In thinking about all those dinner conversations we overheard on our trip, it has occurred to me that something monumental had been happening. Those folks were discussing an issue, not a personality.
We stopped in Ames, resplendent with McCain/Palin signs, to visit with an old classmate of mine and her husband who had long been on staff at Iowa State. They were both for Obama and passionate about it. It goes to the point that imagery isn't necessarily the end all. All those signs.
Living in Ames, they are of course on hand for the Iowa caucuses and the famous straw poll. Having family coming in from out of town, they were asked to get tickets to hear Obama. Three hundred or so were expected; the demand rose to three thousand. We all know how Obama fared.
In watching the news tonight, the first time in a week, I was heartened to hear people who's opinion actually matters, beginning to admit that Ms. Palin is not yet qualified for the Vice Presidency. My sense of sanity is beginning to return.
This next fourteen days will see lots of nail biting as the polls are watched. I'm not at all comfortable that enough voters feel as strongly as I do about Obama's strengths versus his weaknesses. I am encouraged, however, that Ms. Palin is no longer being viewed as a novelty but as a genuine issue unto herself. And she is.
I love her on Saturday night live. I love her as cheer-leader-in-chief. I love the energy she has instilled into a stodgy old Republican campaign. But that's where it stops. Beyond that it is no longer a lark, a joke. It's dead serious.
Ms. Palin and Joe the Plumber have provided comic relief. They're the USO. Now, however, it's time to return to the reality of what we're doing. Electing a world leader.