I was reading an old Tom Clancy novel last week, and Ryan (the hero with no experience who nonetheless knows more than anyone else, and is more articulate and better dressed – why does that sound familiar?) noted that the US tried hard to lose the Cold War. A Russian colleague quipped in answer that the Soviets simply tried harder to lose. That strange stratagem seems to be in play this year in the Presidential race. John McCain is the nominee-in-waiting for the GOP, yet he holds most traditional Republican ideals in some degree of contempt. On the other hand, Barack Obama grabbed the Democratic Party nomination by running a campaign based on the old ‘Seinfeld’ show – no substance at all, but clever and good-looking. You can almost see Barack in a stand-up gig, pointing at his own Senate record and asking, “what’s up with that?” But no, actually. If there is anything we can know for sure about Obama, it’s that he will not laugh at himself. Yet it seems that the ‘inevitable’ next President of the United States (that’s familiar too, I wonder why?) has been working hard to lose the election, certainly harder than McCain has been trying of late.
I find it hard to support McCain. It’s just that Obama is much worse. I suspect that a lot of folks on the Left say almost the exact opposite. Local voter registration records indicate only a very mild increase from 2004, indicating either that 2004’s election was very important to folks here in Harris County, or – despite a massive influx of new residents in the past four years – this year’s election just is not moving the emotions. It’s almost as if the two nominees will spend these last three months not trying to collect new support, but desperately trying to keep folks from drifting off into ennui.
Look at Obama’s just-ended world tour. The media sure loved him, but Obama actually dropped in the polls, McCain gaining on Obama by not doing or saying much at all. It’s as if America wants both of these guys to sit down and shut up, and they are willing to reward the one who actually does it.