Found a great feature on the New York magazine web site the other day: The 2008 Electopedia. On the site, they describe it as "a guide to (almost) everything there is to know about presidential candidates John McCain, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton." They cover everything from Best Speech to Fashion Sense. Now, I'm leaning toward the Obaminator, but in the interests of keeping an open mind, I'm going to break it down and see if I'm making the right decision. I've chosen the 10 most important categories listed on the web site (click here for a complete list), and I'll rank all of the candidates, assigning 3 points to the winner down to 1 point for the loser. Then we'll really know who should be leading our country. So here we go...
How They Did In High School
3. McCain: Didn't Get Kicked Out! (1 pt.)
2. Obama: Great, for a Slacker (2 pts.)
1. Clinton: Nerdily Well (3 pts.)
Obviously I was going to include this one. The most interesting facts on this page: In high school, John McCain was known as "Punk" and "McNasty," and Barack Obama was known as "Barry." Really? President Barry?
Greatest Political Accomplishment
3. Clinton becomes Senator of a state she's never lived in with no political experience. (1)
2. McCain comes back from brink of defeat to win 2008 Republican nomination. (2)
1. Obama emerges as the most (only?) legitimate African-American Presidential candidate ever. (3)
Easy one. Hillary's "Listening Tour" is no match for Barry's "transcending race...[and] changing American politics."
3. McCain's 1996 Speech at the Republican National Convention (1)
2. Clinton's 1969 Wellesley Commencement Address (2)
1. Obama's "A More Perfect Union" Speech (3)
I read all of these, and they're all actually pretty awesome. McNasty's nomination speech made Bob Dole cry, which I support, and according to the web site, Hillary used her opportunity as the first student to ever speak at a Wellesley graduation ceremony to "tear [conservative Senator Edward Brooke of MA] a new one." But Barry's was the best. He's eloquent and honest at the same time.
Most Blatant Pop-Culture Pandering
3. Clinton: Going Gump (1)
2. Obama: When on Ellen Degeneres... (2)
1. McCain: Wedding Crash and Burn (3)
First of all, Hillary isn't funny, so when she tries to be, it always seems awkward to me. Second, for whatever reason, the web site thinks that McNasty's cameo in Wedding Crashers was "not the wisest of choices." I disagree. That movie was so good that it catapults him over Barry's dance on The Ellen Degeneres Show, which made my mom decide she was going to vote for him. But J-Mac wins for sure--anytime you do something that provokes the headline "Sen. McCain Stars in Boob Raunch Fest" (The Drudge Report), you've already won.
Best Debate Smackdown
3. Clinton: South Carolina, January 21, 2008 (1)
2. McCain: Friday, October 21, 2007 (2)
1. Obama: Iowa, December 13, 2007 (3)
Hillary gets last because her accusation that Obama once represented a Chicago slum lord turns out not to be true. The clear winner is Barry; a debate moderator asked how he was going to promote change with so many advisers from the Clinton administration (Hillary laughed mockingly), and he said, "Well, Hillary, I'm looking forward to you advising me as well." Still, if this ranking were open to Time magazine columnists, the winner would be Ana Marie Cox, who said of McNasty's knock on Mitt Romney ("You've spent the last year trying to fool people about your record—I don’t want you to start fooling them about mine"), "I believe the technical term for that is 'snap.' McCain isn't bringing it on, it has already been broughten." Nice.
3. Obama: Zip. Zero. Zilch. (1)
2. Clinton: Once Upon A Time, Long Ago... (2)
1. McCain: In The Navy... (3)
Just to show that I'm not a homer, we're going with a category where my guy has a clear disadvantage. I'm even giving Hillary the nod for "attempting" to enlist in the Marines (!). In this area, McNasty is pretty awesome. You know that already.
Never-Altered Core Position
3. McCain: Duty, Honor, Country, Etc. (1)
2. Obama: Making Nice With Others, Including Republicans (2)
1. Clinton: Kids Are Good (3)
It might seem somehow wrong to rank McNasty 3rd for his patriotism, but I have a feeling that that patriotism is going to keep us at war for a long time. You should check out the write-up on Hillary here--it's actually pretty impressive.
3. McCain: "In This Corner..." (1)
2. Clinton: Alone Time (2)
1. Obama: I Wish I Was a Baller (3)
Evidently McNasty likes boxing. So what? I support Hillary's fondness for alone time, but I gave Charlie my vote on this one, and he said, "Basketball PLAYER!" So Barry it is.
Taste In Books
3. Clinton: Charter Member, Oprah's Book Club (1)
2. McCain: It Tolls For He (2)
1. Obama: Shakespeare and Doctorow (3)
I know, I know. Oprah's Book Club isn't exactly a joke--there's some quality stuff there. But I just picture her sitting with a bunch of Senators and Congresswomen, ostensibly to discuss The Joy Luck Club, but really just drinking wine and dishing on the cute new representative from Georgia. Am I sexist? I might be.
Most Amusing YouTube Video
3. Clinton: "Hillary4U&Me" (1)
2. McCain: "Raining McCain" (2)
1. Obama: "Vote Different" (3)
You really should check these out. The Hillary one is just bizarre. The McNasty one is bizarre but kind of funny. But here's what the article said about Barry's video: "extremely clever"; "“way too good to be produced by a campaign"; “the best example of a successful viral attack” that year; and "the emergence of a new era in political advertising." Sounds like a winner to me.
So let's add 'em up:
I'm glad. I would have had a slight crisis of political faith if that had turned out differently. Turns out that I'm making the right decision. (At least if you base your political decisions on things like YouTube videos and pick-up basketball games. Which I think you should.)