The fire marshals have said no more people can be allowed into the gym....McCain and Palin are doing rallies as a team, and it is too obvious that the crowd is genuinely thrilled about her. She is the one they've been waiting for (to vary a phrase).
Inside, the rally has already started.... [T]he screen flashes on, and there they are: Palin in her blood-red power suit, McCain standing next to her. She goes first, launching into a remixed version of her convention speech; in her squeaky, cheerleader-mom voice, its harsh sentiments come off as almost saucy. The crowd hoots and claps at the screen....
We can't really hear too well, the sound's been turned down so low, but still people clap and cheer. We're happy at last because we've realized we're going to get something far more precious: Palin and McCain will be coming out this side door, and we'll have our own private audience! ....
We wait some more. Finally McCain comes striding around from the back of the building, with a huge grin. But no Palin. The crowd cheers anyway....
There's a scene in Tina Brown's "Diana Chronicles." (You can read the passage if you go to that link and use the "search inside" function with "spina bifida" -- trust me -- and read forward.)
It's shortly after the wedding, and Charles and Diana are making an appearance in Wales. Charles, who's been the Prince of Wales all his life and expects the usual adoration, goes down one side of a crowded street and greets people in his usual style and Diana, the new Princess, proceeds down the other side glowing and touching and crouching in her distinctive new way. Occasionally, the couple switch sides, which means that the people waiting their turn are never sure if they are going to get personal contact with Charles or Diana. And every time the switch is made, the side of the street that is about to get Charles sighs with audible disappointment.
As Tina Brown tells it, Diana's superior popularity gets to Charles. It's not the only thing that wrecks the marriage, which was never on solid ground, but it's one of the many things.
What is it like for a man to suddenly find himself conspicuously upstaged and outloved by a woman that he picked out of near-obscurity to stand by him? Can he see it as his own great good fortune and benefit from the positive value, or does it eat at him, sour him, and ruin everything?
Charles, we know, blew it. He retreated into the arms of his comfortable old friend, Camilla Parker-Bowles, the woman he'd wanted all along, whom the family would not allow him to marry.
We don't know how John McCain will handle the country's dazzling, out-of-proportion love for Sarah Palin... other than that we can be quite sure that he won't retreat into the comfortable arms of Joe Lieberman.