October 11, 2008

Stay Classy Out There, Folks

When the rhetoric gets so bad that your own candidate has to endure boos from the party faithful to rein in the excesses of political dialogue, that's a bad thing. But once again, as the campaign moves into the closing stretch, the basic classiness that John McCain possesses manifests itself. It's the same impulse that led McCain to offer a sincere congratulation to Senator Obama upon attaining his party's nomination. It's the same impulse that led McCain to, without fanfare, visit Mo Udall in his hospital and read to him during his convalescence.

This kind of thing ought not to be remarkable. But it is a credit to John McCain that he is able to distinguish between policy disagreements and character assassination. Sadly, there are those out there who need to see things in such polarized terms that they cannot understand what it is to have a respectful disagreement. Here, again, we confront the edge of fanaticism. And not just us as observers -- the Republican candidate himself is visibly repelled by it and speaks out against it when he sees it, even at his own rallies. That is a credit to him and an example for the party to follow in the future, win or lose. Indeed, if we do follow that example, in the long run we will win more than we lose.

Thank you, Senator McCain, for cautioning people this way. You're going to lose, and it's not your fault, and it's too bad because you're a fundamentally decent man and damnit, we need fundamentally decent people as leaders, both in our party and for the country as a whole. While McCain is a flawed candidate facing overwhelming odds, this is one of his attributes that most warms my heart. He is, at his foundation, a good man with little tolerance for the kind of nonsense that infects politics and keeps it from being what it could be.

UPDATE: Well, a possibility exists that some of the quotes in the article cited above are not accurate. But they are certainly congruent with some bizarre e-mails I've seen for nearly a year now about Obama and some strange things real people have said to me about him.

No comments: