One week from today, we'll have a newly minted president-elect and, as I wrote in the preface of my new book, the last days of this dark ride will, at long last, be at hand.
It goes without saying that this historic threshold will be especially awesome if we happen to be celebrating a President-elect Obama. Of course I hasten to add the "Remember New Hampshire" caveat here. Knowing what we know about the Rove/Schmidt/Drudge/FOX News Republicans, the odds of a President-elect McCain remain too strong for comfort. They're definitely up to something with their hyping of a tight-race narrative. I just haven't figured it out yet. Whenever I read a Drudge headline, I give the headline one of those incredulous Larry David looks -- studying it carefully for an underlying scam.
Nevertheless, after eight dark years, next week officially commences the Final Days of Bush.
But what's almost as thrilling is the prospect of Sarah Palin finally going away. Next Wednesday at this time, it's entirely possible that we'll see the last of Sarah Palin on the national stage. At least for now.
Sure, she's provided us with a bottomless cup of blogging material and, more importantly, she's a huge drag on the McCain campaign. And this week, with the Conga line of McCain campaign insiders dishing out leak after delicious leak about Palin, the slow-motion McTrain-wreck has been especially entertaining. But ultimately, the schadenfreude and the hilariously inexplicable interviews are merely distractions from the truly awful things that Sarah Palin represents.
I've seriously had enough of the winking, the giant-chinned-smirking, the too-sibilant forks-on-a-chalkboard "s" sounds, the "nookyooler," the "you betchas," and especially her Romper Room-like penchant for naming and labeling everyone in her audiences: "Romper bomper stomper boo, tell me, tell me, tell me, do! I see Joe the Plumber, Roscoe the Racist, Zed the Gimp..." Yeah, she's not unserious enough as it is. Give her something really stupid to do on the stump. Good call, McCain people.
I mean, can anyone seriously argue that she wasn't chosen purely for the optics? She's otherwise a wholly unserious choice for the Republican ticket, and she's behaved in a wholly unserious way. So she's being treated as such.
McCain reaps what McCain sows. For example, the establishment media's treatment of Palin has very little if anything to do with bias. Instead, the recent negative press has everything to do with Sarah Palin and the Republican ticket being inarguably FUBAR. If there existed any actual real-life good news about McCain campaign, doubtless you'd hear the familiar refrain "this is good for McCain" echoing throughout every newsroom in America.
It turns out, the only thing that's actually working for the McCain campaign is the daily inciting of rage, fear and hatred among the easily-led gomers lined up outside of Sarah Palin's rallies. I repeat. The one thing that appears to be working nicely for Sarah Palin and John McCain right now is the really evil and divisive stuff.
And we simply can't allow Sarah Palin's fear-mongering -- her Neo-McCarthyism and her Neo-Southern Strategy -- to ultimately be the one successful thing about this otherwise laughable McCain campaign. We can't let this be the one thing that might win the election for the Republican ticket.
It's not so much that I'm looking forward to the end of Palin shrieking about Democrats who "pal around with terrorists." I am. Very much so. Or her ham-fisted declarations about which parts of America are more patriotic. It's not so much that I'm looking forward to the end of the red scare hysteria she's whipping up when she tells her Audience the Stupid that somehow a vote for the Democratic ticket is a vote for communism. More than Palin herself, I'm looking forward to the end of an era in which the aforementioned gomers -- these relatively small pockets of bigots and witch hunters -- have enjoyed undeserved attention and disproportionate sway over American politics and policy.
The truth is that politicians like Sarah Palin are merely manipulating, exploiting and inciting these people. In other words, it's the ignorance, stupid. And next Tuesday, we have a chance to seriously marginalize this darker, uglier side of America.
It'd be crazy, though, to suggest that Tuesday will be the last day. To be sure, if Senator Obama wins, we'll be hearing from these knee-jerk wackaloons quite a bit. Hell, Sarah Palin might try to run for president in four years. Nevertheless, we have a chance to tell the Sarah Palin's of the world that there's no room in American politics for fire-eaters who stoke archaic prejudices and fears rather than ameliorating them. We have a chance to tell them that not only doesn't it work anymore, but that it actually exacerbates electoral failure.
So irrespective of what the polls look like, we have no choice but to show up en masse and unequivocally reject Republicans like Sarah Palin -- hurling them onto the slagheap of history next to Orange Alerts, HUAC and the Willie Horton ad. Imagine what an undisputed electoral victory would say to Republican strategists like Bill Kristol who suggested to John McCain that the easiest path to victory was the politics of fear. Imagine the eardrum-bursting shockwaves a massive Obama victory would send through the heads of the McCain operatives who fed the "domestic terrorist" attacks into Sarah Palin's empty dome.
There are a lot of things to ridicule about Sarah Palin's incomprehensible speaking style, her pathological dishonesty and her backwards, simplistic views on the issues. But it's her politics of fear and division that must be wholly rejected on Tuesday because it's too terrible to imagine waking up one week from today in an America that rewards the awfulness and fear which she and her subterranean allies require in order to politically exist.
So before we arrive at the end of the Bush dark ride, let's make sure the Sarah Palin dark ride comes to a complete stop on Tuesday.