Why don't the Democrats enjoy a good political dust-up? Whatever one thinks of the McCain-Palin people, they are clearly enjoying this fight. Whereas the Democrats have gone into their rather pathetic Republicans are evil crouch. Reading Sullivan and Marshall et al, you'd think that the Nazis are about to come to power. I'm certainly no fan of McCain-Palin, but I have to admit a sneaking admiration for their confrontational spirit. We all know that they aren't really mavericks, but even the most rabid Democrat has to admit that their Original Mavericks ad was an absolutely brilliant 30 seconds of political theater.
Where is Obama's Carville? Where is the guy who relishes a good fight, who loves getting on all fours in the political mud, who enjoys telling a whopping political lie? That's who Obama needs now. Biden was supposed to be Obama's minder -- the hard man who would look after the wonderkind. But Biden's intellectual ill-discipline and flatulence makes him unsuitable for this role. Hilary, of course, who has been down in the mud for years now, would have been ideal. But why should she come to Obama's aid when he's done nothing for her?
Machiavelli said it best -- the best politicians are the best liars and politics is the art of telling the truth creatively. Clinton was an audacious liar. That's why I love the guy to death. His wife, who I supported in the primaries, is also pretty audacious. McCain-Palin tell a good lie too. The problem with Obama is that he doesn't seem comfortable bending the truth in unnatural shapes. His politics is an unholy mix of sermon-on-the-mount moralizing and dull legislative compromise. He doesn't appear to have the stomach for telling giant whoppers. That is why his real calling might be as an inspirational speaker rather than a politician (as Hilary once said, he's more MLK than LBJ).
And that's why McCain and Palin are enjoying themselves so much. It's fun to fight the ethically pure Obama because he's so vulnerable to ridicule and because his discomfort at wrestling in the dirt is so self-evident. So yes, I'm all in favor of a sharper tone, but it must be expressed with a smile on his face. Obama should roll-up his sleeves and joyously dive into the mud. Arianna is wrong. Rather than getting angry, he needs to learn to look as if he's enjoying himself in the mud pit. His performance against O'Reilly was a beginning. Americans will elect the candidate who is looks as if he is having the most fun. Appearing to be having fun is a giant lie of course -- like so much else in politics. But this is the art which Obama needs to quickly master if he is going to be the next President.