Saturday, August 23, 2008

Chaperone Provided

Selection of a VP running mate is largely symbolic. For all that VPs do indeed have a pretty good chance of becoming president, the office still is a bucket of warm piss, to paraphrase Garner accurately. An office, as Stalin demonstrated, is what you make it. But for campaign purposes, which is all a candidate cares about, it's about the message the selection sends. Clinton with Gore: we're young, we're groovy, I'm a player, he's the inspiration for 'Love Story'. Bush with Cheney: we're tough, we're competent, we mean business.

Obama with Biden: I'm for change, but not really. I'm black, he's safe. I'm inexperienced, here's my dad.

An uninspired choice. An inoculation, although against what disease I couldn't say. When Dole picked Kemp, I knew the future. Two old white guys pointing at their shoes. Yep, we've been around, but look at that shine! Now Obama's done the same. Look at all my weaknesses. I have no accomplishments, but I can deliver a ripping good speech, if it's prepared. But, uh, see? -- I didn't really mean it. So elect me, please.

With the selection of Biden, Obama has invalidated any criticism of McCain's age. They are a handful of years apart ... if you subtract the time McCain spent in his extended stay abroad, they're twins. Obama's given away the Washington-old-boy attack -- Biden's been in the Senate for 35 years -- over half again McCain's time. Hillary would have been a better choice, for all that it could never be. Ah well.

Biden has been in office, the same one, since 1973. He sought it as soon as he reached the required age, of 30. He took office slightly before McCain was released from Communist captivity. Somehow these observations seem meaningful.

Observe again:

It's caption time!

Down, boy.
Back of the bus.
The black guy's been giving me boxing lessons!
Me and my shadow.

But all of those are racist. Here's the real caption: Teacher Takes Charge.

McCain? He's got a real chance here. He can send a message that could damage your eardrums. It is indeed time for a change. Someday I hope to be an old white guy. That doesn't qualify me for leadership.

JC Watts. Michael Steele. Sarah Palin. Condie. Some Mexican. See?

These are not cynical choices for VP, because they are all manifestly accomplished and exceptionally competent people. Well, not the Mexican, but s/he would be, to make the list. Asians still don't count. We need more of them. Jews sort of count, cuz of all their money. That's how the game is played. Are the rules fair? It hardly matters, since the change Obama urges is only a change in the style and quantity of oratory issuing from the White House.

But rules don't matter. That's the difference between right and left. One side makes it up along the living, breathing way. Rules are for letting your side win. So that's one point in Obidamina's favor: it creates the illusion that there's a teacher on the playground. You know, to enforce the rules. As if. Cuz you know that teachers, most of them, don't care about rules anymore. Some of us might be fooled into a false sense of complacency, though.

And that's what it's really about. Believing that somebody's in charge.


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