Honestly, until tonight I considered Barack Obama ... well, not quite an empty suit, understand, but more or less a suit with nothing but an over-inflated ego filling it.
For more than a year -- starting when his nomination campaign was at its low point and others were taking bets on when his campaign would end -- I've been predicting that John McCain would win this election in a walk.
But: Oh, That Speech. Out. Of. The. Friggin'. Park.
It's going to take a miracle for the GOP's national convention to come off as anything but anti-climax, like the part of the film credits where even the diehards have satisfied their curiosity about the supporting actors and who wrote the score, and just want to get out of the damn theatre and find a good place to eat.
Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land — enough! This moment — this election — is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough."
Bam. That's the campaign right there. Make no mistake about it: Barack Obama isn't running against John McCain, he's running against George W. Bush. Tonight, he finally and firmly stood McCain next to Bush and stuck an "I'm With Stupid" t-shirt on him.
This isn't just any old election. This is America deciding whether to stand the Republican Party in the corner for four or maybe eight years, or to drag it down to the principal's office, paddle its ass but good, bounce it out to the sidewalk, and stamp "EXPELLED: PERMANENT" on its file. Barring some truly bizarre and catastrophic development, there just ain't no gold stars or smiley-face stickers in the GOP's immediate future.
Will he be a good president? I'm not the guy to ask -- I don't think we've had a really good president since at least, oh, Grover Cleveland ... if ever.
Will we get good government from Obama? If we do, it will be the first time in history that said mythical creature has been observed, in the wild or in captivity.
Will the Democrats do a better job than the Republicans? It's tempting to assume that they couldn't do a worse job ... but if politics throughout history has proven nothing else, it has proven that things can always get worse, and frequently do.
I do think we'll get a genuine commitment to "America" ... at least in the way that Barack Obama understands that word as idea. His understanding is defective, but does include some truths. That's not enough to make me a Democrat. It's not enough to get me to vote for him. However, it is enough to make me hopeful that some small diamonds may yet be hauled out of the pit of Democratic ideas.