Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Unhinging of My Country

I know I'm fatally behind with my comments, but last week was just so over the top with mind-blowing stuff that my entire cognitive apparatus was "on steroids," to use a favored current expression. Of all that was happening, some of it was more than I could swallow, much of it more than I could digest. In short, there was so much going on, and so much to metabolize, that I could hardly think straight.

Let's start with the big government "rescue plan," aka "bail-out," for the failing economy. Even surrealism racks its brains for the answers to questions such as these: Is our whole financial system really in the process of collapsing? (Most likely.) Will the newly crafted rescue plan actually work? (Nobody knows for sure, but probably not.) Is there a better way to go about this than holding the taxpayers hostage? (Anybody's guess, really, but not happening anyway.) Is this economic "emergency" really a financial 9/11 in disguise, as some have intimated--a version of the new "disaster capitalism" (Naomi Klein)--being cynically used in a timely manner by the administration to help John McCain regain his footing in the election? (Democrats think so.)

At this point anything seems possible. Surrealism, as Annie Dillard points out, "wrenches objects from their ordinary mental settings until at last (it hopes) it unhinges the mind itself." This was, without a doubt, one of the most surreal, unhinging, mind-fuck weeks in U.S. history. And by the end of it, most Americans no longer knew which they feared most: systemic economic collapse or deceitful manipulation of their minds and their money by their government. Brother, can you spare a trillion? One thing is clear, however: there IS a lot of fear--and rage--out there.

Enter world-class spook, John McCain, "suspending" his campaign, getting everybody all riled up, poking his prick into everything, ordering Barack Obama to man the decks like he was boss of the world, postponing their debate--and now, waiting eagerly in the wings to claim "victory" for his part in whatever legislation finally gets passed. "Victory" and John McCain are inseparably wedded. God help us.

First McCain said he'd fire Christopher Cox as Chairman of the Securies and Exchange Commision for mismanagement and greed. Then the Wall Street Journal editorial board struck back, defending Cox and pointing out it was unpresidential behavior and illegal besides. The president would not have that right.

Then Gail Collins wrote a great parody of all these shenanigans in the New York Times:

"One thing we now know for sure. Electing John McCain would be God’s gift to the profession of journalism. A story a minute.

Imagine what would happen if a new beetle infested the Iowa corn crop during the first year of a McCain administration. On Monday, we spray. On Tuesday, we firebomb. On Wednesday, the president marches barefoot through the prairie in a show of support for Iowa farmers. On Thursday, the White House reveals that Wiley Flum, a postal worker from Willimantic, Conn., has been named the new beetle eradication czar. McCain says that Flum had shown “the instincts of a maverick reformer” in personally buying a box of roach motels and scattering them around the post office locker room. “I can’t wait to introduce Wiley to those beetles in Iowa,” the president adds.

On Friday, McCain announces he’s canceling the weekend until Congress makes the beetles go away."

Frank Rich, today, writes in the same newspaper:

"What we learned last week is that the man who always puts his “country first” will take the country down with him if that’s what it takes to get to the White House...When John McCain gratuitously parachuted into Washington on Thursday, he didn’t care if his grandstanding might precipitate an even deeper economic collapse."

In the middle of all this financial freak-out, cryptographic artist Damien Hirst sold 223 works for over $200 million at a Sotheby's auction. Talk about surreal! This even has to beat Franz Kafka turning a character into a cockroach.

They say it's not over 'til the fat lady sings. Up next this coming week on "American Idol" is Sarah Palin. "Andy Warhol," Patricia Williams writes in The Nation, "would have loved Sarah Palin. She really is the ultimate soup can. For anyone who never quite understood the point of an art form in which the iconicity of a mass-produced object becomes an end above and beyond its contents--well, welcome to the fame factory...What Warhol did with Mao Zedong and Marilyn Monroe is precisely what the Republican Party has done with Sarah Palin." She then likens listening to Sarah speak to the absurdity of being addressed by, say, the Maalox Max bottle, or Mr. Clean, or Mrs. Butterworth. Or, worse yet, Karl Rove in designer glasses and a skirt.

