Since I live next to my television, it should come as no surprise that I see plenty of parallels between this election and the last season of The West Wing. Wiley Republican veteran, with a leftist streak which get him oft-labeled an independent going up against a younger, less experienced but idealistic Congressman (whose lack of experience makes him seem both naïve or untainted) cut from the cloth of a minority group.

On the show, the young minority candidate was going to lose, except the actor that portrayed his vice presidential choice died in real life. So, the election story essentially turned on the choice of vice-president.

After today’s rally, I’ve really been thinking about what could have been. Barack Obama needed to choose an experienced political hand to be his vice presidential candidate. Joe Biden was an alright choice, prone to the occasional gaffe, but I still wish it could have been Evan Bayh. Bayh once again is a bridesmaid and not the bride: he’s been talked about being a vice presidential nominee since the early 1990s when Bill Clinton first ran. Indiana is a largely Republican state, yet he managed to win the top job, putting a key Republican state in play. More fiscally conservative, still out of the Clinton mold without having the last name Clinton (but was so supportive of the Clintons that his presence could win over their supporters).

On the other side of the aisle, I’d have loved to have seen J.C. Watts be the vice presidential nominee for McCain. He’s conservative and black and would both solidify his lukewarm base as well as signal a more progressive Republican ticket. Instead, though true to the mandate of remaining historically relevant, John McCain went with the Republican version of a rock star in Sarah Palin. Love her or hate her, she’s gotten the base energized.

So the campaign continues to play out in West Wing season 7 fashion. Maybe the economic crisis will prove to be McCain’s equivalent of the October/Nuclear Power Plant crisis. So part of me is pretty much rooting for the best storyline.

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