In football, everyone loves a great Hail Mary pass. The drama, the audacity, a will to win so strong that a team is going to grab every last chance it has to walk away victorious without leaving a thing on the field. If they pull it off, it’s not only a tribute to their fortitude, but it’s the stuff of highlight reels for years to come.
That’s when it works, of course. When it doesn’t–as is usually the case–it doesn’t. No one gives it another thought. At least they tried.
It’s when a team starts calling it on every play that the eyebrows go up.
It was sometime in September that the McCain-Palin team passed the point where they ran out of bullets and resorted to throwing their guns at the enemy, hoping to force a concussion or put out an eye. But every morning there’s that hardscrabble determination again when someone on the campaign or within the party manages to find something–an old J-316 folding knife covered with ossified cheese and sausage grease, a suspect smoke grenade pulled out of a pond months earlier–a in a field pack that everyone thought was empty weeks ago.
I’ve been remiss in weighing over these last few weeks, but it seems like too high a bar to clear. The McCain-Palin campaign is daily doing my work for me. The candidate comes out on the day that the flaming American financial infrastructure starts dropping like WTC Two and insists, “the fundamentals of our economy are strong.” He “suspends” his campaign–while his campaign staff continues to trample the hustings and spread ad dollars like they’re using a leaf blower–and attempts to fly triumphantly into Washington, D.C. to save the day, where he hasn’t cast a Senate vote in nearly six months, and is first told to please stay out of town and let the working lawmakers fix this mess, and then to see his would-be save-the-day arrival be answered with a scuttled bailout vote.
His running mate claims foreign policy experience because she can see Russia from her state–and the only place in the state where anyone can actually see the erstwhile Evil Empire is a far-flung village that time has largely forgotten and that she’s never visited. Katie Couric catches her dumbstruck like a Mom asking her 13-year-old daughter why she found three bottles of Mike’s Hard Lemonade in her underwear drawer, when she asks her, first, what regulatory decision she can name that her would-be boss supported, what Supreme Court decision she objected to besides Roe v. Wade, and–the one that’s stumped every genius who’s ever had to endure the pressure cooker of facing a MENSA panel–”what newspapers or magazines do you read?”
Granted, as he’s said that the economy “is not something I’ve understood as well as I should,” it’s not surprising he’d rather ask the country to pass him the salt and turn the dinner conversation to something else than discuss the worst collapse in the American economy since the days when a disproportionate amount of Americans were warming themselves over burning barrels. Still, he’s standing in the middle of a burning living room insisting that it needs a different color of drapes.
As the campaign continues to collapse in upon itself, they’ve taken another dive into the bag to see if there’s anything left that they can pull out. All they’ve been able to find are the tired, dusty remains of Reverend Wright and William Ayers. In the absence of any real policy or facts, they’re limping into crunch time with the last-gasp desperation of a reunited Molly Hatchett firing up “Flirting With Disaster” to keep most of their bored 126 fans from walking out of the Esther Dundas Memorial Amphitheater at the county fairgrounds.
Unfortunately, everyone who isn’t sticking around to catch a nipple-slip from Governor Palin has already left the building.
Even the man who tried to prosecute William Ayers in 1973 said recently that he’s “amazed and outraged” at McCain-Palin’s latest attempt to tie Obama with a man alleged to have helped hatch an ill-fated terrorist conspiracy when Obama was eight. Obama met him nearly forty years later, when Ayers and his wife held a coffee for Obama at their home, and they later served on a local antipoverty charity that met four times a year. This is what the McCain-Palin campaign is selling as “palling around with terrorists.” Next time you come to class bring a pencil with some lead in it.
We’ve got a long fourth-quarter to go and anything’s possible. But if Obama grabs another fumble and takes off down the sidelines, don’t be surprised if someone on the McCain sideline loses their nut and clocks him with a Gatorade bucket as he runs past.