We can only hope that in the case of Sarah Palin, Warhol (were he still around) would get it right: fifteen minutes in a controlled context, and the fame problem will take care of itself. Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Trouble in the Ice Kingdom

The folks up in Alaska are not happy campers since Sarah got nominated for VP. This from the Anchorage Daily News today:

"Abdication by Palin"

When did the McCain campaign take over the governor's office?
Published: September 20th, 2008 12:53 AM
Last Modified: September 20th, 2008 02:47 AM

"Gov. Sarah Palin has surrendered important gubernatorial duties to the Republican presidential campaign. McCain staff are handling public and press questions about actions she has taken as governor. The governor who said, "Hold me accountable," is hiding behind the hired guns of the McCain campaign to avoid accountability.

Is it too much to ask that Alaska's governor speak for herself, directly to Alaskans, about her actions as Alaska's governor?

A press conference Thursday showed how skewed Alaska's relationship with its own governor has become.

McCain-Palin campaign spokesman Ed O'Callaghan announced that Todd Palin will not comply with a subpoena to testify about his role in Troopergate, the Legislature's investigation into whether Palin abused her power in forcing out former public safety commissioner Walt Monegan.

O'Callaghan also announced that Alaska's governor is "unlikely" to cooperate with the investigation by the Alaska Legislature about questionable conduct by Alaska's chief executive.

Monday, he and campaign sidekick Meg Stapleton stood before Alaskans and defended the official personnel decision by Alaska's governor to fire Alaska's public safety commissioner. ABC News reported that Gov. Palin's official press secretary, Bill McAllister, paid by the state of Alaska, didn't even know the McCain staffers were meeting the press to defend his boss.

Is the McCain campaign telling Alaskans that Alaska's governor can't handle her own defense in front of her own Alaska constituents?

Way back when, before John McCain chose Palin as his vice presidential running mate, Palin promised to cooperate with the investigation.

Now she won't utter a peep about it to Alaskans. Nor will her husband, Todd, who definitely needs to explain his role in Troopergate.

Instead, Alaskans have to sit back and listen to John McCain's campaign operatives handling inquiries about what Alaska's governor did while governing Alaska. Residents of any state would be offended to see their governor cede such a fundamental, day-to-day governmental responsibility to a partisan politician from another state. It's especially offensive to Alaskans.

O'Callaghan said Todd Palin objects to the subpoena because the Legislature's investigation "has been subjected to complete partisanship." That's the kind of dizzying spin that Washington has perfected. It is the McCain-Palin campaign that has worked overtime to politicize the entire matter in a transparent attempt to justify the stonewalling.

Futile as the request may be, we encourage Gov. Palin to stand up to McCain's handlers and be personally accountable for her administration's response to Troopergate. She is the governor of Alaska, not John McCain or Ed O'Callaghan.

BOTTOM LINE: Official state business -- like Troopergate -- should be handled by the governor of the state, not by McCain presidential campaign operatives."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Sarah Palin will be meeting foreign leaders next week, the Wall Street Journal Reports:

"Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will meet with foreign leaders next week at the United Nations, a move to boost her foreign-policy credentials, a Republican strategist said.

Republican candidate John McCain plans to introduce the Alaska governor to heads of state at the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, although specific names weren’t yet firmed up. “The meetings will give her some exposure and experience with foreign leaders,” the strategist said. “It’s a great idea.”

McCain and Palin are expected to visit the U.N. on Tuesday, when President George W. Bush will address the international body."

Two bloggers respond to the news:

"Then after she goes to the UN for an hour to “meet foreign leaders” and establish her security/foreign policy credentials, McCain will take her to a hospital, so she can establish her “health care” credentials; then they will go out in the street and meet a whole bunch of African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians to check off the “diversity” credentials; then they can ride the subway for one stop to clarify her “infrastructure” credentials; and then, finally, she can use her ATM card at a bank branch down on Wall Street so she can demonstrate her expertise on the financial markets.
God, I swear you can’t make this up."

"I think the rattlesnakes are starting to commit suicide."

Andrew Sullivan reports on the polls:

"Basically: it's tied with a tiny edge to McCain in the national vote and a tiny edge to Obama in the electoral college.Gallup's tracking shows the race closing again. My own view is that Palin has all but killed the McCain candidacy. And her real advantage was novelty. Once people realize she has no record of even interest in foreign policy and is a serial liar, her unfavorables will continue to rise."

