The Politics of Personal Narrative

Ok, no problem: so
the guy who wants to be leader of the free world has to slap the back of Levi
Johnston, the gum-chewing lothario who won the heart, or something, of Sarah
Palin’s eldest daughter, while thousands of teenage abstinence
advocates cheer them on. Ok, so Palin can just lie about Obama’s legislative achievements and
his tax policy. That’s what vice presidential candidates are supposed to do.
Ok, so she’s an orthodox paleoconservative on a maverick ticket. Ok, so she can
talk about reform while being a member of a party that’s been in power most of
the last eight years and can’t bring itself to mention the name of the
incumbent president. Ok, so she sold the governor’s airplane while her running
mate was flying around on lobbyists’ jets. She can always find a seat on Cindy
McCain’s airplane.

But does the
Republican ticket have anything else to run on besides personal narratives and
withering sarcasm? Republicans, who once prided themselves on being the party
of ideas, are reduced to peddling personal stories straight from cable TV:
Never mind I have no plans to deal with Afghanistan and the mortgage crisis! I
was tortured by the North Vietnamese! Never mind I’ve held executive office for
twenty months in a state awash in oil profits and federal largess. I was in
the PTA!

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