McCain made a bad decision. He chose not to leave a Republican Party that was drifting rightward while he drifted leftward. To win the GOP nomination, McCain had to scramble back to the right, withdrawing his criticisms of Christian right bullies and endorsing what he'd once identified, correctly, as President Bush's tax giveaway to the rich. The policies he embraced were terrible and the rhetoric he spewed was dishonest and sometimes offensive, but they were the things he had to say to hang onto the Republican base. The same goes for his choice of the looser-lipped and quite obviously unqualified Sarah Palin. Because fate has a sense of humor, a credit crisis ended the 28-year Republican ascendancy just a few weeks after the party faithful formally welcomed McCain back into the fold. (At least I think it did; if McCain ends up winning after all, I reserve the right to formulate a harsher judgment.)
It won't surprise anybody to learn that I will vote for the other guy. Obama seemed an implausible candidate when he first announced because he was so short on experience. But after Joe Biden and Chris Dodd got knocked out of the primary race, experience was no longer on the menu; neither Hillary Clinton nor John Edwards had much, either. Meanwhile, Obama's disciplined and level-headed campaign style and his commonsensical grasp of domestic and foreign policy proved his mettle. It doesn't hurt that along the way he gave at least one speech that my grandchildren will study in school. Obama ain't the messiah, but I think he'll be a good president and maybe a great one.