Emmett Tyrrell

Comparing his political experience with that of the Republican candidates, Sen. John McCain and Gov. Palin, Sen. Obama's experience most closely approximates that of Gov. Palin, whom the media adjudges unprepared to be president. Neither is comparable to Sen. McCain's experience. Yet Gov. Palin's political career began with a city council seat in 1992. She was elected mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, in 1996. That would be one year before Sen. Obama entered the Illinois Senate. All told, the Republican vice presidential candidate has served government in an executive capacity for eight years, two as governor. The Democratic presidential candidate never has held an executive office. Still, the Democrats disdain Palin and exalt the novice Obama.

Here is where Tom Wolfe comes in. In his most recent novel, "I Am Charlotte Simmons," and elsewhere, Wolfe has propounded his theory of "Championism," to wit: people suffering the "real emotions" of "exultation" or "depression" over the fate of those they deem their champions. At its most absurd, Championism takes hold of sports fans who identify passionately with athletes they hardly know and -- truth be told -- probably would not want to know. Wolfe mentions, in particular, professional athletes, say New York Yankees, who might not even live in New York. The fans attribute all manner of diableries to their teams' opponents and stupendous virtues to their own stars.

Wolfe believes that it is perfectly normal for people to take sides on an issue even when they know very little about the issue and have absolutely no involvement in it. On the matter of politics, both Democrats and Republicans usually have years invested in hollering for their parties. Some have sent in financial contributions. Some have sported their parties' buttons and bumper stickers. Thus, the political supporters' emotions run even higher than those of sports fans. Nonetheless, their emotions might be equally absurd. Time and again, political messiahs have been exposed to be frauds and a danger to the commonweal.

In the case of the Prophet Obama, it is apparent that he has almost no experience governing anything. Are Democrats going to vote for such a novice in a time of war and financial crisis? If they do and he spends the next few years learning on the job, the Democratic Party could end up in the wilderness for a long time.

Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
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