As of this writing, it looks increasingly likely that the November election campaign for President of the United States will be waged between Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona and Democratic Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.
I'm wondering if anyone, particularly fans of the late great NBC series "The West Wing," has noticed that we may be seeing a bit of life imitating art. Over most of its seven season run, the series focused on the administration of (fictional) President Josiah Bartlet, who was played by Martin Sheen. During its last two seasons, however, the series shifted focus to the election of President Bartlet's successor. The two main contenders to succeed President Bartlet in the end were Republican Senator Arnold Vinick of California, played by Alan Alda, and Democratic Congressman Matthew Santos of Texas, played by Jimmy Smits.
Senator Vinick was an aging, socially moderate, but fiscally conservative Republican, who had trouble with the hard-core right-wing base of his party. Congressman Santos was initially a little-known Democrat of Mexican-American heritage, whose Presidential chances were dismissed by the conventional wisdom, but who emerged through a combination of luck, eloquence, and charisma.
In the actual 2008 presidential campaign, we have the Republican, Senator McCain, who is an aging, somewhat socially moderate, fiscally conservative Republican, who has trouble with the hard-core right-wing of his party. We also have the Democrat, Senator Obama, who not so long ago was a little-known figure of African-American heritage, whose Presidential chances were dismissed by the conventional wisdom, and who seems to be emerging through a combination of luck, eloquence, and charisma.
It's worth noting that, in the end, Congressman Santos became President Santos, defeating Senator Vinick by a margin of 272 to 266 in the Electoral College (after winning the State of Nevada by a small margin.)
Perhaps we will see a similar result in a contest between Senator Obama and Senator McCain.