November 5th, 2008
I’m overwhelmingly happy and relieved at Obama’s win. I’m also $10 richer. Why isn’t sudden happiness and wealth enough for me? Why do I grind my teeth at any mention of the “wittiness” and “sincerity” of John McCain’s concession speech?
Hmmm. That’s a tough one. But three hours before the speech, robocalls were still going out in Miami saying that Castro and Chavez were rooting for an Obama victory. Like McCain has no influence over his campaign’s behavior. And the booing at his mention of Obama during the speech was such a breathtaking reminder of where he’s taken his followers. His aw-shucks attitude that both sides have to play rough in these contests ignores the utter contempt he’s shown for his opponent — a man who really did have to make it on his own in the world, and who succeeded because of intelligence, hard work, and the content of his character.
Part of my problem is that I liked McCain in 2000. Would likely have voted for him had he won the nomination at that time. I was outraged that he had to withstand the vicious (and racist) robocall campaign from the Bushies — the one that told voters McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child. The child referred to was the Bangladeshi daughter the McCain’s had adopted a few years before. That McCain did not publicly call Bush out on that one vexed me greatly at the time. A Maverick would let a pusillanimous rich kid pull something like that? (Maybe he wasn’t as Maverick as I thought).
I remember my anger at Colin Powell when he did Bush/Cheney’s bidding at the U.N., giving credence to the cooked intelligence that gave us the Iraq war. In my mind, this man, who like McCain had given so much in wartime, just blew it. It’s simply that you expect something from certain people, and when they let you down, you lose faith. In any case, I wrote Powell off as a bad bet. But five years later, with his endorsement speech for Obama, all was forgiven. Time had passed and he wanted what the country needed, so I warmed up again.
I hope the same thing happens with McCain. I want to respect the man. But only AFTER he helps Obama win some battles in congress. And AFTER he explains the state of mind that led to the wretched campaign choices he allowed to be thrust on himself. And AFTER some time passes.
But it’s hard to nod appreciatively along with those who thought the good old McCain had returned because he sounded so gracious there in the Barry Goldwater room of the Phoenix Hilton. Just last night.