two weeks old–is as vaguely recalled in the American Consciousness as Hello, Larry and my liberal nephews are gushing through their erections about the MILF who just nabbed the GOP VP nomination.
These are dark days in the Obama-Biden campaign. The Illinois wunderkind is apprehending with every passing news cycle that good looks, rock-star charisma, legions of fawning admirers, and $1.75 in your pocket will get you a seat on the #73 crosstown bus, and nothing more. Once again, the Republican Spin Machine that started with Richard Nixon and his demonic Sancho Panza, Pat Buchanan, and their knuckle man, Spiro Agnew, started with their Southern Strategy in 1968. You read about the Nigerian email deception, and you can’t imagine that in 2008 someone would still fall for it, but people at their core always want to get rich, and once again, the Republicans are in the process of getting the American people to give up their bank account number.
Barack Obama, meanwhile, looks like the man who gave $10 to the desperate wretch begging to buy a sandwich to feed his pregnant wife, and then is crestfallen to see him using his $10 to buy a pack of cigarettes and two 40s of Mickey’s.
Indeed, by the massive and adoring crowds alone that he’s drawn along the trail, he’s understandably incredulous that he isn’t addressing his throngs with one boot on John McCain’s next and a lead in the polls that couldn’t be any bigger if he were running against a surviving Manson Family member.
The Senator appeared on Countdown With Keith Olbermann tonight, and looked utterly deflated. He’s clearly been trying to find some anger out on the stump over the last few days, but he wasn’t finding it on Countdown. If it were a halftime speech, the players would already be convinced they lost and be texting their weed dealers for a hookup after the game.
This isn’t how we get international airports named after us, Senator.
From a strategic standpoint, it’s probably better for the Obama campaign that this happens now, if it has to happen at all. He has time to recalibrate, and there’s still plenty of time for the bewildering sheen to wear off the McCain-Palin ticket, especially with the never-ending avalanche of new Palin revelations that are ruling the headlines and news shows daily. Unless, of course, by mere dint of its overwhelming nature, no one has time to focus on any singular transgression before it’s supplanted by a new outrage in the next morning’s news cycle.
And the other, darker possibility is that people will continue to not care. As H.L. Mencken said, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.” Americans have done dumber things than elect a McCain-Palin ticket. Nothing comes immediately to mind, but I’m almost certain they have.