Gradually We Became Aware of a Hum in the Room

One of the tricks to surviving the next couple of months is to not pay attention.

And by that we mean: Don’t twitch like a goddam exposed nerve at every development.

To put it politely.

We sat out Lipstickgate, for example, because Kindie Porn already established that John McCain was willing to lose his integrity to win an election. No point tossing our soda over subsequent installments. (Unless they’re really good, of course. But Kindie Porn sets a high standard in low politics.)

It’s a matter of finding the signal in the noise, the leading indicators of where things are going. Some days there’s so much static, you might as well be listening to Al Smith battle Herbert Hoover on the wireless. Other days you might notice that Geezer doesn’t draw adoring crowds without Talibunny to display like a motocross queen, and file that for future reference. Three strikes is a trend.

What you don’t do is worry about the latest poll revealing that Demographic A supports Candidate B because of Issue C. Demographics don’t vote. States do. (The exception: Throughout the spring, folks under 50 were very likely to be Obama voters. The vote was split by generation, not gender. We’re keeping an eye on that.)

You also write off what cannot be changed, and see what remains. You know Charlie Gibson is going to be lobbing snowballs, so move on to something else — unless Talibunny fields them with a blowtorch. You know the media’s going to roll over and play dead (exceptions always welcome), so start considering whether anyone outside the chattersphere is paying attention.

We remain confident, but the election was never a given. The disconnect between John McCain’s reputation and John McCain’s actions — “I’m John McCain, and I approved this latest abomination of a commercial” — has yet to settle in. But it’s being noted, and not just by Obama partisans. We know what an electoral tipping point feels like (“There you go again!”), and we haven’t felt it yet.

The moment we do, we’ll order that steerage ticket for the Ark.

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