Friday, October 31, 2008

#102 John McCain in Wonderland

I mean the Alice and Lewis Carroll one, spilling over a bit into the Looking Glass, too. As the campaign sputtered out for McCain over the last few weeks, I got to thinking about shrinking--how the whole McCain/Palin mis en scene seemed to be getting smaller and smaller before my very eyes. Shrinking, fading from sight like a grinning Cheshire (Mc)Cat. It doesn't help matters that McCain is a short little man--you get perspective when he's on stage with almost anybody else, including his running mate--who (perhaps as a result of his war injuries, I don't know) comports/contorts his body in a shoulder-hunching, scrunched-up sort of way, as if protecting his privates. (Yes, I think I want you to think of another analogy while we're at it--the infamous Shrinkage! There's always SHRINKAGE when you get out of a pool! scene from Seinfeld when George is caught dripping-naked by Jerry's girlfriend, and constrained to defend the dimensionality of certain naughty bits.) The whole McCain thing has gotten somehow oppressively, chokingly claustrophobic and SMALL.

But the seeming physical shrinkage is only symptomatic of the tiny, petty small-mindedness coming out of the McCain campaign of late. One feels like Alice after quaffing too much of the "Drink Me" potion and finding herself Down the Rabbit Hole and in the twee surreal world of the mercury-tainted Mad Hatter yelling "No room, no room" and pushing his tea-partiers around the table in crazed confusion. (Think back to McCain scuttling about distractedly in the Town Hall debate.) And all the while uttering perfect nonsense, like John McCain. Yes, he's the diminutive and demented Mad Hatter, and Sarah Palin can play the part of either the oblivious Duchess character (with her "deformed" baby [sorry] that she she doesn't know is really a pig), OR the insane Queen of Hearts, whose simplistic "off-with-their-heads" mentality fits Palin's hatchet-"man" role perfectly. Take your pick.

And then there's the Caterpillar, who asks Alice over and over, "Who ARE you?" even as she continues to provide the most transparent information about herself. But it's never enough, like the McCain team's empty insinuations about Obama's somehow sinister back story that he's hiding from us. Or Humpty Dumpty (skipping this once to the later Through the Looking Glass), who famously plays fast and loose with the meaning of words: "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean..." How about the glib and irresponsible bandying about of "socialist" "leftist" "Marxist" "radical" and worse, by the McCain camp? Humpty Dumpty-ish, eh? But we all know who "takes a great fall" in the end.

Alice ends of course with the protagonist waking up from her fun-filled nightmare no better off than she began. That's the point. It all ends in a babble of nonsense, but it was a nightmare nonetheless. Likewise. the McCain/Palin rallies are getting well-nigh frightening of late, what with the red-neck rabble shouting imprecations tantamount to "off-with-his-head" Red-Queen insanity. Not the harmless fun of the Mad Hatter's tea party. We'll all wake up on Tuesday, I hope. How about Obama in the Land of Oz? Later.

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