A Most Peculiar Man

Senator John McCain accepted the Republican party’s nomination this evening, delivering a speech almost entirely out of place among Republicans for its near total lack of pettiness and hate and its expressing actual humility, making all of us wonder, once again, which side might ultimately receive the inevitable “pay-back” that will be the defining sentiment of any potential John McCain Administration should such come to pass.
Governor Palin’s speech last night, written as it was by Rove’s political team for any generic vice-presidential candidate, contained the usual red-meat falsehoods, hatred and incoherence we’ve come to expect from Republicans of the kind who mocked purple-heart winners with purple-heart band-aids at their New York based convention in 2004. Naturally, that sort of pettiness, hatefulness and incoherence… not to mention an amzing number of outright lies… is precisely what the overwhelmingly old, White, male, and I’m guessing, rich, crowd of Republican delegates wanted to hear. She was duly rewarded with ecstatic applause and overwhelming adulation.
While not at Obama’s level of almost other-worldly-at-times rhetorical brilliance, McCain’s speech appeared to be straightforward, from the heart, and reminded me of why he is the kind of decent, principled man who I have always admired (and still do, though I will not, of course, vote for him). Naturally, the crowd was polite, but hardly enthusiastic in its light clapping (and occasional incoherent chants of “U S A!”) McCain made a reference to “some Republicans giving into corruption” and blaming Obama for passing a corporate welfare bill for oil companies! Even as McCain touted freaking offshore drilling! Amazing… but, of course, Jack Abramoff was sentenced to four years imprisonment today.) McCain, of course, powerfully told of his own 5 1/2 years as an abused prisoner of war in Hanoi in a humble way that no one could question.
The cynic in me, of course, says that while Palin speaks to the base, McCain, with his pitch to his old bi-partisan efforts at reform, is pitching to independents and crossover Democrats– precisely the people Palin’s speech was designed to piss off. Don’t know: McCain has always been someone who is better than the rest of his party, but has had to lower himself in order to secure its nomination… and having so sold out (just as he sold out on the ultimate core value of civilized human beings, torture) really isn’t to be trusted. Well, who knows? [Of course, given McCain’s age and health, we’re probably talking about “President Sarah Palin” somewhere along the line… may as well admit it.]
Fortunately, we have a once-in-a-lifetime candidate in Barack Obama on our side who isn’t tainted with having had to be part of the ruling party against whom McCain now seems to be running… and won’t continue insane fiscal policies or hopefully our absurd foreign policy. But then, the Republicans may well still have a once in a lifetime candidate on their side as well, seemingly running against his own party, though in many ways, McCain reminds me of Bob “tax collector for the welfare state” Dole, another decent man and war hero whose own party never really got enthusiastically behind!
Oh well. The best election campaign ever (certainly that I’m aware of) just keeps rolling… and rolling! And we have two full months to go!!!