Thursday, August 14, 2008

Two Sons: Proud Pup and Guard Dog

In a recent column, "Mr. Darcy Comes Courting," Maureen Dowd, after comparing her Barry Obambi to Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice (but, as I have argued, inadvertently diminishing her candidate by the comparison), parenthetically casts John McCain as Wickham, "the rival for Elizabeth’s affections, the engaging military scamp who casts false aspersions on Darcy’s character."

You can find a better contrast of characters in Jennifer Rubin's "The Ultimate Contrast" in Commentary. First she quotes from David Ignatius's column on McCain in The Washington Post ("McCain's True Voice").

McCain's triumph, finally, was that he got over Vietnam. He didn't fulminate against antiwar activists. ("I have made far too many mistakes in my own life to forever disparage people.") He accepted the ways America had changed in his absence. He didn't bear grudges. He had finally grown up. McCain wrote in a magazine article soon after his homecoming in March 1973: "Now that I'm back, I find a lot of hand-wringing about this country. I don't buy that. I think America today is a better country than the one I left nearly six years ago."

She then adds:
Given the current back-and-forth on The Ego and the examination of Barack Obama’s enormous self-regard, the contrast between the two candidates is breathtaking. McCain himself has seemed from time to time to hint at the same theme as he looked back at his callow youth and exaggerated self-regard, which in retrospect he saw as entirely undeserved. McCain’s reminiscence sets up implicit contrast with his opponent, whom McCain suggests, suffers from this very arrogance....That huge dichotomy between an accomplished, humble man and an arrogant, unaccomplished one is, I think, what McCain’s team is driving at.
In this election, we have an old candidate and a young one, an experienced and tested one and an inexperienced and untested one, a candidate whose virtues and vices are well known to us and one who is shrouded in mystery. One is curmudgeony and the other slick. Both men are profoundly influenced by their respective pasts and have written books about their respective fathers. There is a literary quality to these unfolding events. An intelligent design, one might even say. But the details are set forth in way to confront the American people with a clear choice between sober, adult government and downy, pop star make-believe.

On this same theme, you can read Rich Lowry's "The Audacity of Haughty," and see John Trever's cartoon (Albuquerque Journal) of a personified America coming to Obama's filling station, but finding only three pumps labeled "air."

No comments: