Palin's Dominance Dooms McCain
The distinguished professor falls for a carnival headliner.
From The Blue Angel -- "the downfall of an enamored man" Image
The Morning After the Party's Over
(Wash. DC) Senator John McCain can't live without Sarah Palin but he can't live with her either, at least not much longer.
McCain is much like Professor Rath in "The Blue Angel." He's infatuated with someone much younger and he has joined the carnival just to be near her. The Palin act travels from one town to the next attracting crowds of Bush-Cheney dead enders. She steps forward, with the confidence of a high school cheerleader while the full professor of perverse politics looks on with admiration and affection.
At the start of his campaign, he was unable to draw a crowd or deliver a speech that just about anyone found the least bit engaging. In early side by side coverage of a same day event, CNN showed Obama hitting one out of the park and McCain struggling to engage 200 onlookers.
The net effect of the Palin addition is in dispute. If you're part of the Republican media shill brigade, it's been terrific, a brilliant choice. Looking at it objectively, there's been little impact on the ticket, unless you buy into the Gallup Poll that showed what looked like a McCain convention bounce. To "stand up" the bounce, Gallup simply added more Republicans to their sample, driving up McCain's numbers. But if you're candidate John McCain, you're locked and loaded, exhilarated, and infused vicariously by your vision of Palin's draw.
McCain was a man of special privilege. Despite his mild admonition for participating in the last financial meltdown due to his acceptance of gifts from savings and loan failure Charles Keating, McCain has been a press darling. He's provided good box office for sound bites on a variety of issues. For a short time, he went against the grain of right wing madness. In his Norfolk, Virginia speech announcing his 2000 candidacy for president, he took on the worst elements of U.S. politics.
McCain also pulled off one of the great pieces of modern street theater, also in the 2000 primaries. He stood before the Russian embassy and castigated the New York Republican Party for taking his name off the primary ballot on a technicality. He was quickly restored to the ballot.
But time and the nonstop coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign began to wear on his patience. The press had actually criticized him, very lightly and not too often. He was not pleased.
Then he got Palin. Despite the array of initial criticism and the ongoing attacks on her character and political deviance, she's shown that she can draw a crowd. McCain was infatuated. He followed her just about everywhere and continues to do so.
To a crowd of 7,000 people in Lancaster, PA, McCain said, ""With the help of this running mate, this stalwart and great American, we will always put our country first." Sept. 9, 2008