More thoughts on last night’s US election:
For all the progress that was made last night, American “morality” politics still has some issues to work out. As happy as I am that Massachusetts voters approved a ban on greyhound racing, I’m appalled that California — California — voted to ban gay marriage. So did Arizona and Florida, but California comes as a surprise. On the plus side, this should help Canadian tourism. Attention gay American couples: your dollar will buy your wedding about 16.7% more fabulous up here. And hey, you might even be able to get Joey to play the accordion at your ceremony.
Last night, during John McCain’s gracious and eloquent concession speech, I remarked to my wife that the real John McCain showed up the second he knew he could no longer win. It’s bothered us both that McCain stooped to such pandering and self-mutilation in an attempt to win, and we clearly weren’t the only ones. Chris Jones has been writing in Esquire about the McCain campaign for some time, and today had this to say:
The future unfolded exactly as they envisioned it that night. Optimism won.
But something was lost in New Hampshire, too. That was the last time I saw McCain the way I first saw him. By the time Super Tuesday rolled around, he had grown smaller and smaller — not just in my viewfinder, but in my estimation. He had traded optimism for cynicism. He was irritable and sometimes seemed grasping, as though he would do whatever it took to win. John McCain, the politician, seemed to be on the verge of outflanking John McCain, the man.
Then he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. I’d like to think someone else picked her for him, but how’s that the better option? She represented everything wrong with the Republican Party — the same intolerant elements that McCain had fought so hard against years earlier — and now there she was, smiling on the stage beside him. Historians will no doubt cite the collapsing economy and the legacy of George W. Bush as impossible obstacles for McCain to overcome. But for me, he lost the election when he picked Palin, because he lost the last vestige of his former self.
By Election Night, I’d given up trying to find what was left of him.
I couldn’t help remembering how this all started, and most of all I couldn’t help remembering the John McCain I used to know. I wondered how long it would take him to shed the candidate’s skin and become the man he was. I wondered if it was even possible in the time he has left.
I hope it is. I hope this story has an epilogue.
Me too. The old John McCain is a lot more valuable to his country than this recent incarnation.