"16 Sep 2008 03:33 pm
Palin's popularity tanks as voters get to see more of her:
The Research 2000 poll for Daily Kos now has Palin's favorability-unfavorability scores at 45-44 -- just a +1. Six days ago, when the poll launched, she was at a 52-35, a +17."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Maureen Dowd Notices Blinking Too!

From her column in the NY Times today:

“We must not, Charlie, blink, Charlie, because, Charlie, as I’ve said, Charlie, before, John McCain has said, Charlie, that — and remember here, Charlie, we’re talking about John McCain, Charlie, who, Charlie, is John McCain and I won’t be blinking, Charlie.”

"Sarah has single-handedly ushered out the “Sex and the City” era, and made the sexy new model for America a retro one — the glamorous Pioneer Woman, packing a gun, a baby and a Bible," Dowd writes.

"Her explosion onto the scene made Obama seem even more like a windy, wispy egghead. Like W., Sarah has the power of positive unthinking. But now we may want to think about where ignorance and pride and no self-doubt has gotten us. Being quick on the trigger might be good in moose hunting, but in dealing with Putin, a little knowledge might come in handy."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Problem with Not Blinking

Boy, was that one drop-dead gorgeous view from Sarah Palin's living room window, as seen in Charlie Gibson's interview with her in Wassilla a few days ago. Me, I'd think twice before trading it in for the privilege of being cooped up in a Beltway office all week, looking out on Capitol Hill.

Palin said she didn't even blink when she was offered the VP slot alongside John McCain; if you're as dedicated to the "mission" [of reforming government] as she is, and they are, then you don't hesitate, not for one second. You don't worry about whether you have what it takes or whether there is someone more qualified than you. You answer yes, of course.

Did she think it was sexist, Gibson wanted to know, when others questioned whether she could adequately juggle the job of VP (or conceivably even the Presidency) and be a successful, responsible mother as well? Again, Sarah didn't blink. She's been doing that all along: "Of course you can do it, be the VP and raise a family," she said. "I'm the Governor and I raise a family." Seeing her there in her own element, I believed her. Up there in the tundra, her juggling act seems to have worked. When it comes to the state of Alaska, Sarah Palin has definitely broken the glass ceiling.

What Gibson failed to ask, however, was, if Palin does end up winning the Vice-Presidency and migrating to Washington, whether she would take her family with her? The question is crucial, because should she try to haul them all off to Washington, then the unique ideogram that is Sarah Palin now--and which works perfectly in her mini-empire of Alaska but depends on all that pastoral order--will be destroyed.

Meanwhile people have begun to condemn John McCain for compromising the country by his choice of an unequipped running mate. But I would go even further. I believe Sarah Palin has badly compromised herself, by accepting the offer. If she wins the Vice-Presidency, she could well lose everything else that is good about her, namely, a life that really works.

In the raw world of Alaska, Sarah Palin "has it all": a great job, great family, great landscape, great house, and a great life--all of it colorful, rich, and seamlessly interwoven. I can easily picture her driving the snowmobile home from the Governor's office at lunch time, in order to check on the kids and give them their mooseburgers. But "having it all" isn't enough, it seems, and now that greedy ambition for more power has reared its ugly head, Sarah may yet be the author of her own undoing. By saying yes to John McCain, she has made a choice that could cause her whole world to come unraveled.

For instance, it's not hard for me to picture the Obama family moving from Chicago into the White House, with all of them enacting a reasonable facsimile of their previous life. But what will become of Sarah once she is separated her from the mythic trappings of tundra, caribou, wolves, and snowmobile racing--upon which so much of her successful life depends? How will she fare when disappeared into the herd of bureaucrats roaming Capitol Hill, and cooped up in an office all day? And what about her handsome, snowmobile-racing, fisherman husband? Will he be happy plying his trade in the Potomac? Talk about fish out of water! Or maybe he will stay behind in Alaska to look after the kids, helping them to build snow men? Frankly I don't think you can just uproot a fir tree, replant it in the tropics, and expect it to thrive.

