Single people know the routine: you meet someone new, and you light up like Christmas Eve. You tell your friends how great the person is. You spend a little time together, and you melt inside. You tell your family, "don't start looking for a reception hall, but I think this might be the one." You spend more time with your special person, and ... realize that there's just no there there.
Swing voters, meet Sarah Palin.
I remember back in my dating days, I met a woman who was absolutely perfect for me on paper. We had similar family backgrounds, similar education, even the same religion (for once in my life). We both liked the same kind of travel. Our politics meshed. Our career goals were similar. We were even, it turned out, taking flying lessons with the same instructor. We dated for a month, every day more amazed at how ideally we were matched. Then one day we had some minor disagreement that ended with us looking at each other and saying, "But I just don't like you enough to have this argument with you." Just like that, it was over.
There is a certain segment of Americans who have, for reasons that most liberals may find hard to fathom, fallen deeply for Sarah Palin. She looks great on paper: feisty, independent, capable, and, as the Republican convention delegates were eager to remind us, easy on the eyes. "Wow," you could hear some people saying, "this is no ordinary politician! She could be the one!"
Many people heard the convention speech and their hearts beat even faster. "She can read a teleprompter! She can deliver a joke! She turned down the Bridge to Nowhere!" While many of us found her voice grating and her delivery reminiscent of a high school pep rally, many others were charmed by her folksy lack of polish.
Now, though, the dating has gone on a little longer. What have we learned? Uncharmingly, we are starting to notice that she lies. She lied to us about the Bridge to Nowhere - what else might she lie about? We are starting to get tired of hearing the same canned lines. We were a bit turned off by the interview with Charlie, when she just didn't seem to know anything about the things we cared about. Now we're learning that she is petty and vindictive.
Plus, as someone who grew up in a small town in the north woods, field dressing a moose is hot, but shooting wolves from airplanes is just plain mean.
Of course, many die-hard Republicans are too deeply committed to admit to these problems. We all have friends who've had a great few weeks with someone, and then ended up in a horrible relationship that went on much too long because it seemed so right at first. But the voter in the middle, who might have been smitten for a little while, has had a few weeks to think. And now that voice is starting to grate, the lies are raising too many questions, the whole thing just doesn't seem worth it after all.
Oh well, says the voter in the middle, I liked that Obama guy better anyway.
But the media will take a while longer to catch on. We can expect another week of soft-focus stories that don't quite recognize that the crush is over. Good! Because by the time the press catches on, the swing voters will be truly sick of Sarah Palin. When she next bubbles into the public consciousness to be eaten alive by Joe Biden at the debates, people will be glad they got out while the getting was good. By the time they get the voting booth, they'll never want to hear her name again.
Palin fatigue. It's the next big thing.