Finally, the protectiveness that Obama elicited from others also explains why McCain's fall campaigning was reviewed so harshly. Throughout the year, Obama was often spared the task of defending himself because others with prominent media platforms did it for him. As the campaign progressed, a whole slate of possible criticismsâ€”including legitimate concerns about his record or his foreign-policy chopsâ€”were deemed, as if by cultural consensus, beyond the pale. Indeed, it's worth recalling that October's hyperbolic claims about McCain's negativity echo similar (and similarly unfounded) claims about Clinton's campaigning back in the spring. Does Obama somehow invite historically unprecedented negativity? Or are his enthusiasts just unusually quick to perceive it? In any event, Obama benefited more from labeling his rivals as uniquely sleazy than he suffered from whatever sleaziness they displayed.
Obama fully deserved to defeat McCain on Tuesday. But he deserved to win because his party and his program presented the better hope for a better America, and not because he is purer of heart than other politiciansâ€”or any less able to throw a punch when his political future demands it. Like all good politicians, Obama appears to understand this important distinction. The rest of us should, too.
Expect to see more outbursts of truthfulness when the Obama savants come out of their trances.