Still, if Sarah Palin fails to get elected, she can always return to her former existence, unspoiled and intact. The same can no longer be said for John McCain. An uncontrolled will-to-power has already cost him beyond anything he can possibly afford to pay--his "hero" status and his image as a man of integrity have shrunk to such a degree I believe they will never be recovered. I would not care, myself, to be the subject of comments such as these, written by the columnist Andrew Sullivan (, but his words sum up what many people are thinking and saying:

"I'm in two minds whether John McCain has lost his mind or never had a soul. But I have to say I am surprised by the barrage of lies and distractions his campaign is throwing out. The farce of the Palin candidacy is one such distraction - but the lies about sex education, the lies about Palin's pork record, the lies about "tiny" Iran, the lies about the lipstick-pig nonsense, the lies about the bridge to nowhere, the lies about the oil pipeline ... I mean, what is going on?
Some believe this is just GOP hardball. But it actually isn't. They're usually not this stupid. If you are going to broadcast a series of outrageous, demonstrable lies to smear your opponent, you tend to to that in the last two weeks of a campaign, so the lies can actually stick before they are debunked. But in September?
I know many people believe that the American people - especially the under-informed swing voters - are too dumb to know when they are being lied to. But these lies are so obvious that this cannot be true. And the sheer viciousness of the personal attacks on Obama make Rove's attack on McCain in 2000 seem mild.
Here's what I think. I think McCain is out of it. I think he checked out of his own campaign and handed it over to Schmidt and his fellow Rovians. This does not mean he does not have total responsibility. John McCain is now for ever a despicable and dishonest and dishonorable man. He has destroyed his reputation..."

Whatever happens to John McCain, because of a series of reckless choices, the old-time warrior now stands to lose everything that was good about himself, most especially his honor. I'm not sure anything is really worth that. Not even the Presidency.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Beating the Blues

Everyone I talk to ever since the advent of Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket has the jitters, the heebie-jeebies. That we could really lose this election to the snide Moose Girl is now haunting every Democratic heart: we are all spooked. To say nothing of feeling blue--and I don't refer here to the electoral map. The ship is going down, for God's sake, and America is having another election about--ABORTION? Feeling blue and being spooked are not a good places to be. But how can you not feel jittery, blue, spooked? Marc Ginsberg wrote in the Huffington Post today:

"McSame is committing grand larceny... stealing the "change" message. He's throwing the wool over voters' eyes. He's pretending that the he's not the latest GOP fox in the henhouse. Hiding behind the skirts of Sarah Palin, the GOP is swift-boating the truth once again. And Democrats should be ready with an overwhelming counterattack."

I'm feeling exhausted by the lies, ravaged, trashed. So, what to do?

As most of my friends and readers will already know, when stressed, one of my personal antidotes is to ask a question, open the Thesaurus at random, and point my finger. The place where my finger lands either offers an immediate answer, sometimes astounding me, or it doesn't apply at all. Admittedly this technique won't always work. Sometimes, however, truly uncanny stuff happens. It did last night.

Last night I asked about Sarah Palin and John McCain. Tell me what's really going on here? I queried. My finger landed precisely between these two phrases:

"have an ulterior motive" and "have an eye to the main chance."

They were under the larger heading of "CUNNING," and these were some of the proximate words:
"sly, play the fox, try a ruse, shift, dodge, juggle, maneuver, jockey, double-cross, spin a web, weave a plot, contrive, play tricks, pull a fast one, outsmart, outwit, go one better, snatch from, waylay, undermine, ambush." This seems to meet the question perfectly as a description of what is really going on. McCain has pulled a fast one and is now trying to go one better than the opposition. It was an ambush, and with it, he has now managed to snatch the lead from Obama.

But this is a confirmation of what we already know, albeit a pretty consummate one. Since I'd gotten an ace in the hole with my first question, I decided to push my luck and ask another: Will it work?

The answer here began somewhat cryptically, with two phrases "like a cat on hot bricks, like a hen on a hot griddle." (Or maybe, like a barracuda on a curling iron?) My Thesaurus entry then went on to advance what seemed like an amazingly accurate description of Sarah Palin:

"stirring, strong, quick, brisk, nippy, spry, smart, energetic, forceful, up-and-coming, frisky, spirited, mettlesome, full of beans, animated, vivacious, on one's toes, restless, nervy."

