Anyway, it was a particularly good show, featuring a report by John Oliver from Mitt Romney's campaign headquarters, which seem to be located in a 1950s educational film, but I think the best part was the interview with writer named Peggy Noonan, of whom I had never heard, but she and Jon had a very thought-provoking conversation about the people (specifically Giuliani and Edwards) dropping out of the presidential race:
I don't get why Ms. Noonan referred to the female Clinton as the "first woman to run" or whatever she said; I think she meant the first woman to run this far, to last as long as she has. Either that or she just doesn't remember the 2004 race; I know I've tried very hard to forget it. But I did like that she referred to Barack Obama as "intellectual," because it was such an epiphany, an epiphany of how dumb I've been; of course, that's why I like Barack Obama! Duh!
Actually, I've been analyzing this a little bit and I think I've figured out Barack Obama's appeal for me. First, there's the intellectualism, which is always a good thing. Second he's a very gifted rhetorician. His speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention was one of the first great American speeches of the 21st century, and it will go down in history as one of the greatest American speeches of the 21st century. But Bill Clinton is also a gifted rhetorician, and yet I've never felt as positive about him as I do about Barack Obama, and I think that's because with Barack Obama you get the sense that he actually means what he says. I feel that the main thing that Barack Obama has that neither of the Clintons do is integrity. I mean, a lot of people will tell you they have integrity, but with Barack Obama, you can feel it (I can, anyway). I think that's one of the main reasons that Fox News has gone after him the way they have; I think they sensed his integrity and they said, "We gotta dig up some dirt on this guy and we've got to do it fast," but they couldn't find anything real so they had to make stuff up and hope no one else would call them on it.
Anyway, I agree with Jon that an Obama/McCain presidential race would be good for this country. We definitely need to shake things up and get some new blood in there. I've said before, we have to break this vicious cycle of electing people from the same families, because otherwise what's the point of having elections at all? We might as well just install a dynastic monarchy. And while I'm still pretty disillusioned with John McCain, I agree with Jon that he doesn't seem to be entirely a product of the system. In recent years he seems to have sold little pieces of his soul, but he still seems like a basically decent guy, and in any case an intelligent, experienced guy with a good sense of humor, which I think is more important than a lot of people realize because I think that one of the younger Bush's main failings as a president is that he takes himself far too seriously.
I'm still not sure, though, if it were a choice between McCain and the female Clinton, which I would choose. If it was the old John McCain come back from the year 2000, then there's no question I would vote for him. But if it's conservative-cyborg McCain, I'm not so sure. I would have to observe him and decide if he's actually become a conservative cyborg, or if it's just been a clever ruse on his part to get them to trust him enough to nominate him and get him elected so he could reveal his true self again and get to do some actual good in the world. While such a tactic would be somewhat sneaky and underhanded and not entirely in keeping with the theme of integrity, I would have no choice but to respect it. You see, when I first registered to vote I was 18 years old, and I was still getting to know the person that I had become, so initially I registered as a Republican, and even after it became breath-takingly apparent that the Republican party and I were no longer ideologically compatible, I still stayed registered with them in the hopes that I could try to work against them from within. That was before I discovered that South Dakota's presidential primaries are a farce, and a bitter realization it was. Anyway, what it all boils down to is that, while I'm not sure if I myself could ever bring myself to vote for John McCain again, I do believe that, among the Republican candidates, he is the least of all evils. In other words, he's the Republican candidate that I dislike the least and would most like to see get the nomination.
Now, if Jon is right about why Edwards left the race (fished his hat back out of the ring, if you will)...I have mixed feelings about that, because on the one hand, I really like Barack Obama, but on the other hand, that was a really classy--dare I say, noble--move on Edwards' part, and that makes me kind of want to vote for him. I've always liked Edwards anyway; he's quite charismatic and, I believe, not lacking in integrity himself. He endeared himself to me by announcing his candidacy for the 2004 presidential race on the Daily Show because he had promised to do so nearly a year previously. You know, a lot of people might have looked down on him for that, thinking perhaps that he should have chosen a more dignified venue, but I say, here's a guy who keeps track of his promises and keeps them, even when the person to whom he's making the promise thinks that he's being facetious. That's what I call integrity. So I'm sad to see him go, but on the positive side, this way I don't have to feel torn about choosing between him and Barack Obama.