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October 27, 2008
World Wrestling Election?
historians look back at the 2008 campaign, they might see it not as the
expression of national identity but the moment when the Republican Party
finally transcended politics and became a troupe of traveling
McCain campaign finally slew dignity last week when it announced that it
planned to make “Joe the Plumber” the centerpiece, a symbol of
everything the campaign is supposed to stand for.
There is no point in exposing the obfuscation behind Joe Six Pack’s
story. He’s just a character in an ongoing entertainment serial. What is
important is that, like all good professional wrestling stars, he burst
out in a scene that screamed, “So shocking you won’t be able to turn
of like a train wreck.
Joe’s blindsiding of Barack Obama, who for this narrative is Evil Commie
Muslim, was a character debuting by popping up and cracking an opponent
over the head with a folding chair he found ringside. In real life, you
might knock someone out, give him a serious concussion, or maybe even
crack his skull. In professional wrestling, as with what happened that
fateful Ohio afternoon, the bad guy gets up and into the ring so the
audience can boo.
Then, he locks up with the good guy, in this case The Maverick, whose
backstory includes things meant to touch on every heartstring that
bleeds red, white and blue. He came to the ring eight years ago, wrapped
in a cape patterned after the American flag and to his theme, “Proud to
be an American.”
Although not always a crowd favorite – his habit of going against the
two-dimensional script has always tended to anger up the crowd’s blood –
he managed to win the chance to compete for the ultimate championship.
one likes a champion the crowd can’t cheer, so when it went time to go
tag-team, The Maverick hunted up The Hockey Mom, a kind of maverick-y
Mini Me who eats moose, looks good in a skirt and otherwise lacks
anything resembling qualifications for the job. She, like Joe the
Plumber, burst onto the scene in dramatic fashion, rising to defend her
family in loud, angry fashion from an anonymous Internet posting of
dubious authorship that attacked her for having sexually active teenaged
degrading spectacle might have continued – this month’s long match
pitting The Maverick and The Hockey Mom versus Evil Commie Muslim and
his partner, The Irrelevant Gaffe – were it not for the financial
markets seizing up and sliding into the toilet. In fact, it did threaten
to continue, with The Maverick’s dramatic suspension of his campaign
long enough to parachute into Washington and torpedo a bipartisan deal
to try to salvage the economy.
the other hand, the campaign’s abrupt veering away from silliness to
substance gave us just the right environment for Joe Six Pack to ambush
Evil Commie Muslim ringside.
These things, professional wrestling matches that is, often end in a way
that you could see coming a mile away. Some of them, however, save their
biggest surprise for the end. We’ll see which way the election is
However, a trained eye can sometimes note emerging subplots. That is,
once the big grudge match takes place, once the championship belt rests
around someone’s mid-section, what new thing will keep fans riveted on
the edge of their seats?
clue of what new twist the screenwriters are crafting to keep the
audience riveted came last week. Rumor has it that The Maverick is busy
crafting a plan to blame their team’s defeat on The Hockey Mom, who is
said by others to be considering “going off the reservation.” This has
been picked up by the ringside announcers, a few of whom have criticized
The Maverick for mishandling his teammate. That’s a pretty significant
sign that someone else will be ambushed in dramatic fashion on Nov. 5 or
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