It is reliably reported (The Times, London) that the McCain camp is expecting a miracle, its expectations rather resembling those of a millenarianist group camping on a hillside awaiting The Second Coming. The anticipated miracle is the shotgun marriage of Sarah Palin’s pregnant 17-year old and her 18-year old redneck (his description, not mine) boyfriend (aka, in polite Republican circles, as her “fiancé”) coming just in time to save a faltering political campaign.
For those who don’t know America well, big white weddings with all the trimmings remain - despite the social and sexual upheavals of the last half century, despite wars and threats of wars - an important part of popular culture... It is by appealing to such boiled-frosting, satin-ribbon fantasies that Republicans hope to push John McCain over the campaign finish line and into the White House. The last week or two of the campaign would be ideal timing, surrounding John McCain and Sarah Palin in a fluffy, sugar-sprinkled haze. Imagine voting against the distinguished-looking old man in a tuxedo on the front pew with the beneficent countenance of a proud grandfather? Or the mother, gowned rather than in mukluks and hunting gear, eyes moist, watching “her baby” march to the alter?
Clearly, this is not matter on which an election anywhere should rest, much less in the world’s most powerful country, one staggering through war and financial crisis. Indeed, the Republican campaign, as it well deserves, has faltered on the merits. McCain is a tired old man with a sour temperament and a narcissistic personality who picked as his sidekick a person who would have reached the limits of her talent as captain of a cheerleading squad. Although certainly not the limits of her ambitions, but isn’t that what America is about, your reach exceeding your talent? [More]