Okay, I continued on: Can Obama still win, Sarah's nervy up-and-comingness notwithstanding? Here is what I got by way of an answer:

"Be superior, transcend, rise above, surmount, tower over, outreach, exceed, out-Herod Herod (!), carry off the laurels, bear the palm, wear the crown, surpass, reach a new high, go one better, trump, show quality, shine, excel, assert one's superiority, be too much for, steal the show, outshine, eclipse, overshadow, ridicule, outclass, outwit, get the better of, trounce, rise to the occasion, defeat, tip the scale, change the balance, be up on, be one up."

I followed a further reference in the same entry, and got: "Give hope, have faith, rest assured, feel confident, bank on, intend, keep one's fingers crossed, remain hopeful, never say die, keep smiling, persevere, inspire hope, [be] without discouragement, without despair, authentic, well-grounded, authoritative, influential, give testimony, cite the evidence."

That seemed to describe Obama pretty definitively, and the path he has been consistently charting. These answers aren't definitive; they don't predict an outcome. But they do thrust themselves rather tellingly straight into the process. The way I see it, after receiving my reading, in order for our phoenix to successfully perform his fiery rite, it is up to each one of us (his supporters) to fervently, scrupulously, and unrelentingly follow this same guidance:

"Give hope, have faith, rest assured, feel confident, bank on, intend, keep one's fingers crossed, remain hopeful, never say die, keep smiling, persevere, inspire hope, [be] without discouragement, without despair, authentic, well-grounded, authoritative, influential, give testimony, cite the evidence."

With such thoughts we create an omnidirectional field, a hidden incantation--so that one candidate cannot conceal the other the way a penny in visual space can hide the sun. I leave you to conjecture which one is the penny, and which one, the sun.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Witty One-Shots/Feeling Sick

John McCain, the Michelin Man, definitely killed a lot of birds with one stone last week when he unfurled his running mate, Sarah Palin, at the Republican convention. You could tell he was sitting pretty like the cat that ate the canary this morning, when he was opposite Bob Schieffer on "Face the Nation." He looked like he had dropped ten years in ten days and was positively lit from within.

As for me, I went from the successive highs engendered by watching the Dems--from feeling light-hearted and buoyant all week--to the unspeakable lows of a mastodon's floundering in the swamp. Everyone I know who forcibly subjected themselves to watching the Republicans do their thing on stage had the same uniform response: it made them sick. I mean really SICK, not as in the metaphor "it made me sick," but real-life actual sick, nauseous and queasy sick, full-body sick. This phenomenon is now so widespread, there must be reasons for it. Op-Ed columnist Bob Herbert may have nailed some of them in his NY Times offering the next day:

"If there was one pre-eminent characteristic of the Republican convention this week, it was the quality of deception. Words completely lost their meaning. Reality was turned upside down."

I'll go even further and suggest that malign spirits occupied the hall that night. Folks waving flags. who yelled "Drill, baby, drill" like they were Nazi butchers whose lungs were nearly bursting. One after another, speakers belittled Obama, mocked him, joked him, raped him, like there was no tomorrow. How to describe what I witnessed? Ugly. Evil. Disgusting.

Here's Rudy Guiliani: "He worked as a community organizer. What? Barack Obama has never led anything, nothing, nada." These words were then echoed by the Republican's newest hate-monger, Sarah Barracuda: "The world of threats and dangers, it's not just a community and it doesn't just need an organizer."

These witty one-shots all drew dark laughter from the crowd. After they were done eviscerating Obama, McCain went on to STEAL his platform, masquerading himself as the leader of "change." (He'd already realized he wasn't going to make it on "experience.")

But what really happened that night seems to have gone largely unremarked. In his choice of Palin, McCain handed the country over to the Republican party's right-wing Evangelical base, the same group of folks that put GWB into office twice, and who up until then had been mostly indifferent to his candidacy. Indifferent to him, as he was to them:

In the not-too-far-distant past, McCain famously assailed Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson for "the evil influence that they exercise over the Republican Party." (Later he said it was a joke, his standard tactic of obfuscation to disguise what he really means.) In January of 2007, Dr. James Dobson, the influential evangelical leader, said of McCain, "Speaking as a private individual, I would not vote for [him] under any circumstances." Since then, McCain has courted and accepted endorsements from "agents of intolerance" such as John Hagee and Rod Parsley. The very McSame who previously called himself an Episcopalian and shied away from talking about his personal faith, now declares Roe v. Wade must be overturned, and speaks openly about his faith in Christ.

