Well, we were all wishing for the slam dunk, weren’t we? For the notoriously temperamental John McCain to explode in a rage or slide into dementia? Didn’t happen. (That piously expressed wish for Teddy Kennedy’s health by John McCain at the beginning, making it sound like the senator was on his deathbed, proved to be no more than another mendacious grab for the bipartisan high ground: it turns out, in this morning’s New York Times, that Kennedy was in hospital only briefly and had returned home to watch the debate on television.)
But the differences between the two candidates, I thought, were clear enough. To use a handy metaphor, what I saw was an aging pit bull and a bright-eyed border collie who knew exactly what he needed to do.
The pit bull (this one sans lipstick) snarled a lot and looked down his nose at lot at his opponent. His tactic was to take hold of an idea (earmarks, anyone? Corruption, greed?) and growl and shake, and growl and shake, and shake and growl… until all the stuffing had come out of the idea and he was left looking kind of foolish with a limp rag between his teeth.
Ah, but the border collie… so smart, so peaceable, so gentle—and yet so persistent and so tough when needed. This one opted for a more complex approach, combining strategy and tactic (and the pit bull said he didn’t understand the difference!) This one was watchful, alert, attentive to his sheep, ranging out with comfortable patience when they strayed to bring them back into the flock and herd them all gently into the pen. I thought of Jasper.
I don’t know which you’d rather have in the Oval Office, the spontaneously lunging pit bull or the patient and quietly reliable border collie. I know which one I want.