A mir­a­cle cure for what ails us

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

TLEWES, Del. here’s a time in ev­ery pres­i­den­tial cam­paign when the only thing left to do with it is to take it out and shoot it. Not nec­es­sar­ily the can­di­dates, just the cam­paign.

We’re not quite there yet, but we’re get­ting close. Maybe it’s the view from the seashore, the clear air and the salt breeze, but this cam­paign looks and sounds like it’s over, or should be.

We’re al­ready well into goofi­ness, over-the-top claims and un­der­done con­spir­acy the­o­ries. An In­ter­net head­line cries that “Buf­fet says Obama can spread fair­ness and pros­per­ity.” That’s ei­ther the view from Omaha (War­ren Buf­fet, the stock-mar­ket spec­u­la­tor) or Mar­gar­i­taville (Jimmy Buf­fet, the singer of hymns to the plea­sures of sloth).

Karl Rove, re­puted to be the Rasputin of Repub­li­can evil but who would never be taken for a priest, pro­nounces Hil­lary Clin­ton “fa­tally flawed,” which her wise men think is good news be­cause Karl fires up the nuts on the left who en­er­gize the party. John Ed­wards has dis­cov­ered that ei­ther you love Hil­lary or you hate her, an in­sight that oc­curred to ev­ery­one else years ago, even in Arkansas, where it’s not nice to think ill of ladies. Barack Obama is clut­ter­ing the air­waves with a “what if?” game for grown-ups: “What if there was hope in­stead of fear? What if there was unity in­stead of di­vi­sion? What if we had a pres­i­dent who be­lieves that we are one na­tion?” (Why not a knock­knock joke?)

This is the kind of sen­ti­men­tal drivel — like prom­ises to process peace, hus­tle hap­pi­ness and spread broth­er­hood above and across the fruited plain — that we ex­pect from con­tes­tants in the Miss Amer­ica Pageant, but drivel tol­er­a­ble only when de­liv­ered by a pretty girl in a bikini.

Not only have we heard all this be­fore, but the Demo­cratic can­di­dates are all say­ing the same thing, speak­ing only in four-let­ter words. The only four-let­ter word they know is “Bush.” How tire­some is that?

“By and large the themes are sim­i­lar to those of four years ago,” Evan Tracey, who tracks po­lit­i­cal themes and cul­tural trends, tells Politico, the Capi­tol Hill po­lit­i­cal jour­nal. “Repub­li­cans equal Bush equals bad. Evil spe­cial in­ter­ests in Wash­ing­ton are the cause of global warm­ing and the rea­son we don’t have health care for all.”

Since there’s only a year to go be­fore the na­tional nom­i­nat­ing con­ven­tions, so called, all that’s left to do is choose a vice pres­i­dent for the can­di­dates, even if they never need one. Newt Gin­grich has al­ready cho­sen Barack Obama for Hil­lary, and some play­ers see a Bap­tist preacher in a Mor­mon’s fu­ture. In the spirit of the day, and since no­body asked, here’s an idea for the Grumpy Old Party:

Amer­ica’s vot­ers, no­body’s fools, have cooled on the idea of look­ing to the U.S. Se­nate for a pres­i­dent. Not since John F. Kennedy nearly half a cen­tury ago has a sit­ting sen­a­tor been elected pres­i­dent. Gov­er­nors who be­came pres­i­dents have ranged from aw­ful (Jimmy Carter) to un­pop­u­lar (Ge­orge W. Bush), and there’s no Ron­ald Rea­gan on the hori­zon.

So why not an All-Mayor Fu­sion Ticket? By choos­ing Rudy Gi­u­liani of New York and Douglas Wilder of Rich­mond, a Repub­li­can and an in­de­pen­dent Demo­crat, an eth­nic and a black, a Yan­kee and a South­erner, the son of an im­mi­grant and the grand­son of a slave, both out­siders but nei­ther too far out­side, the Repub­li­cans would rat­tle the en­vi­ron­ment right down to the ground with the story of Amer­ica writ large.

The pub­lic-opin­ion polls are scream­ing that the pub­lic wants some­thing dif­fer­ent, that more of the same is a pre­scrip­tion for de­feat. The fad­ing na­tional in­fat­u­a­tion with Barack Obama sug­gests that Amer­i­cans are not only will­ing, but ea­ger, to elect a black man. But not just any black man. Mr. Obama’s suc­ces­sion of pol­icy blun­ders sug­gests that he’s not black, but green. His fu­ture lies in the fu­ture. Doug Wilder was the first black man elected gov­er­nor of any state, and Vir­ginia at that. He’s a war hero (Bronze Star in Korea) and a Demo­crat who speaks to con­ser­va­tives. He’s a bit old at 76, but 76 is the new 56.

Not an en­dorse­ment, nec­es­sar­ily, just a thought on a sum­mer’s af­ter­noon.

Wesley Pruden is ed­i­tor in chief of The Times.

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