So let's talk about deception! Let's talk about turning reality upside down. Meanwhile, what the Michelin Man has really done (by choosing Palin as his VP) is to set the country up for "four more years" of hideous rule by the same religious Right who have destroyed it. This sinister move now gives him a chance of winning. And they say this man has a conflict between ideals and ambitions? After such an unconscionable sleight of hand, McCain is now gallingly proclaiming himself the "maverick" candidate of "change"? How can you not feel sick? How can you not feel your world is being willfully turned upside down?

Make no mistake. Sarah Palin, as one blogger put it even better than even I could, "is more than a charismatic, lipsticked pitbull. She's Cerberus, the hound of Hades, waiting for us at the gates. I truly fear her, and I want her defeated. Soundly, everlastingly defeated."

Let me quietly lay that comment right side up on a clean surface, so I can better inhale it, deeply.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dancing with Wolves

Just when you think things can't get any worse, they get worse. Forget my Betty Boop analogy in the last blog: it was way off base--dead wrong--despite the weird physical resemblance. In her political debut last night before the American public at the ghastly Republican convention, Sarah Palin succeeded in making even the worst vermin in that party, Mitt Romney and Rudy Guiliani, look like jello. Well, maybe not exactly jello, but in comparison with Palin, the killer instincts of these men fell so wide of the mark they ended up looking pathetic and just plain disgusting. Sarah Palin, in contrast, is anything but pathetic; she came across as just plain dangerous. Last night the American public witnessed one of the most extraordinary displays of ruthlessness and deceit in its history. Sarah Palin is the "October surprise," arriving somewhat prematurely in September.

Beautifully disguised as Everywoman, with a few frontier wilderness archetypes tossed in, Sarah Palin proved she is Karl Rove in spades, Dick Cheney in drag, a woman with a pretty face, a cute family, and a hideous, clawed tongue. No wonder Mac the Black referred to her as his "soul mate." These two may perfectly deserve each other, but our poor, beleaguered country cannot take much more of this, or it will die. It will die from an overdose of abuse and lies.

Sarah Barracuda may look like she just stepped out of a chorus line, but she is nasty piece of work, well-versed in blood sports. Not only does she dance with wolves, she also shoots them from the air in helicopters. Last night, this "aerial wolf-sniper" put her vicious training to smart political use when she had Barack Obama in her sights and fired on all cylinders. Palin isn't the type of hunter who looks into the eyes of her prey and meets it with compassion. She shoots to kill and obviously enjoys every moment of the slaughter. Some comments from a few friends on my email today:

"i felt a subtle, terrifying shudder, whenever she made a snide remark, which curled her lip, wrinkled her nose and caused her eye glasses to rise up. She is a power-hungry, arrogant, angry and ruthless person. we don't see many women liike this ever! She is an anomaly. i can easily imagine her delivering torture and even serving on the gestapo or as a guard in one of Hitler's camps."

"I did hear her voice on NPR upon waking up…shrew was my first thought…evil mean bitch was a close second. Why are Republicans SO mean-spirited, so so so mean and cruel, but their own mistakes and flaws are viewed as ok? Evil and scary."

"I watched it and I am sick. She was real good at convincing the crowd that she was very qualified for the job and was a real person with her own ideas. It seems that the GOP 's platform now sounds like the Dem. platform. Are not the Dems for change? I am not watching this anymore."

"Going to light lots of candles tomorrow for Obama and Biden.
They are going to need some help.
It all comes down to--are there more of them... or more of us?"

That, my friends, is the big $64,000 question. In the electoral map, does the compass now point north? We'll have to live on pins and needles right down to the wire until we finally get the answer to that question.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Betty Boop and the Michelin Man

And what a week it's been! I spent the better part of it shuttling back and forth between the TV and the computer, studying the blog commentaries as the Democratic convention proceeded. Each day my spirits would soar ever higher as the growing chorus of REAL MEN did serious battle to take back our country from the villains, thugs, slime balls, and little Hitlers who have been holding it captive for so long. Watching this happen was not only awesome, it was downright voluptuous! I haven't seen such authentic and beautiful masculinity on display like that since, well, maybe ever! You go, guys!

