Between the plumber heralding an Obama victory as “the death of Israel,” and the twit of a talk show hostess prattling on about the evils of Socialism, the Straight Talk Express has morphed into some sort of GOP clown car, with one geek after another piling out of it. Yet, instead of doing a silly walk and dousing the audience with squirting lapel flowers, they’re striding up to the podium and addressing the multitudes on the problems plaguing our country.
And then there’s the running mate, whose voice now resembles that shrieking eagle during the titles of The Colbert Report, and who has, despite all efforts, proven herself to be little more than a political and intellectual arriviste, trying to shuck, wink, and jive her way to the second most powerful job in the world.
And who’s the ringmaster? Johnny Mac, my friends. A guy so lost he couldn’t find his ass if Pennsylvania’s 23 electoral votes were hiding in it. A guy so desperate for a message, he’s been reduced to sticking his finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. And try as he might to blame the liberal media, the fault lies with the man himself for getting bedazzled by Karl Rove, and for flailing about at a time of crisis, while Barack Obama remained cool, collected, and consistent. A leader. The leader McCain touts himself to be. But if his behavior during this campaign is any indication, John McCain, to borrow a phrase, couldn’t lead an army of ants to a melting Hershey Bar.
But the saddest thing of all is that, despite their erratic and incompetent campaign, if it were not for the economic crisis, McCain might still be riding his post-convention, Maverick bump, possibly on his way to victory. It took an economic meltdown, along with his incompetent response, to get it through the heads of the thick-minded public that perhaps these Republicans might not have their best interests at heart. It’s true that you can fool enough of them enough of the time. Wave a few flags, put the fear of God into them over Stalin and Lenin moving next door and setting up a gay household, and most often they’ll give you their vote.
But perhaps this one time we’ve seen a reverse shock doctrine, where a catastrophe caused people not to suspend reason, but to finally employ it. Eight years of disastrous Republican rule couldn’t do it. A miscreant of a war. Katrina. A litany of scandals. They still wouldn’t budge in large enough numbers. But pick their pockets, kick them out of their homes, and bankrupt their 401ks and then you’ve got trouble. Then you’ve got a public that might start to think enough to turn a few red states blue. It may just be a sad fact of American life that perhaps the only thing that can trump American stupidity and gullibility is good old American self-interest.