As for the recent political hullabaloo back in the Great Ol' USA (I miss that place!), I'm struck by the dichotomous relationship between the Republican and Democratic nominees...they're near perfect inverses of eachother:
One on side we have a presidential nominee that is an old, white male with strong foreign policy credentials and years of Washington experience and a VP nominee that is a young, attractive political neophyte, a "political minoritee" (female) with little foreign policy experience but a great deal of appeal to the core of the Party.
On the other side we have a presidential nominee who is a young, attractive political neophyte, a "minoritee" (he's half white) with little foreign policy experience but a great deal of appeal to the core of the Party and a VP nominee who is an old, white male with strong foreign policy credenitals and years of Washington experience.
For the "nation of undecideds" that don't really make decisions based on passionate views of the issues (else they would not be undecided) it really comes down to this: who do you like more--the black guy or the white girl?
I realize that I may be one of the few people who actually "likes" John McCain in and of himself, and even though I pride myself as an issues-based voter, I admit it's largely based on the fact that he was a POW and a war hero...however his credentials as a reformer are admittedly hurt by the fact that he's been in Washinton for about six hundred years. A lot of people are uncomfortable with his age; but twenty-eight years ago they were uncomfortable with Reagan's age too...so who knows if it will matter.
Obama is an idealistic academic; idealism in politics can be a great thing, but it has to be painted in the tones of the real world, as policies based in ideals often end up bureaucratic nightmares down the road (Social Security, the Great Society, etc)...As a fellow half-minoritee, I also take issue with the way the media, and Obama himself, have "decided" that he is black...I cannot simply decide to be Mexican (why would I want to), because that is only ONE PART of who I am...more over, the racial categorizations that the media clings to only furhter serves to artificially divide us based on non-existant factors. We are all Americans...hell, we even let Arabs in this country (sorry Taylor, it was too easy)...our greatness comes not just from our diversity, but our ability to mix that diversity into something larger, stronger, and greater than just the sum of its mult-ethnic parts.
I could wax philosophic about the issues for hours, but fundamentally it doesn't matter...for one, Washington doesn't really address issues so much as it talks about them until the People rise up and force their hand...which WE THE PEOPLE rarely do, two, most American's who vote in November will not vote based off of any one or a dozen issues, but off their gut sense of the person they see on TV...yes, TV...
That Americans don't much care is demonstrative that the Status Quo, as bad as it sounds, isn't so bad at all...deep down we know that our economic woes and windfalls are not magically manipulated by Washington, but it's nice to have someone to blame. I think most Americans are content that NOTHING get done in politics, because no one wants to shake up the good things we already have going...this is nothing new either, for most of American history we preferred our politicians to stay out of matters unless explicitly outlined as a constitutional role.
Another indicator...most Americans prefer the President and the Congressional majority to be of opposing parties...why? So that nothing too crazy gets done. Congressional approval ratings clearly show that the Democrats voted in to end the Republican-control congress are no more popular than their GOP predecessors, but Americans felt more comfortable with Dems in place to offset Bush's policies...vice versa in 1994 with Clinton and the "Conservative Revolution;" the swings in power are not mandates, but merely ad hoc preferences toward how things should be...its like America adjusting the AC in their house when it blows too cold; they don't want to be HOT, just not so cold...
Call me foolishly idealistic, but maybe American politics was better back when our Congressmen used to get in drunken brawls on the House Floor...Not sure if it accomplished much more, but it had to be entertaining...That's how we Scotch would do things...so vote SCOTCH 2008...its a good year.