Paul Greenberg

Fortunately, the folks in the hall didn't, which gave John McCain an opportunity to be his unscripted self. As when a protester had to be safely removed from the premises. Quieting the angry crowd, he sounded like just the kind of unifying leader you want in the Oval Office. "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static," the Former Naval Person told the crowd. "America wants us to stop yelling at each other, OK?"


Another nice moment came when the crowd jumped the gun and, instead of waiting for The Candidate to ask them to stand with him at the close of his peroration, they rose and began cheering before he'd finished. His words were drowned out, which left John McCain just where he looks and acts best: at the epicenter of pandemonium. Which might be a good one-word description of an American presidential campaign.

Here's some wholly unsolicited advice to the McCain campaign: Recognize that, when it comes to rhetoric, you've got a kangaroo ticket. The strength is in the hind legs. Have your wow of a vice-presidential candidate do the set pieces. Let Sarah Palin be Sarah Palin, or rather Barack Obama. And let John McCain do his Straight Talk, town-hall meeting thing. That way, both he and the country would feel more comfortable.

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.