Who is the tall dark stranger there ?
Maverick is the name.
Ridding the trail to who knows where,
Luck is his companion
Gamblin’ is his game. Theme song from the television show “Maverick” starring James Garner
If you had a dime for every time the Republicans said maverick last night you could buy yourself a Euro. Of course before the Republicans took power in 2001 you could have bought yourself two Euros. It is interesting to see a party running against itself on primetime television, asking to be able to come in to fix the mess that they themselves made, priding themselves on two candidates who have stood up to their own party. One might think that if they were running against their own party, that they would not be so hard on the Democrats who, after all, are only trying to do the same thing.
The Democratic convention peaked too late and I believe that the Republican convention peaked too early. Governor Palin, eight years removed from her position in the Wasilla PTA made the forceful case on behalf on behalf of “Sam’s Club” members everywhere against those arugula eating elitists who will talk about you one way in Scranton and then laugh at you behind your back in San Francisco. The Republicans are plowing fertile ground and while I do not believe that they will win the present election, everyone seems to agree that the suburban Costco buyer is the Republican of the future. Those folks are neither black nor white, rich nor poor, city nor rural, they are the struggling middle class who make enough not to have to have an adjustable mortgage, are underwater on their SUV loan and can’t send their kids to private school unless they give up their health insurance. And Sarah Palin knows how to speak to them. If she is not running for President herself in eight years, it is only because of some future screw up. If she stays on course, she could be the face of the 20s.
So where does that leave the “short gray stranger” ? The Maverick of 2000, 2004 and 2008 ? Playing second fiddle to the future, that’s where. A footnote in the struggle between the recovery of Camelot under the Obamas and the return of Nixon, the original Republican “ have not”, the one who ended the Rockefeller wing of the party forever. It is hard to get elected when you are not even the star at your own convention, as McCain will soon find out. Make no mistake about it, those folks last night were cheering a hard working mother of five trying to balance a job with five children, one baby with Down’s Syndrome , one teen who is pregnant and one young man on the way to the killing fields of Iraq. And who despite all of that still had the spunk to poke Obama right in the eye with a sharpened stick, crafted over the last week by some of the meanest speech writers in the nation. She spoke for each evangelical suburbanite who has felt looked down upon by some ageing Yuppie at work, those who feel that their fundamentalist religious beliefs are considered a joke by the media and the scientific community, who think that the flag is not a symbol of something grand and powerful but is itself grand and powerful, to be saluted and potrayed in high definition on a jumbotron at a political convention or a football game (go ‘Bama ! ). In short, these are the Babbitts of the twenty first century.
So as McCain “rides the trail to who knows where” hoping that “luck is his companion” and understanding that “gamblin’ is his game”, we await his acceptance tonight in the Twin Cities. Watch him closely, we shall not see his like again in the Republican party for a long, long time.