The Guilfoile-Warner Papers

November 1

When I said we were sending Obama to "vanquish the bully" I meant that I hoped we can replace a thuggish and bullying administration with something far more intelligent and pragmatic, leadership that is more inclusive and that has a much better sense of history. As you say, I don't want to just replace their bullies with ours. The hardest thing about obtaining power is resisting the temptation to do absolutely anything in order to hold onto it. The Bush administration demonstrated it would go to any lengths at all to stay in power, even destroying the freedoms and security that define us as a nation, the very things that set us apart. For all their claims to the label "conservative," the only thing the Bush administration was ever interested in conserving was its own grip on the reins of power, which they did at an enormous cost to this country and to the world. There ought to be a word for people who continue to repeat a word they clearly don't know the meaning of. I'm thinking of Wallace Shawn's character in Princess Bride, who kept saying "inconceivable" when he meant "unbelievable," as well as McCain supporters who keep calling the Obama tax plan "socialist" when they mean "totally nothing like socialism." Maybe we should call them "Palinguists." I'm pretty sure McCain has some kind of class at Annapolis where they covered the differences between capitalism and socialism and communism, so I don't think we can call him a Palinguist. I think we pretty much have to call him a liar at this point, and it pains me to do that because I used to admire the guy and I hope that I'll be able to like him again. But he's spent too much time in this campaign saying things he knows are not true. And you can tell from the pained look on his face that he knows most of us know they're not true either. Once again his last, best hope is to pander to people who don't know any better by pretending he doesn't know any better either. One of the pitfalls of exploiting people's ignorance in order to get them to give you power is that you have to keep pretending you're stupid, too. After all you've been telling them for years to be suspicious of anyone who seems too smart. Smart people are "elites" and "out of touch." Eventually you get in a position where John McCain, the son of a US Admiral, the grandson of a US Admiral, pretty much an elite among the elites, is forced to say things he knows are ridiculous and choose someone like Sarah Palin as a running mate, a person who isn't dumb, I don't think, so much as she is uncurious and and superstitious and willfully ignorant. The whole thing has to come crashing down eventually, although not without a lot of collateral damage. I hope Tuesday is demolition day. I also hope Sarah Palin really is trying to position herself as the next leader of the Republican party. (Further evidence would be this bizarre report from a Palin campaign stop in Florida over the weekend where McCain's name was hardly even mentioned.) As we semi-professional political humorists pay our respects to the fading Bush administration, a resurgent Sarah Palin would be like restocking the barrel with fish.
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