When political news is interesting I watch lots of it. Election years goad me into intermittent news overloads, like I had last month. I was burnt out. Nothing interesting was happening.
Then came last week.
While McCain was as boring as watching my students take a test, which I am now doing, Obama got interesting.
I never found Obama personally very interesting. I am not that kind of guy, I guess. Obama was for "change." What is that? Dumping you in hot oil is change. So is winning the lottery. I am in favor of winning the lottery and against being dumped in hot oil. But I could not be in favor of "change" any more than I could be in favor of "ice," which is good in my drink but is bad in my bloodstream.
But now, Obama is really the candidate of change.
He hated the North American Free Trade Agreement--pinned it to Hillary's dress like a scarlet letter, crafted by Bill. Now it is clear that President Obama is probably going to do nothing about NAFTA.
He was in favor if the Washington D. C. gun ban, but agreed with the U. S. Supreme Court's decision to strike it down.
He went from being a champion of tax-financed elections, going so far as to sign a pledge to take public money, to opting out of that system because he can get more campaign money on his own.
He would withdraw troops from the failed war in Iraq now. Except that he is refining his position and will listen to his commanders on the ground.
He would personally filibuster giving the telecommunications companies immunity from privacy lawsuits resulting from their cooperation with the government in the wake of 9-11. Now he is in favor of immunity.
He even says that mental distress is not sufficient grounds to meet the "health of the mother" exception to abortion restrictions, which would take us from having 100% of early-term abortions legal to having 2% of early term abortions legal.
Don't get me wrong. I am not stating a political opinion on any of the above issues. I am saying that Obama went from being the boring champion of "change," which is the same as being the champion of nothing, to being the candidate who has no idea what he is in favor of--which is fascinating.
It will be interesting in the coming weeks and months to see where Obama ends up in discussing the issues.
Meanwhile, McCain is the bleh pragmatist that he always was, having a tin ear with regard to principles and ideals. He is most interesting when he is going off-script, saying things that no candidate should say, like, "Let's stay in Iraq for 100 years," or "I don't know anything about economics," or "O. J. is innocent."
O. K., McCain never said that O. J. is innocent. But wouldn't it be interesting if he did!