Much has been touted about how history is being made this election cycle, from the first successful African-American candidate ever for president, to how far women have come, thanks to Hillary, in breaking through the glass ceiling in politics. These are both important landmark events, to be sure. For me, however, the real history being made at the Democratic convention was something more subtle but no less significant, and it seemingly went unnoticed and unrecognized: the transformation of patriarchal consciousness into a genuinely mature and empowered masculinity. How thrilling to watch and listen to Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson Jr., Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Joe Biden, and (notably) John Kerry, as they stepped up, one after the other, to the podium with fire in their bellies, and committed themselves (and their party) to renewing the promise and hope of America. Then there was the amazing finale: Obama himself, whose composure and unflinching gravitas on the stage in Denver in front of 82 thousand people (plus the unseen 38 million others who were watching at home) seemed to mark an end to the reign of the Lord of the Flies, replacing its infantile grandiosity and tyrannical abusiveness with real stewardship at last. Incredible, bracing integrity was everywhere, like a strong blast of sea air.

While all this was happening and "good King" energy infused Invesco Stadium, a different group of swinish men from the Republican War Room (set up a mile away) were dancing around the giant amphitheater dressed up in Roman togas--caricature Herods and Caligulas, whose degradation of others knows no bounds. They were doing their best to ridicule and demean the talented men within. This was for me the defining moment of the convention, signifying the real meaning of all that is at stake in this election. If it is indeed important what thoughts and images we are invoking in our lives, then this surely is the image that says it all. "It seems," write the authors of "King Warrior Magician Lover," "that we as a species live under the curse of infantilism...patriarchy is really "puerarchy" (ie, the rule of boys)." But, as Barack said, finally, and with all the force he could conceivably muster: "ENOUGH!"

Oh God yes, let it be so.

No time lost, however, before McSmear (newly minted by me as the Michelin Man), not to be outdone for a single minute, did what he always does best: refocus attention away from Obama and onto himself so that he can win the next news cycle. Out of the magician's hat comes Sarah Barracuda, his stunning but outlandish choice for VP candidate. A Miss Alaska runner-up, former mayor and hockey mom from Wasilla, she hunts, wears fur, and if (by her own admission) she doesn't quite understand what a VP does, at least she does know how to shoot an M-16 and cook a mean caribou burger. All told, she gave John McCain a good day. Sarah Palin may not know much about foreign policy yet, but she has now owned a passport for at least six months, and anyway, as she says herself, "I have a chance to learn about foreign policy at the foot of the master."

People everywhere across the country and in the media have been electrified by the news, so from McSmear's point of view, Mission Accomplished! A few folks, such as Maureen Dowd, wondered exactly what would happen to the country "when the two-year governor of an oversized igloo becomes commander-in-chief after the president-elect chokes on a pretzel on day one." Hopefully, though, this will never happen. Hopefully John McCain will not become President. "The P.T.A.," she further quipped,"is great preparation for dealing with the K.G.B."

But not everyone feels like Dowd. Mark Steyn states in the National Review that Palin is not just "'all-American', but hyper-American. What other country in the developed world produces beauty queens who hunt caribou and serve up a terrific moose stew?... Next to her resume, a guy who's done nothing but serve in the phony-baloney job of 'community organizer' and write multiple autobiographies looks like just another creepily self-absorbed lifelong member of the full-time political class that infests every advanced democracy." I hope he was wearing his toga when he wrote this.

Not to be outdone in the response department, I did my own consultation with the Thesaurus. Sarah Palin and John McCain, I asked, what's the deal here? Is this an inspired or a lunatic choice?

You may not believe this, but my finger landed directly on the word "DEMENTED." It was under the larger heading of "insanity" and some of the other words in the vicinity were: "moonstruck, not in one's right mind, personality disorder, monomania, mentally handicapped, idiotic, cretinous, unhinged, bonkers, capricious, gaga, nuts." I think I'll let these words pass, unadulterated, as my own personal comment on the situation. Nothing else is needed. It is possible that John McCain is not only crazy to win this election, but also that he is just plain crazy. Out of I don't know how many text messagers who wrote to CNN that day after the choice was announced, 33% said it will help, 67% said it will hurt. Either way, the new development is sure to add another level of convulsion to an already convulsed electorate.