HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

October 27, 2008
From the Editor

John Turner


The happiest story I've seen lately comes from the senatorial campaign in Kentucky. During a debate, the Republicans, evidently, placed a recording device on the podium being used by the Democratic candidate Bruce Lunsford. This was done in violation of the debate rules. But Republican plans were foiled when Lunsford found the device. He returned the recorder itself to the Republicans, but kept and destroyed the recording it made. Now, the Republicans have brought charges of theft and destruction of property against him.

You have to ask yourself where Republicans find their campaigners operatives. And what's occurring in their brains? It might be interesting to go there, but I would advise against it. You might never get out.

I read a piece in the Huffington Post by a physician named Robert Epstein. He purported to fill us in on research on aging brains, which came across as an anti-McCain argument. The implication was that McCain's brain, because it's been going for 72 years, must be virtually dead. But guess who, by contrast, have the very best brains in the nation? Thirteen and fourteen year-olds. They know how to set up electronic devices and can remember details from movies they've seen. So, I suppose that tells us where we should be going to find a president -- the video games store at the mall.

Nicholas Kristof tells us that if we want more suicide bombers, then we should vote for the GOP. Nothing would be a more effective recruiting tool for al Qaeda than a McCain victory.

Many are predicting a bloodbath among the Republicans after the election. The big battle is going to be over Sarah Palin -- with the eggheads slugging it out with the ditto-heads. We'll doubtless need something to keep us entertained, and watching Republicans knife each other is about as good as I could wish.

Of all the states that are, supposedly, still uncertain, the one I would most like to see Obama carry is Florida. Because I have personal connections there, and have been there often enough to observe the performance of much of the Florida media, it would be particularly satisfying to see the state turn away from its previously dismal record. I have no assurance about how it will turn out, but I'm pleased to see that Obama will be campaigning with Bill Clinton there. I would guess they will draw a huge crowd.

It will take preternatural patience from Barack Obama over the next week simply to keep going to as many places as he can and repeating his basic message. But that's clearly what he needs to do. McCain, I expect, will be going bananas. If you get a chance, look at Stanley Fish's essay in the New York Times about how Obama's tactics mimic those of Jesus in Paradise Lost during his debate with Satan.

I wish the voting were tomorrow. But since it's not, we'll all simply have to marshal our own patience, and try to remain sane until it’s over.


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