Finally, another great Maureen Dowd column. I was starting to wonder about one of my formerly favorite columnists recently - her writing for the last few months has been listless, unfocused, petty. Maybe she was torn writing about intraparty Democratic fighting. Now that the Obama-McCain tussle is heating up, her pen is once again sharper than a sword. She nails the problem of the old guard's jealousy of Obama. Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Jesse Jackson: they're all getting caught up in their own insecurities vis-a-vis the new guy, who's a better politician than any of them. I used to think Bill Clinton was the best politician of his generation. That may still be the case, but, of course, a new generation is on the rise, and Obama is clearly the best of the new gang.
But McCain's green-eyed monster is, of course, the real problem.
"For McCain, being cool meant being a rogue, not a policy wonk; but Obama manages to be a cool College Bowl type, which must irk McCain, who liked to play up his bad-boy cool. Now the guy in the back of the class is shooting spitballs at the class pet and is coming off as more juvenile than daring."
McCain is the prankster who gets away with graduating at the bottom of his class because everyone knows that he really is a good guy. He's the guy who has a reputation for being cool because he says what everyone else is thinking but doesn't want to verbalize.
But McCain has managed to get by on charm and grit, rather than his smarts. Obama, on the other hand, automatically has outsider status, has McCain's charm plus a whole lot more, and has the smarts to boot.
McCain has no problem looking smart next to Bush. He also compares well with Bush Sr., because he's a "maverick" and not a preppy WASP. McCain even compares well with Reagan, because he has real combat experience, and he doesn't come across as a little confused and in need of a nap.
But against Obama? No wonder he's jealous.