Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten nonsense –
This election does not come gently tapping, rapping at my chamber door. The campaigns charge into my chamber, into my life – and hang around. When we vote on November 4 we will cross the threshold of a new life. For those other than real political junkies, the election process is tiresome. Many want the candidates to state their position and then we will vote – up or down – go or no go. If it were but that simple…
These Presidential elections are processes. They are not a singular events. These are some of the most important decisions Americans will ever decide. These decisions require a process of learning, of understanding, of absorbing the candidates into our persona. The process is done in real time – there are no time outs. World events are shot at the candidates from old brass canons. The candidates must duck and weave, they must respond.
The war in Iraq is not put on hold until the election is over. The events on the ground in the war-ravaged middle east dictate response from Presidential hopefuls. The surge worked – the surge failed. The surge is a qualified success – thus it is also a qualified failure.
We watch. We want to see how our candidates respond to a changing political climate. We cannot predict events of the future – so it is imperative that we understand how these candidates respond to crisis. This takes time – time to process.
The process is revealing. Eighteen moths ago this writer supported McCain as the GOP nominee and Clinton as the Democratic nominee. These were the favored horses in the race. But this race is not a sprint – it is more of a marathon – a process. Along the way we learned more about the field of hopefuls. McCain gained strength in our opinion, Clinton faltered – unable to respond quickly to changing events. A Dark Horse Obama surged on a fresh message and eloquent presentation.
Again we realize the value of process. As Obama and McCain emerge from the pack they have to develop closing strategies. The most telling is in their choice of a Vice Presidential partner. Obama, the charming intellectual, must show strength – he chooses a thirty year member of the United States Senate – Joe Biden. The voters surged forward to Obama. McCain, the experienced senior, needing vibrancy and enthusiasm – chooses little known but charming Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. The voters surged back to McCain.
The race enters the last lap. But more surprises are in store. Palin charges out of the gate but stumbles on the first turn – tripped up by media interviews. The manager of the GOP stables, Bush, is found drunk in a corral – and the economy falters. The polls shift to Obama. McCain must respond to a stumbling running mate, counter the drunken economy, and minimize the surging pollsters.
Obama maintains a steady gait, holding to a strategy of calm deliberation – managing his process. The voters lining the route to the White House engage the contestants. Some throw rocks at Obama, and McCain smiles.
Palin shouts, “More Rocks! More Rocks!”
Biden protests to the media referees, “They are throwing rocks!” But he knows that all political marathons have rocks.
The voters are dismayed, weak and weary – too many rocks. Throwing rocks at the opponent does not catch Bin Laden, or save the economy, or bring confidence to the voters. We might have had a great debate on solutions to problems – but we are weak and weary from ducking rocks.
It is almost midnight. John McCain is looking for a really big rock. Obama is watchful, knowing the old warrior will try to knock him out of the lead. Had McCain maintained his independent persona he might have pulled this off – but he lost his faith, he succumbed to fear, he turned to the Dark Arts of Rovian Politics.
Flying monkeys make us weak and weary. But that is the nature of process.