Sunday, September 21, 2008
Since I watch all talk TV all the time, I have heard many strange and revelatory things in the last few weeks. Chief among them, from the opposition media, is a bald faced admission, when pressed by the likes of Anderson Cooper, Chris Matthews, David Gregory, et al, that: "Do you think John Q voter is going to be interested or concerned about this kind of hair-splitting?" Of course, the hair-splitting that had just occurred, or the reason for the question, was that they had just been caught in a lie and admitted that the spin they were placing on the issue du jour was total spin or total prevarication by design.
So I was struck that they assumed no one was watching and so they could admit their lies and deceit because John Q public really didn't care what the facts were, they knew the voters were tuned in to some other (read:culture) frequency. I don't know that I agree with that assumption, altho I will confess I probably watch more talk TV than the average bear -- but maybe not, or more specifically, maybe not this time or this election. One of the benefits of "ratcheting up the base" on both sides, and I do believe both sides have accomplished that 'no mean feat,' is that voters are more attuned to nuance. And altho I despair at the protracted length modern presidential campaigns have grown to, one of the chief benefits is longer exposure to folks you aren't quite sure about. So that gives fence sitters (if indeed there are a lot of them still extant) more time to see the poseurs for what they are. Or are not.
I think in 2000 the country went along with Bush's selection because they were just bone tired of Clinton and his antics. A national shrug of the shoulders. And in our collective innocence, the nation knew not what devastation lay ahead domestically, financially or strategically. So we didn't give much thought to the kind of mettle we might need in the Oval Office. The lull that happens in a peace time economy makes us forgetful of the mental strength and vision we need at the helm when all hell breaks loose, and believe me, all hell broke loose once we had a true jackass in the White House. If ever there was a rationale for us to elect someone Jed Bartlett like, who has a natural inquisitiveness backed by years of hard won learned scholarship to their credit, THE TIME IS NOW.
Which brings me to my most surprising discovery of last night.
I was burning the 2am oil this morning trying to escape infomercials, and came upon a recent edition of AFTERwords... hosted by David Broder and featuring George Will, discussing his new book. IT WAS FASCINATING. Since Will has always been an arch conservative and I have always been his polar opposite, I never pay him much mind, altho I love reading his columns because I love to analyze his very gifted mind. Thru the course of the interview or discussion, most of which went specifically to the history of the world as it has played out over the last 2 weeks, he spoke of the next president in singular terms: Barack Obama. Every question he fielded from Broder about what the next president would need or would bring or would find once in office, was told singularly from the Barack Obama perspective.
Initially, I felt like I had awoken from some 2 month sleep, election day had already occurred, and Barack was already confirmed. And he spoke of Obama with equanimity rather than enmity or rancor, suggesting ways he might pull us out of this morass, enumerating the assets he held as a human/scholar/leader etc that would assist him as he began to lead the country. Perhaps I dreamt it, but if I indeed was conscious, at least one learned arch conservative (and probably John McCain hater) has already conceded the election to Barry. And Will seemed to have confidence in that concession.
Of course, Will also suspects that like all ultra liberal presidents before him, Barack will also usher in all manner of 'over the top' new social programs that will break the bank and tax the country back into believing in arch fiscal conservatism in due time. But he wouldn't be George Will if he believed otherwise.
But like Renee Zellwenger in Jerry Maguire, George Will had me at hello when he admitted toward the end of the interview that writing was his first love, even above baseball, which has been his passion since the age of 7. He spoke so nakedly about the act of writing and the shear "almost physical" pleasure he derives from writing, that I felt an immediate kinship with him that READING his writing has never sparked in me. Not that he isn't a classically trained and remarkably astute or even gifted writer -- those are all givens. But the confession was worth the price of admission, even at 2am EDT. At that moment, we were complicit lovers.
On to November 4th -- Barack Obama '08!