Back in 2004, I saw an hour-long program on C-SPAN2 of someone interviewing Daily Show host John Stewart. The interview focused primarily on Mr. Stewart's thoughts on that year's election campaign, and one statement he made impressed me enough that I remember the substance of it even now. He was asked if he could ask President Bush one question, what would it be.
His response: You have many individuals who support you fervently and with great passion. I don't understand it; and I want to understand. What am I not getting?
I am not a big fan of any candidate this year. But there is one candidate who is lauded and praised and hyped to a degree that is unparalleled according to my memory. Hagiographic may be the appropriate term, although - according to one ad from the other candidate's campaign - we may have skipped canonization and lept to apotheosis.
And I do not get it.
People tell me (with some frequency) that this candidate is just the most fantabulous speaker of modern times. But as my creative writing professor just as frequently warned: show, don't tell. I watched every debate save one (I think). I didn't see it or hear it or experience the light that dawns on the elect. I've also watched and listened to too many election-related speech exerpts and appearances from this year's campaign to have magically missed the epiphany.
What am I not getting? I am told Progress, I am told Change, I am told Hope. I am told that a totally new and different species of politician has stepped up upon the centuries-old planks of the presidential stage. And I don't get it.
Will someone tell me what it is I am missing?
Below I have included an exerpt from an article that currently appears on CNN.com. This is not a smoking gun, this is not a haha, gotcha! type thing. I include it here because it simply illustrates in a benign, meaningless way what I am getting: a politician who looks and who acts and who quacks just like every other politician. For fun, I have appended a few short musings to the end of the exerpt. Enjoy.
OBAMA SAYS MCCAIN RACE CARD ATTACK 'TYPICAL'
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama responded Friday to recent race card attacks by Sen. John McCain, saying it's a "typical pattern" for the Arizona senator's campaign.
"I was in Union, Missouri, which is 98 percent white -- a rural, conservative [city]. And what I said was what I think everybody knows, which is that I don't look like I came out of central casting when it comes to presidential candidates," he said in an interview with Florida's St. Petersburg Times newspaper and Bay News 9.
"There was nobody there who thought at all that I was trying to inject race in this," he said. "What this has become, I think, is a typical pattern from the McCain campaign, whether it's Paris Hilton or Britney or this phony allegation that I wouldn't visit troops..."
First question, serious: Has the McCain campaign really been hounding Britney Spears or Paris Hilton?
(Aside: It irks me when people call her just "Britney." It sounds gossipy and familiar, like how a hairdresser might say it. I don't want a president to do that. Please stop.)
Second question, semi-serious, regarding central casting: If the comment wasn't about race, was he referring to his ears?