Allen & Rossi are the punchline to one of the best cautionary tales in showbiz. They were the promising comic duo slated to appear on the Ed Sullivan show immediately after the Beatles. The reaction by the audience to John, Paul, et al, was so enormous, so quivering with female adolescent hormones, that Allen & Rossi simply had no hope of being anything but a sad footnote.
So it may well be with John McCain and Sarah Palin. After Obama’s speech last night, I remarked, how can anyone hope to compete with that? You can’t, not really. Obama is more than a novelty, he’s a genius politician and the single best political orator of our time. By comparison, McCain appears, frankly, to be an aged and very white member of the establishment. His maverick street cred aside, McCain is quietly acoustic to Obama’s electrified glam rock spectacle.
It is far too early to tell whether the selection of Sarah Palin will go down in the annals of presidential politics as one of the most idiotic decisions of the year, or one of the most brilliant card tricks in history. If McCain’s goal with Palin was to move the attention of press away from Obama’s glorious shining Obamaness, it worked. Palin is so new and fresh as to be completely off the radar. On top of that, she’s weird. Anti-abortion, pro-gun, anti-big oil, pro-business, anti-environmentalist, pro-environment.
Her personal story is a riddle deserving equal attention. She’s married to an Eskimo who may be a commercial fisherman, oil field worker, or professional snowmobiler, depending on whom you ask. She has five children, the oldest of whom – named “Track” – is in the military and about to ship off for war, and the youngest of whom, “Trig,” is only six months old and has Down Syndrome.
But will it be enough to refocus the ADD-addled American press away from the jangling, shiny set of keys that is the Obama campaign?