George Orwell is one of my writing idols (and although he's been dead nearly 60 years, he's a brand-new blogger at the nifty Orwell Diaries, which I must plug). And I have to wonder what the man would make of the 2008 presidential race so far, and specially the Republican campaign which seems steeped in Newspeak jargon straight out of "1984."
I know I'm coming from a rather biased pro-Obama perspective, but still, the dazzling verbal juggling of the Republicans shocks me. In their world, it's as if their party HASN'T been in control of the White House for the last 8 years; where a man who's voted with the president the vast majority of the time can actually make a grab for the notion of change. That it's offensive to raise any questions about the qualifications of Sarah Palin because she's a woman and because some fringe lefties have been hitting her below the belt, as if the right wing hadn't been systematically going after Hillary Clinton in equally nasty, sexist ways for years. That after exploding the surplus Bill Clinton left behind, and spending money by the zillions on Iraq, that Republicans can STILL feverishly claim they're about fiscal conservation. That McCain will cut pork-barrel spending with a running mate who sucked at the government teat in Alaska to the tune of millions of dollars.
That John McCain is a maverick, gosh darn it, pullin' on his gun belts and comin' to the town he's worked in comfortably for 30 years to clean it up. That he's a maverick even though all indications are he bowed to the string-pullers and didn't choose Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge as veep because they wanted a REAL conservative. Conventions in general are more about pageantry than substance, but McCain's non-speech was a pinnacle in hypocrisy. Following acidic, typical talk-radio style liberal-bashing speeches by Sarah Palin, Rudy Guiliani and others, McCain had the nerve to get up there and talk about the kinder, gentler non-partisan government he'd lead. It's enough to make the head spin. Doublethink.
The Republicans are masters at Newspeak and the idea that if you repeat something wrong often enough, it turns true. McCain's a maverick, veteran John Kerry less of a war hero than Bush, and have you heard Barack Obama might be a Muslim? All I know is, if the American people are dim enough to swallow this for a third time, they get what they deserve. Doubleplusgood unpolitics.