Weren’t the vultures in South Carolina just bananas? Had you ever see them picking at the furry meat on the side of the road like that?
Or maybe you were busy.
So Teddy Kennedy tossed you to the curb. But can you imagine him actually endorsing a lady president, anyway? This just isn’t the national shocker that the chattering classes (most of whom were in elementary school in 1969 anyway) seem to think it is.
Remember when they used to tell jokes about Jews and Irishmen going into bars? No one tells those jokes anymore. In the 80’s, they were relegated to “Truly Tasteless” book collections. Now who will make jokes about (in your words) “a son of the South, an extraordinary African-American, and a woman”?
Apparently, no one. When did everyone get so serious? The reporters, the staffers, the audience, the candidates—everyone’s so uptight! Bill Clinton gets slightly huffy and everyone gasps and thinks some imaginary social contract has been torn to shreds.
Everyone’s such a wuss these days, right?
Sure, America’s going straight in the turlet, as they say down south. And yeah, you’re spending tens of millions of dollars of people’s money. Stressful! And you only agreed to get into this terrible campaign business because the numbers were there.
But now this kid. Everyone loves him! My own mother—around your age, from your state, a 60’s academic overachiever like yourself—now even she’s thinking she’ll skip right past you, for him.
People want to vote for him because it feels like a dare. It feels like a treat. It’s just so crazy, they’re thinking! And why not? Everyone’s doing it!
Voting for a woman was supposed to give that rush.
So now you’re working too hard against him. You’re sounding like the aliens in that Simpsons Halloween special, when they abducted Bob Dole and Bill Clinton: “The politics of failure have failed! We need to make them work again. Tomorrow, when you are sealed in the voting cubicle, vote for me!” Kinda nutso. Because when you campaign too hard, you get tense, and then spread thin. You go over the top. You brought every black person you’d ever met to South Carolina! That was crazy! And kind of awkward.
(It was even slightly more weird than when Barack Obama suddenly produced Usher Raymond, Kerry Washington and Chris Tucker at South Carolina State University last week—in an event so misplayed that it got almost no press coverage, even though they were the only celebrities in the state. Perhaps it was because, in the back of the room, Obama’s guy David Axelrod was busy whispering in the ears of the press during most of the event.)
But he’s not really all that—as you keep pointing out, which is the worst possible thing you could do. Voters like to figure those things out for themselves. They don’t like to be told.